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Strategic Software License Audit Defense

Go from “Audit?” to “We got it!”

How to beat the software license compliance audit

If you have software, you will have a software license audit. Vendors use it to ensure you’re using your software correctly and following your contract. Vendors also see the audit as a convenient revenue generator, so they’re auditing more frequently.

Responding to software license audit is a costly, demanding ordeal that sucks in people, time, and resources. At the end of it, if the vendor finds you non-compliant, your company must pay fines or buy more licenses.

Having a strong solid plan to defend yourself in an audit – an “audit defense” – is crucial. It helps you deliver accurate license inventory data, so you can avoid fines for using your licenses incorrectly, and prevents draining IT resources that will affect your bottom line.

Let’s dive deeper into getting your own bulletproof strategy for cost-avoiding activities before, during and after the audit.

Get the ultimate audit guide

How can we help you?

3 ways to go from “Audit?” to “We got it!”

Don’t be your vendor’s cash machine – develop your own effective audit defense, which starts with gathering better data. At Aspera, we have three basic strategies for your software license compliance audit defense:

Show you’re prepared

Respond quickly to audit inquiry letters, reviews, and assessments with a dedicated audit team, and Software Asset Management (SAM) processes.

Ensure license compliance

Use professional SAM tools to keep an eye on software licenses and usage. Implement effective SAM processes and tools.

Show them you’re the boss

Be less appealing for future software compliance audits by showing you know what you’ve licensed and how it’s used.

The best data wins the audit

Is a vendor’s license compliance data ever simple? Nope. They’re counting on it being so frighteningly complex that you passively accept their terms and pay up.

Being passive in an audit means you pay more in an audit.

Taking an active role is simple: You need high-quality data with more detail about your software licenses than your vendor. Your data forms the basis of an accurate compliance report that could help you avoid additional license fees.

Here’s what you need to tell the whole story of your licenses:

  • Your purchase history of licenses, like updates or transfers
  • Your entitlements, like Product Use Rights that define how you can use the software to your benefit
  • Your licenses’ obligations, which keep you from drifting into non-compliance

Read our Audit Defense Guide

How compliant is your cloud?

Think you’re safe in the cloud? Think again. Under a SaaS model, you have certain thresholds on usage that you won’t want to cross, unless you like paying more.

You will need to monitor the usage and activity of your users, because the cloud is the eternal compliance audit zone, where vendors can look at past and present usage to determine your license compliance. Keep an eye on your ‘Peak Usage.’ Even though it is your maximum level of cloud software usage, many vendors see it as your minimum usage. They will try to sell solutions that go far beyond your actual needs and are higher in price.

A software license management tool that’s built for the cloud can monitor usage. A great strategy is to reallocate licenses from inactive users to a pool of licenses awaiting reassignment, so you keep that ‘Peak Usage’ low and don’t jump into a new subscription bracket with licenses you aren’t using.

Building your audit defense gets results

Avoid extra license fees by showing you’re in control of your software licenses and usage.

Make IT purchasing more cost-effective by knowing what you already have and what you use.

Cutting your audit response time lets you focus on strategy, like your cloud migration or digital transformation.

Skip the spreadsheets – use SmartTrack

You’re not going to collect better data than your vendor with spreadsheets. A professional SAM tool will tell the whole story of your software licenses, revealing entitlements that cut costs and your obligations to keep you compliant.

Our SmartTrack platform is the ideal platform for audit defense because it:

  • Shows your purchased licenses versus installed software for all vendors
  • Automatically reconciles software usage and license entitlement data
  • Gives you daily status reports that meet the audit requirements of software vendors
  • Helps you prepare the required audit data with smart walk-throughs and tips
  • Implements specific data feeds for the audit, and in-depth data on that vendor, which you can roll out for other publishers’ products and audits

Get audit defense with SmartTrack

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Your audit defense strategy

Getting the right tool for the job is half the battle in audit defense. The other half are people and processes. The Aspera team gives you their expertise from years of defending against license audits.

Our consultants put you on equal footing for the negotiation, as you take control of your compliance position. While you develop your processes to a software compliance audit – like gathering internal stakeholders and delegating roles – we work as a part of your team.

  • Working with you to clean, correct, and complete the software inventory data the vendor requests
  • Explaining vendor’s licensing models and how to apply existing licenses so you reduce under-licensing and overspending
  • Analyzing your data before you submit it to the auditing vendor, so you understand what you’re giving them
  • Thoroughly verifies the vendor’s audit results, looking for pitfalls, errors, and missing data to prevent audit agony later

I’m in the middle of an audit. What do I do?

Even if you’re already engaged in an audit right now, a 100% web-based tool for Software Asset Management — like our SmartTrack platform — can start processing and interpreting the data immediately and accurately. A SAM tool empowers your company to defend itself in an audit with complete and accurate data. Contact us for more information: