The title of this article may seem an odd question. After all, what risks can there be with using software, it’s not like you are handling explosives? Well, the fact is that your software is an asset and like all assets needs to be properly managed. If it is not, then you are at risk of unbudgeted costs and potential fines.
Software differs from physical assets due to its unique characteristics and it is these very characteristics that can cause problems – if not fully understood. So, let’s look a little more closely at some of these.
Complex, byzantine and grey terms and conditions
Software manufacturers seem to deliberately go out of their way to make their terms and conditions as complex and difficult to interpret as possible. Even experts in this area can sometimes struggle. Organizations like the Campaign for clear licensing are trying to address this, but it may take many years for software vendors to react.
In the meantime organizations will continue to fall foul of their license agreements due to misunderstanding and ignorance – neither of which is a defence when the vendor’s auditors come calling. So, make sure you actually read the details of your terms and conditions and adhere to software asset management (SAM) best practices to minimize the chance of breaching your license agreement – either deliberately or accidentally.