With 2014 coming to an end, Microsoft is in the process of sending out 30,000 audit letters and e-mails to businesses, to help your organization stay compliant with licenses purchased. It is pretty easy to get confused about your license status and keeping track of what licenses are in use, where and who are using it. It is extremely difficult and hard to understand the do’s and don’ts with Microsoft’s end user license agreements (EULA).
Be on the lookout for any emails from Microsoft with the subject line “Microsoft Software Asset Management Review”. These emails are indeed authentic and need to be paid attention to, while still following safe email practices as a precaution.
Microsoft is sending out three types of audit letters and e-mails. These include:
- Microsoft Internal Self Audit Letter/Email
- Microsoft Software Assets Management (SAM)
- Microsoft Legal Contracts and Compliance (LCC) Audit
The most common notification sent is the Microsoft Internal Self Audit Letter/E-mail. Most likely this notification will require companies to verify their compliance by performing a self-audit to be turned in by a specific date. If the organization finds they are over using licenses or misusing licenses, Microsoft’s advisory asks that the organization work with their reseller to purchase the proper license to become compliant. A company may be required to send Microsoft their software keys or authorization numbers in their possession to compare with their records.
The Software Assets Management Engagements is a voluntary process that can either hurt you or help you by understanding your license utilization. Microsoft pays a Software Assessment Management (SAM) partner to help you assess and reconcile what you have. But you may choose to decline the SAM partner and obtain an independent vendor to help provide advice and pre-audit your environment. Overall, if the audit finds that you are not compliant in some way or form, you have to work with your VAR or reseller to upgrade licenses and become compliant. If you choose to work with the SAM partner, they will help you implement software asset management best practices and help you get back on track. The cost to upgrade or to purchase new licenses could be big or small depending on what was found. A nice link to understanding SAM and guides to help you get organized can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/sam/en/us/downloads.aspx
Legal Contracts and Compliance audits (LCC) can be really expensive for a company if and when you decide to ignore or decline to take part in the self or SAM Engagement audit. Legal action can be taken if you delay any notification of an audit, and if an LCC audit is requested you must comply. An LCC audit needs to be taken seriously and is not voluntary. This is the most expensive type of audit and Microsoft will pursue to build a legal case with penalties ranging from fines and penalties, to criminal prosecution in a worst case scenario.
RedOrum can assist you by providing information and suggestions to make this software audit process much smoother. When it comes to audits, staying ahead of the game is important to make this a stress free experience. RedOrum can look into existing software to ensure everything is licensed correctly in order to stay in good standing with Microsoft. Contact RedOrum today to stay compliant!