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By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 2007-02-28 Print this article Print

Tracking hardware and software assets is no easy task. Add software deployment and help-desk automation, and the challenge grows. Asset management software can do it all—and more.

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Besides the benefits that asset management software offers, users say they employ the tools to help avoid the risk of violating license agreements. According to the Business Software Alliance, a trade association that polices software piracy, software misuse leads to about $7 billion in lost vendor revenue annually.

Neil MacBride, the group's vice president of legal affairs, acknowledges that not every licensing violation is intentional. But, deliberate or not, fines can mount up to tens of thousands of dollars, he says.

One of the primary tips the alliance gives to companies is to constantly audit themselves. "The best way for a company to stay in compliance or out of trouble or off our radar and our vendors' radars," he says, "is to keep looking at themselves."

Many software vendors require their customers to perform yearly audits of how many licenses the company has versus how many they're using.

That's where asset management software comes in. Harry Butler, support center manager with defense contractor EFW, uses CA's Unicenter Asset Management software to manage software usage and contracts. Not only must EFW comply with vendors, but it also has to meet requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Noncompliance on either front can result in the loss of millions in government contracts.

While Butler says EFW hasn't been audited by a vendor or the Business Software Alliance, he recognizes the threat. "That's why we put in the CA products—so we weren't going to get ourselves in that boat," he says. "It keeps me from being illegal."

Associate Editor

Brian joined Baseline in March 2006. In addition to previous stints at Inter@ctive Week and The Net Economy, he's written for The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., as well as The Sunday Tribune in Dublin, Ireland. Brian has a B.A. from Bucknell University and a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.


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