There is a set of related questions our software-audit clients frequently ask us that boil down to variations on one or more of the following: Why am I being audited? What if anything did I do to cause this? How can I avoid it in the future?
Unfortunately, those questions often do not have clear answers.
Most software publishers offer little, meaningful information regarding their criteria for initiating audits of their customers. Any publisher will initiate a review if it receives information indicating that software is being used without sufficient licenses rights. However, while that model may be standard for audits initiated by BSA | The Software Alliance (“BSA”) or by the Software & Information Industry Association (“SIIA”), it likely is not the norm for the majority of publisher-initiated audits.
Most publishers will tell you that their standard procedures result in all of their customers eventually being audited, and that, in effect, it is just a matter of time before your company’s name is called. This probably is true to an extent, though it does not tell the whole story.
The mere fact that some publishers run different “flavors” of audits should clue everyone in to the fact that not all reviews are conceived from the same set of circumstances.