IT asset management tools?

Posted on 2014-01-07
Last Modified: 2014-03-28
hi guys,

We're being audited by the almighty software police....Microsoft. And it's going to be one hell of an audit.

To ease the blow, I'm thinking of either purchasing software or using tools that will do the job. Now I have Spiceworks at the moment. Our supplier says that 'Snow' is a good tool to use.

Would you use Spiceworks? (I'm also trying to reduce the spending here). If not, then what would you recommend?

Thanks again,
Question by:Yashy
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LVL 16

Accepted Solution

choward16980 earned 350 total points
ID: 39762519

You don't get audited by MS, you get audited by the BSA mattress tag police.  You can, in any event, just ignore these suckerfish idiots.... or you can comply.  We complied and were thought to be completely legit.  You'd be amazed what these animals want in order to prove you own even OEM software.  Just know that this is all a ruse and was probably brought on by a former employee who ratted you guys out for knowingly having illegitimate software.  We went from a 3million$ fine down to 100k$ fine and 60k$ worth of software.  If I could do it again, I'd burn their letter and tell them to f-off.

Author Comment

ID: 39762580
Really? But the letter is itself directly from Microsoft to us and it was literally DHL'd (the audacity) to me directly. Unbelievable! What's worse is that we asked for our supplier to help us to which they happily obliged, but then Microsoft declined and said 'sorry mate...back off, you can't help them. We're doing it with one of the big names in the accounting industry'.

Either way, I doubt our financial director would believe me if I said I can ignore this. So the tools in that link are all available for use as such then.

I appreciate your help.
LVL 25

Assisted Solution

Cyclops3590 earned 150 total points
ID: 39762627
I would consult with a lawyer to tell you the truth.  choward is correct, there can be massive fines and for petty crap.  I knew one company that got 250K in fines because they installed the same office license over 20 computers.  Kind of a load when you consider that even if you bought top of the line at the time you're talking maybe $5K to buy legit licenses for all of them.

My gut however says there is no way MS can just do that.  However people get scared at big whatever coming at them and comply hoping it won't be bad.  MS doesn't really have recourse except to sue you and they need proof that you are violating their licenses.  They can't just say, hey we want to check you out.  They must take you to court.  This is why I say consult a lawyer that deals with such cases to know your options.  May seem like a bit of money but will pry be cheaper than just "complying" with MS.

Finally, yes, Spiceworks I've used before and its pretty good at software detection so you at least know what is installed (software, version, edition, etc.).  The problem is that is doesn't really tell you the type of license used.  Was it OEM, Volume License, retail, etc.  And that is where they'll screw you.  I'm not familiar with a product that will do that.  You really need to keep track of all of that stuff or ask your vendor for a copy of all purchases.  MS can tell them to stay out of it, but legally there is no recourse.  Business recourse is what your vendor is afraid of because MS could say we won't allow you to sell MS products anymore which would hurt them so they don't want to risk it.

Effectively, my advice.  Get a lawyer.  They will find something and they will fine you hard.  There is no way they can stop you from purchasing MS products because their available everywhere.  All they can really do is file suit against your company.  But if they don't have proof of wrong doing, its all just pointing fingers and should get tossed out.  Oh and get a lawyer :)
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 39763181
Microsoft CANNOT enforce an audit on the end user.  You probably got hand-couriered a letter from their bozo attorneys.  If you're a wealthy company, call Scott & Scott LLP and they will make it go away.

If you don't mind me asking, how much was your suspected fine and how many users do you have?
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 39763202
I thought getting a lawyer was the right thing to do...  We hired one of our inhouse attorneys...  Well.... I may or may have not known a certain person who may have read a certain email between two unbeknownst parties, corroborating the BSA offering a certain attorney 15% of the overall fine if they sway certain parties to comply.  Anyway, just remember that they are all terrible scum and should die from cancer.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 39763212
Also, by being 'served' that letter, you must acknowledge the fact that destruction of any purportedly illegal software is a big felony known as destruction or tampering with evidence.

Author Comment

ID: 39796705
hey guys,

I believe our in house lawyers have been going through the various documents and have permitted them to do their audit. I have no power here in terms of that decision sadly. And to be honest.

I agree with you guys. They believe they run everything and force their way into your company 'because they can' according to them. Horrible.

I'm sadly having to go down this route and obtain as much information as I can prior to this starting as to ensure our compliance. It's more the headache of having to get all invoices, payment details, licensing details...nightmare.

Thanks for all your input,

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