Borrowing Software Licenses? Beware!

By SWAT Systems

- Author: Gabriel
It’s tempting to save money by purchasing just ONE software license and sharing it with MANY computers. This issue has been an ongoing battle between users and software developers. In most cases, individual users and small businesses alike value the software, but cannot afford licensing costs. This is where illegal ideas of torrenting and “cracking” software are born.

For a long time, software developers did not have many options to confront the situation. It was only in the 90’s that we were introduced to Windows 95 or 98 and the personal computer era began to take off. Locking down software to prevent theft was not easily achievable or cheap. When a solution was finally achievable, it was more expensive to implement than the cost of the program. Technology has dramatically improved and a new generation of artificial intelligence is among us.

Software companies, both new and old, are switching to hosted data centers. Companies like Amazon and Microsoft have invested billions of dollars into worldwide buildings that host massive computers. Access to these massive servers is sold to the “general public” for a relatively small monthly or annual fee. These servers are able to detect where their software is being installed, where access is coming from and flag activity that looks suspicious. For example, if your license of Office 2013 was being accessed by two different computers, it knows someone is probably “borrowing” a license.

Small and medium sized business are increasingly depend on technology to stay competitive. This has caused technology and software investments to rise in what used to be a small market. This has also meant a steep increase in shared or hacked licensing. Everyday users are flagged with warning windows or asked to purchase a new license. Companies like Microsoft and Adobe don’t have time to chase down each offender. However, growing small and medium business are now subject to software auditing – a task previously handled by large companies. Audits discovering software abuse can bring hefty fines and back-tracked charges. Yikes!

SWAT feels it is our responsibility to point out any suspicious or “at-risk” activity. We are always happy to work with companies to find the right software for the right price. We’ve helped other organizations clean up their licensing usage to ensure they are operating in the green. If you are interested in having SWAT look into your Software licensing to ensure no accidental “borrowing” is taking place, please let your Account Manager know!

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