Computer users around the world cite the risk of security threats from malware as the top reason not to use unlicensed software. Among their specific concerns are intrusions by hackers and loss of data. Yet a striking 43% of the software installed on personal computers globally in 2013 was not properly licensed.
These and other findings released in the BSA Global Software Survey underscore the need for effective software management practices, especially in business settings.
“Most people don’t know what is installed on their systems. That needs to change,” said BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel. “There are common-sense steps managers and administrators can take to make sure their organizations are using genuine, properly licensed software,” Victoria added.
The BSA Global Software Survey is conducted every other year for BSA by IDC, which this year polled computer users in 34 markets, including nearly 22,000 consumer and business PC users and more than 2,000 IT managers. Among the findings were that the global rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing rose from 42% in 2011 to 43% in 2013 as emerging economies where unlicensed software use is most prevalent continued to account for a growing majority of all PCs in service.
It was also found that the commercial value of unlicensed PC software installations totaled $62.7bn globally in 2013 and that the main reason computer users around the world cite for not using unlicensed software is avoiding security threats from malware. Among the risks associated with unlicensed software, 64% of users cited unauthorized access by hackers as a top concern and 59% cited loss of data. Another finding was that while IT managers express understandable concern that unlicensed software may cause harm, less than half say they are very confident that their company’s software is properly licensed.
“Unlicensed software use is an organizational governance issue – and this study shows there is a clear need for improvement,” said Espinel. “There are basic steps any company can take to ensure it is fully compliant, like establishing a formal policy on licensed software use and maintaining careful records. Companies also should consider implementing more robust software asset management programs that follow internationally accepted guidelines. These SAM programs can deliver substantial value by ensuring adequate controls are in place to provide a full view into what is installed on a network. That helps organizations avoid security and operational risks, and it ensures they have the right number of licenses for their users,” Espinel added.
Commenting on the topic, Sana Jaser, Antipiracy Manager of Microsoft Jordan, stated, “At Microsoft Jordan, we have been wholly committed to raising awareness on the risks of using pirated software and on the importance of using genuine programs and promoting intellectual property. As such, we have taken several measures in collaboration with related law enforcement authorities to tackle this pressing issue, which resulted in antipiracy rates in Jordan dropping from 58% to 57% in the past two years.”
In turn, Mohammad Abbadi, Director General of the National Library Department (NLD), added, “The Government of Jordan has carried out multiple initiatives geared towards combating piracy and promoting the use of licensed software. In this context, dedicated personnel have been working around-the-clock to spread awareness among individuals, the general public, businesses and government entities in order to effectively handle this issue.”
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