Growth in shadow IT calls for heightened awareness of software licencing | FAST

Growth in shadow IT calls for heightened awareness of software licencing

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Do companies have policies in place to ensure software compliance and in a BYOA world?

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) is calling on organisations to be aware of the compliance challenges and not get caught out as working practices shift with the growth in BYOA (Bring Your Own Application).

A Stratecast report by Frost & Sullivan, published late 2013, has identified an increase in the trend for BYOA. The report states that the ease with which employees can access SaaS applications, without the prior approval of the IT department, dubbed ‘shadow IT’, is making the Software Asset Management (SAM) increasingly difficult.

The report found that 80 per cent of respondents admitted to using non-approved SaaS applications in their jobs. Moreover, on average, the study found that in any given company, 35 per cent of SaaS applications are purchased and used without prior approval from the IT department.

Alex Hilton, FAST’s CEO, said: “SaaS has brought previously unseen flexibility to businesses’ IT estates, but we are now seeing the emergence of so-called Shadow IT. This development in working practices can present huge challenges for organisations wishing to demonstrate that they are on the right side of the law when it comes to software licence compliance.

“SAM poses a big enough challenge to the IT department at the best of times, but becomes infinitely more complex if other departments or even individuals take it upon themselves to procure their own software directly. This growth in Shadow IT brings further challenges to managing an already complex IT estate, meaning that, more than ever, businesses need to stay on top of their policies and procedures to help manage their licensing arrangements,” he continued.

Martin Prendergast, CEO and Co-Founder of Concorde Solutions, and Chair of the License Value Management Special Interest Group of the Cloud Industry Forum, explained: “As businesses move away from traditional enterprise software brands and platforms and adopt open source, cloud-based apps or mobile technology as alternatives, IT procurement is increasingly bypassing the IT department.

“So when it comes to adopting technology or implementing changes, businesses must ensure that the core principles of software asset management, of remaining in control and keeping a holistic view of their software estate, remains the same,” he added.

Conor Ward, Consultant at Hogan Lovells International LLP and chair of the Cloud Industry Legal Forum (CILF), added: “The implications of Shadow IT go well beyond effective software asset management. The use of cloud-based applications raises a number of new regulatory and legal issues, which, if not managed centrally and carefully, could lead to non-compliance.”