Thirty nine percent of British businesses do not have the correct software licences to reflect their usage, according to a new survey.
Thousands of businesses are risking fines for underpayment, or are inadvertently paying too much, said the survey commissioned by software rights management firm SafeNet.
Twelve percent of firms under-licensed their software, it found, while 26 percent were buying unnecessary extra licences on top of the ones they needed.
A number of businesses had not fully addressed existing concerns, the survey found. Some 37 percent of firms had overspent because they bought more licences than they required, and 29 percent had experienced downtime because they did not have enough licences to operate the software.
Seven percent of firms said they had been fined for under-licensing, and a third said they were not even watching when licences were due for renewal.
The survey, conducted by Vanson Bourne and featuring 100 IT directors in large companies, found that eleven percent of businesses do not monitor their licensing situation in any way. The problem was most prevalent in the public sector, where one in five organisations failed to track their licences.
Businesses also feared that new technology would make licensing more complex, with 68 percent of firms highlighting SaaS and virtualisation as a concern, including cost and management issues.
Chris Holland, VP at SafeNet, said: “Organisations must be able to prove their software is legitimate, which means having the ability to understand how their licenses have been distributed and that the quantities add up.” He advised firms use the proper tools to help monitor the situation.
He warned that a failure to do this “could end up costing the organisation a fortune in unproductive downtime, fines for illegal use, and negative PR”.
But he also urged suppliers to do more. “The solution lies with software vendors. Greater communication is needed between the owners of the licence enforcement strategies and their end customers.”