Unlicensed software cost UK SMEs £900k in 2016

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The use of unlicensed software cost British small and medium enterprises nearly £1 million in 2016. The total cost to SMEs rose from £770,192 in 2015 to £914,587 in 2016. According to the BSA (The Software Alliance) that sum includes settlements and the cost of buying new software to become compliant.

The single biggest offender paid out £84,300 (not far off 10% of the total.) And that does raise the question if this isn’t a very small amount of the total infractions being detected and punished. We’d like to think that most SMEs are compliant but it does seem likely that there are a good deal more people using hooky software not recognised by this new information.

Sarah Coombes of BSA says: “It’s concerning to see that unlicensed software is still costing small businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. Despite the rate of unlicensed software in the UK dropping, it’s clear some businesses are continuing to ignore copyright law, leading to greater settlements and legalisation costs. We encourage all businesses to ensure they have stringent software asset management (SAM) practices in place. Implementing even baseline SAM tools and processes, such as regular inventories and having a software use policy for employees, can have a huge benefit. Knowing what software you’re using and what you’re licensed to use could even lead to cost savings, by helping to identify over-licensed software. Anyone aware of a business using unlicensed software can send an anonymous report to BSA, or go on the record for a potential reward.”

Don’t worry. This time we won’t end a post with a question like: “do you use unlicensed software? Have you been busted?”

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