Remote working is now the rule, not the exception. It’s opened whole new lifestyles and ways of working that have demonstrated clear benefits to everyone. Businesses are more productive, employees are happier, and everyone has access to new opportunities.
And for software license compliance, the biggest opportunity is discovering new ways to approach historic challenges.
The challenge for software vendors & businesses
Remote working creates visibility challenges for software vendors and businesses alike:
- Businesses have less visibility over the devices employees use and the software they’re downloading, which may expose them to liability
- Software vendors struggle to identify unlicensed users that are worth pursuing cost-effectively
It’s all about data points
Before remote working was widely adopted, it was relatively simple to identify someone using unlicensed software for commercial gain. Geo-targeting data identifies unauthorized use in a location by a named device. The location is linked to a business address and the device to an employee.
From there, it takes a little additional investigation to put together a worthwhile case to pursue a resolution. It’s easy to link the software to a business that’s making money from its usage.
But now, globally, 56% of all companies allow some form of remote working. 16% of those are totally remote, with no centralized office. So, how can you connect the data points to build a case that’s worth pursuing?
If you don’t have the right level of visibility into your employee’s activity, you’re exposed to potential liability. We highlighted the rise in unauthorized software use thanks to remote working in an earlier article. It’s important to monitor the activity that occurs on your employee’s authorized devices, but now things are becoming even more complex.
Some employees prefer to use unauthorized devices to do their work. This means that IT teams have no visibility or control over their software license compliance. And thanks to advanced investigative techniques, it’s possible to create a case for business liability even if unlicensed software is being used on a personal device for business gain.
How? By looking at more nuanced data points.
We can’t rely on locations or device names to identify commercial users. But, by examining data usage based on office hours, how the software is being used, and similar, more subtle data points, we can start to build a usage case. When we combine this with investigative activity around the individual, we can help software vendors identify worthwhile opportunities to secure license compliance.
What can you do about it?
Businesses need more visibility over how their employees are working and what they’re doing with their devices. You can reduce your software compliance risk by:
- Updating your infrastructure
- Improving BYOD policies and awareness
- Monitoring remote worker activity more closely
- Adopting software license management solutions
In addition, be aware of the potential scenarios that might land outside your policies:
- A business or personal device has unlicensed software on it that’s used for the business’ benefit
- A business or personal device has unlicensed software on it that’s used for personal activity
Both scenarios could lead to liability at worst, or unnecessary stress, time, and paperwork at best. Make sure your remote workers use the right devices for the right reasons and are aware of the potential impact of using unlicensed software.
The latest software compliance solutions make it easy to identify unauthorized software users. However, knowing which users present an opportunity to generate significant returns on enforcement requires specialist assistance.
As we have demonstrated, the software landscape has changed and there’s no going back. And as technology evolves, new challenges will continue to arise. Software can keep up with the tide of change to a point but having a specialist compliance team by your side can help you stay on the cutting edge.
The revenue lost to unauthorized software users is significant and puts jobs at risk. We need more agile solutions to help software vendors maintain control over their IP.
At ITCA, we continue to work on the modern challenges to software compliance. We’re working on new strategies to protect software vendors and educate businesses on how to improve license management.