Project Options Ltd are the organisation in question and they were found to have unlicensed Autodesk software on their estate, something the BSA found after a confidential online report was submitted through their website. They have had to pay out £16,000 as part of the settlement and a further £17,500 for new licenses resulting in a £33,500 payout overall.
Speaking to the www.bsa.org, Paul Daly the director at Project Options Ltd stated “Before the BSA investigation we never prioritised software licensing in the business; however this is where our troubles started”. No doubt about it Mr Daly, this is exactly where your problems started! Not prioritising software licensing or having any form of SAM program or ethos within your organisation will result in financial pain, just as Project Options Ltd found out.
But wait, it gets worse for Mr Daly and Project Options Ltd. “In addition to discovering that we were using unlicensed software, we also discovered some contractors had downloaded and used unlicensed software”. This could have been avoided if they had better control and management over their software and users rights. Allowing users and contractors to download software at their will is something that should never be happening within any organisation; the ITAM team or the IT Manager should be ensuring issues like this don’t happen and should be controlling the installation of software.
Paul Daly has ensured the BSA that changes have been made post audit. “Since agreeing a settlement with BSA, we have purchased the correct licences for all the relevant software and have also moved to a subscription based model in the Autodesk cloud to ensure this doesn’t happen again”. Lets hope so! Moving to the cloud based subscription model for Autodesk will help ensure Project Options Ltd stay compliant, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have to worry about licensing anymore. Subscription cloud models just pose different challenges so they still need to be vigilant and manage their license properly.
“I would urge all small business owners to review their software licensing on a regular basis, or they could face unplanned costs like we have” states Mr Daly. Personally, I’m glad there has been a positive outcome from the audit. It remains to be seen whether they keep to their word and start to take software licensing more seriously, or whether it’ll just fade out and work will go back to normal as it was before the audit.
Hopefully this has been the wakeup call needed for Project Options Ltd. Mr Daly states they are a small business, so probably didn’t take much notice to software licensing. It doesn’t matter what the size of your organisation is, if you use software you need to ensure you have the correct licenses. The auditors are just around the corner, ready to cause massive disruption and to take a lot of money from you. There are no excuses for running unlicensed software, so ensure you’re compliant and audit ready.