What is a Microsoft Audit? All you need to know.yoana
Many companies buy used software licenses to reduce costs. While this is a very effective and smart way to spare budget, one must think of a potential Microsoft audit. Used licenses have become legal to sell and resell for years now, after the European court of Justice decided on the case in 2012. However, many resellers do not oblidge with the court’s rules. This leads to companies having unpleasant experience with Microsoft which could be followed by fines. In this blog you can read more about what a Microsoft Audit is, who can get it and how to prepare for it.
What is a Microsoft Audit?
Microsoft Audit is literally Microsoft requesting more information regarding the software licenses you are using. This informaiton is usually what licenses you have in use and their proof of purchase. As you may assume, if you have more licenses in use than you have bought, you would have to pay a fine for the “additional” ones you have no proof for.
Who can get a Microsoft Audit?
The short answer is literally anyone. There are multiple reasons for why you can get an Audit. The most prominent one is when Microsoft suspects you or your company of illegal software use. Another reason could be just a random check. Most medium-sized and big corporations randomly get Microsoft Audits. A third scenario could be an audit due to someone’s recommendation. After all, Microsoft does these audits to check whether you and your company are using the same amount of licenses you have a proof for. The bottom line is, everyone can get a Microsoft Audit and if you get one do not panic. All you need to do is gather the necessary documents. More on this you can find below.
What can trigger a Microsoft Audit?
A Microsoft Audit can be random but it can also be triggered by some factors such as purchasing history or, as mentioend above, someone’s recommendation. The reasons for an Audit are almost infinite, therefore, it is important that you are prepared for one when and if it comes. While correlation is not causation, audits mainly occur to compaines buying pre-owned software licenses. For this reason, it is crucial to discuss what pre-owned software is and when it is legal.
Are pre-owned licenses legal?
It is legal to sell and resell software licenses, including Microsoft licenses. This was the decision of the European Court of Justice in 2012. There are however a few conditions that must be fullfilled in order to resell legally a software license, These are:
- The license must be perpetual
- The license is not used at the time of delivery
- The used software license must not be incomplete in any way
- There are no other costs for using the license after the purchase
Read more about the pros and cons of on-premise licenses.
Different than a physical product, the quality of a software license does not decrease with use or time. Therefore, by buying a pre-owned license you receive the same functionalities and qualities as with a new one for a cheaper price. Sometimes the difference can be up to 70% from the price of a new license. Lizenso offers both pre-owned and new licenses. If you would like to learn more about the legal side of used software licenses you can follow this link
How to prepare for a Microsoft Audit?
One of the most important steps in the prepration for a Microsoft Audit is to make internal inventory. This mean to check which and how many licenses are installed and in use. The next step is to gather all proofs of purchase for these licenses. A proof of purchase can be the invoice of your distributor, a license document etc. Below you can find a checlkist of important tasks for a Microsoft Audit:
- Count all your physical servers, virtual machines and virtual servers
- Double-check the number of installed CALs on the servers (for this you can go to the Server Management console under the “licensing” tab
- Count all the people who use and/or have accesas to the SQL-databases and other sever-based products
- Count al devices (PCs, laptops, mobile devices etc.) that are using Microsoft products
- Note down all the gathered details and organize them in a single document. This information is what you need to show to Microsoft together with the proof of purchase for the installed lienses in use.
Microsoft Audit: What could happen?
In case you receive an email from Microsot about an Audit, do not panic. Gather your documents and license information, follow the steps above and send the data to Microsoft. If you are using licenses with no proof of purchase you would have to pay a fine as you are using them illegally. If, however, you are on the legal side, you should not worry about the audit. All you need to do is provide the correct information to Microsoft and communicate openly with them. The chanses are, you would not have to undergo any unpleasant consequences.