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Microsoft or Adobe or Autodesk License Compliance - What To Do? - For Indian Customers

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We, Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd almost everyday get calls from our existing customers and new customers asking for a solution on what to be done when they receive a call from Microsoft's or Adobe's or Autodesk's license compliance team. There are variety of questions customers ask and I will try to address some of the common questions here -

We are naming some of these proprietary software makers just as example, you might receive calls from similar software makers and answers given below apply to them as well.

How come I received a call from Microsoft's compliance team?
It is simple. Either user has activated trial too many times or some users have installed the pirated applications without the permission of IT team.

How does Microsoft know that we have pirated software in our organization?
This is pretty straight forward and before this question comes to your mind, shouldn't you be thinking why to breach someone's Intellectual Property (IP) by using pirated software.
Anyway, chances are when you install pirated applications on your devices and connect them to the internet - it tries to connect with software vendors' servers and ask for updates. secondly, software vendors have all the details of licenses that you have bought in the past so when they 'realize' that you have more users or devices in your premise, it is easy to guess that you are using pirated software. When I say 'realize' that means when they visit your office or when they see your advertisements for recruitments or when they hear the number of users or devices from your security guard or from your receptionist - they come to know!

What are their Licensing Audits like ? What do they do exactly?
Companies can encounter different types of Microsoft audits. The Software Asset Management engagement, also known as SAM engagement, is a voluntary audit. During a SAM engagement, a Microsoft consulting partner like KPMG, E&Y, PwC etc. examines the client’s Microsoft software resources for any misuse. There is often confusion regarding how many licenses are currently installed on devices.  Sometimes the results of a SAM engagement will result in having the company pay for installed programming that is not currently used. They give you the reports of installed applications in your network and the details of breach of IP.

To avoid overpaying, companies should dispose off out-dated and unused software and workstations.
A significantly more serious and involuntary Microsoft audit is the Legal Contract and Compliance Audit, also known as the LCC Audit. An LCC Audit is only administered when Microsoft believes that a serious licensing infraction has taken place, as this type of audit is costly and time consuming. LCC Audits may be issued when a company has consistently refused to undergo a SAM engagement.

So we suggest all our customers to respond to Microsoft's queries and communication. You can take help of Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd to do that.

What to Expect In Audit And After Audit
Microsoft's audit partner will carry out an activity at customer's premise. They will lock down the systems in case customer refuses to co-operate or if customer is co-operating then they will simply use a device through which they can scan customer's network and find out what applications are being used in the organization.

In an audit, Microsoft will want to ensure that every piece of equipment with the capability of running a Microsoft product is appropriately licensed and paid for. Unintentional non-compliance is almost guaranteed due to the intricacy of Microsoft’s licensing structure and because Microsoft does not alert firms when software overuse has occurred. If companies have a highly advanced system allows IT to recognize when overuse is occurring, they may be able to avoid non-compliance.  However, even if a company actually possesses the appropriate licenses, if they cannot show an audit trail that is proof of purchase like supplier's invoices or authentic serial keys, Microsoft can still impose fines.
Companies must understand that they are completely responsible for ensuring that all of their devices are appropriately licensed regardless of the confusion that Microsoft’s licensing structure may present.

Indian Law For Anti-Piracy (As of Oct 2014). What is the punishment for pirated/illegal usage of software?
If customer is not co-operating and is not ready to purchase required licenses, Microsoft can take customer to Delhi High-Court and chances are that one of the below penalty will be applied to the customer -

  • Minimum imprisonment is six months, maximum imprisonment up to three years and minimum fine of fifty thousand rupees and maximum of two lakh rupees.
  • In case of second and subsequent convictions for copyright infringement and/or violation of any other right conferred by the Indian Copyright Act, punishment for the second and for every subsequent offence is minimum one year imprisonment and maximum 3 years and a minimum fine of one lakh rupees and maximum is two lakh rupees.
  • In case any person who knowingly makes use on a computer of an infringing copy of a computer program shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven days but which may extend to three years and with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees

Note - It has been brought to our notice by few customers that there are thugs in the market who come along with the police (mostly fake) usually at night (between 7-10 pm) and ask customers to pay up in cash for using pirated software. These people are not real representatives of any proprietary software makers and customers are robbed by them. We suggest you not to get panic in such situation because no reputed software maker does this kind of unprofessional raids or compliance.

