Unlicensed Software Usage in UK Drops to 22%

Governance Home IT Asset Management Original Content Risk & Audit Software

by | June 1, 2016

According to results published in BSA’s survey, Seizing Opportunity Through License Compliance, unlicensed software usage in the UK has dropped from 27% in 2009, to 22% in 2015.

The growth in uptake of software asset management strategies in the UK, as well as the adoption of cloud services are cited as key reasons for the decline, not to mention an increase in the number of legal settlements involving the use of unlicensed software. The commercial value of unlicensed software in the UK is £1.3 billion, the second highest in Europe, beaten only by France with an unlicensed software usage of 34%, valued at £1.4 billion.

Increased awareness around the value of SAM

The IT industry has been trying to enlighten companies who are yet to harness the power an effective software asset management strategy can offer. With access to a wealth of intelligence in terms of software licensing, SAM allows an organization’s IT department to spend their time on tasks that could really make a difference such as saving money on software spend, negotiating new contracts, re-harvesting unused licenses, and optimizing current entitlement.

Although the increased uptake of SAM is music to the industry’s ears, the survey also revealed that global usage of unlicensed software is still high at 39%. It is well covered that unlicensed software puts organizations at risk of cyber-attacks due to the presence of malware, costing a reported $400+ billion last year.

It’s time more businesses understood the risk

A drop in the percentage of businesses using unlicensed software in the UK is encouraging, however it shows there are organizations that will still put themselves in danger of non-compliance. It seems CIOs simply have no clue at what rate their employees are installing unlicensed software on their company network. They estimate that 15% of their employees are doing so, while 26% of employees actually admit to it.

CIOs, cybersecurity and software asset management

The loss of data due to a cybersecurity issue was listed as CIOs’ biggest concern with unlicensed software usage, and so would be one of the main reasons for compliance. Ensuring software is sourced legitimately from a reputable organization is key, as is a well-defined software asset management process. Being fully aware of what is deployed across the company’s network and having the ability to track the installation and usage of that software minimizes the risk of under- or over-spending on licenses.

Part of BSA’s report included an analysis that found that as the rate of unlicensed PC software increased, so did the likelihood of users encountering malware. Is your organization at risk? Ensure you’re have governance and processes in place to mitigate that risk.


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