Buy cheap, buy twice warns FAST
15th December, 2015
Companies need to remain vigilant and check the provenance of software provided by third parties
The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) has issued a warning to UK business to check the validity of software licenses before they buy hardware products.
The warning follows a recent enforcement case FAST was involved with at a cleaning company in Southern England. FAST was alerted to the case by a whistle-blower claiming that the business was using unlicensed Microsoft Windows 7, Office and Windows servers.
FAST contacted the company which to its credit responded immediately and with the help and support of FAST conducted a thorough audit of its IT estate. The audit itself identified that Microsoft Volume Licenses covered the business, but on checking with Microsoft, those licenses were not assigned to them.
Following a detailed investigation back through the IT supply chain, FAST and the company in question identified that it was in fact its supplier which had procured illegally licensed PCs either maliciously or through failing to check the provenance of the licenses in the first place.
Alex Hilton, CEO of FAST, stated: “This is an example of a business believing it had done everything in its power to ensure that it was complying with the license regime. In fact it was its own supplier that had failed to check the validity of the licenses it had in turn bought from a company based in Italy! The company was faced with the reality that it was using illegally copied software and that the original software – and its licenses – were sold to a completely different organisation entirely.
“Our message to businesses across the UK is that you need to remain vigilant with your own IT suppliers and chose a reputable one that can prove the provenance and legitimacy of the software they sell, supply and install.
FAST worked hand in hand with the organisation, helping it through the audit and discovery process. As a result it agreed it would purchase a completely new set of PCs with licensed software installed.