Kindly contact Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd immediately if you come across such incident and we will try to help you out.

How To Avoid SAM or Audit or Compliance and To Prepare for the Audits

Plan Your SAM, and start building exceptional business results from the foundation up.
You can implement SAM in your organization by following four basic steps, Contact Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd for implementing and consulting the same :
Graphical representation of the four SAM steps: Take Inventory, Get Organized, Create Policies and Procedures, Maintain Your SAM Plan
1) Take Inventory
First, you need to know what you already have. Therefore the first step in your SAM program is to take inventory of your deployed software. If your business is small, you might be able to do this manually. If your organization is larger, you might try using any of the automated discovery tools that can easily and efficiently scan your entire network or reach out to a SAM partner.
2) Get Organized
The next step is to take an inventory of the licenses you have purchased. To optimize and manage your software assets, you'll need to find, record, and organize the licenses and documentation for each software title and version. You can easily manage your software license library in a number of ways. Begin by learning what types of documents you will need to keep, how best to keep them organized, Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd will help in the process.
3) Create Policies and Procedures
From software acquisition, use, and retirement, to storage and disaster protection, you can safeguard your software and hardware assets by establishing new standards and guidelines regarding all phases of the software life cycle. You can’t do it alone though, so Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd will give you suggestions on how to create a culture of SAM throughout your organization.
4) Maintain Your SAM Plan
Keep your SAM plan current through frequent spot checks, regularly scheduled software inventories, and ongoing employee training. Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd will help you with SAM Optimization Model in determining areas where you can further improve your return on investment (ROI) through SAM improvements.

Firms can take steps to guarantee that their licensing is in line with Microsoft’s expectations. In fact, Microsoft has made several suggestions to help firms more easily comply with the audit requirements.  Firms must be able to pair all software to their appropriate licenses, and keep to date versions of all software in the case of an audit.

Companies should consistently strive to achieve a culture of licensing compliance far before Microsoft requests an audit. As audits will only be increasing as time goes on, firms should establish an asset management process to stay on top of licensing requirements. This includes keeping all updated licensing information in one central location so that the information is easily accessible in the case of an audit. Companies can create a software and hardware map in the form of a database, spreadsheet, or diagram that details where software is installed on computers. This will ensure that companies stay knowledgeable about their software.

Companies should also adopt a regular inventory schedule to keep track of any new software and license acquisitions. Each time the company acquires new software, they should enter it into their software tracking system. Firms should also take care to regulate their software to ensure that all employees are using the same version.

Finally, firms might contemplate investing in Microsoft’s volume licensing programs. These programs are more reasonably priced, as well as allow for tailored purchasing options and enhanced software management. Microsoft’s Open Value Program enables companies to easily track and manage their licenses, which results in a lower compliance risk. The cost effective program also offers benefits such as companywide licenses, low upfront costs with a yearly subscription and ease of management.

There is a solution called 'LicenseWatch' that helps to gain visibility into your software compliance status, usage metering of applications and to build in one place a asset repository.
Its own database of 1.2Lakhs application will provide you application intelligence and will do the grouping and categorization of the applications.

Should you need more info on the same, kindly revert to us

For more details and preparation, use below tools and you may contact Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd:

Warmest regards
Paresh Lodha

Sujata Computers Pvt Ltd

Microsoft Cloud Accelarator Partner |
Microsoft Cloud Deployment Partner|
Microsoft Gold Volume Licensing Partner

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Guest Thursday, 13 August 2020

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