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Software license compliance, known unknowns

By talluto ·
I'm currently working with a Fortune 500 company that has 10k desktops worldwide. My group is responsible for desktop infrastructure so we are the primary area audit comes asking for desktop software license compliance. The problem we have is that people will install and run applications we do not know about, yet we are on the hook for ensuring all desktops have licensed software. The question is: how do you keep track of all software and associated licenses when you don't control installations or purchasing?

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Auditing software and central purchasing

by JamesRL In reply to Software license complian ...

You probably have alot of cleanup to do before you can get a reliable system in place.

But you need to impose order out of kaos. Principle one is - no one is allowed to buy software except purchasing, and purchasing will have a restricted list of software that will be allowed for purchasing. Software that is licensed for every PC is an exception - no need to track it. Software will not be expensed on credit cards.

Then you need to put software on every PC. SMS can do the basics of the job, but will probably require some of the add ins to help identify software versions. There are specialized auditing tools out there. At my last job we had agreement from senior management that if they refused the auditing tool, we could cut off their network access.

You then gather data from the auditing tool and compare it to purchasing records(hopefully in some kind of table).

The problem is getting the data on the existing state - as there is likely a lot of legitimate software that was purchased through other channels that is installed. Desk to Desk audits where you make them show licenses is about the only way.

This may sound time consuming and expensive, but its less expensive than fighting a lawsuit.

James

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