One of the biggest IT expenses for many small businesses is software. Some companies require thousands of dollars of software, which can quickly compound when you hire new employees. Businesses who have purchased Microsoft software may soon be receiving a letter from the tech giant asking for a systems audit. Here is a quick overview of this letter and what you should do if you receive one.
The Microsoft Software Asset Management Review
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that they will be sending out over 30,000 letters to small businesses who have purchased Microsoft software licenses. These letters or emails are focused on checking that you have the right number of licenses for your systems.
This program actually has three audit elements, or emails, that are being sent out to businesses.
- Internal self-audit email - This is the most common letter businesses have been receiving. It asks them to verify that they are compliant with Microsoft’s licenses, which is usually done by sending Microsoft the software keys for each license or product purchased. They then compare this to their records.
- Software Asset Management (SAM) Engagement - This is a voluntary process where Microsoft sends a Software Asset Management partner to your business to audit your systems and see if you are over or under licensed. For companies who do agree to this, the audit is paid for by Microsoft. The downside is, if you are found to be non-compliant, you will likely face a fairly large bill.
- Legal Contract Compliance (LCC) audit email - This audit can be enacted by Microsoft if you put off a SAM or self-audit for an extended period of time. Essentially, this is a legal audit that you must comply with. If you are found to be non-compliant under this audit, you could face stiff legal penalties.
What happens if I receive one of these emails?
Should you receive one of these emails you will be asked to carry out the audit by a set date. Most of the emails contain a spreadsheet that you will need to put your license information into. This can take time because you will likely need to physically check every machine using Microsoft software for relevant information. In the early stages, Microsoft will typically allow you to purchase any missing licenses without penalty.
Auditors who come to your business will ask you for network and server access and any other form of information they think they can ask for.
Should you be found to be non-compliant or under-licensed, you will likely then be presented with a bill for the extra licenses. If you happen to be highly under-licensed, this bill could be quite large.
What should I do if I am worried about this audit?
An audit like this could be time consuming, costly, and above all is frustrating for any business owner. What we recommend is working with us. We can help ensure that your business is using appropriate licenses and, should you face a request to do an audit, we can help you through the process.
So, contact us today to ensure that your business is compliant.