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Microsoft Audit question

Posted on 2016-09-02
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Last Modified: 2016-09-02
We are trying to find out if I.T.  should tell management that Microsoft or any other software company can legally come to their place of business at any time and demand to do their own audit to get a count on their software?

Is this true? Has anyone ever been audited.
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Question by:regsamp
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by:François Peroux
François Peroux earned 125 total points
ID: 41781564
Hello,

I had couple of clients who had been audited by Microsoft. It's not someone who come physically to your place but they invite you to give them all the information about your licences.

They can do it, and legally.
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by:regsamp
ID: 41781570
I have heard that but what if you do not participate in the invite, can they then legally require you to allow them to remote into the network or physically come to the site to do an audit?
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by:François Peroux
ID: 41781576
They'll never come to your place or take control of your servers/computers.

They'll insist for you to fill the forms they send you, calling you, sending email (like everyday or couple times per week).
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 125 total points
ID: 41781579
I think you need to allow them to come in to audit (yes, they can do this).

Do not let them remote in.
1. You do not know who is on the other end.
2. You cannot audit paper records (often needed) by using remote access.
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Author Comment

by:regsamp
ID: 41781604
But couldn't someone just fudge the forms? That is how Microsoft takes a count? Then how do people get fined if there is not a way for Microsoft to confirm physically?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41781609
It is pretty easy to spot fudged forms. And Microsoft is entitled to check with the vendor of the software and computers list on the invoices.
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Author Comment

by:regsamp
ID: 41781613
I see. I was just trying to get a general picture of how it worked. Our environment is in total compliance but there was a debate on what to tell management about the specifics and how it works exactly and I am unclear myself.
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Dustin Saunders earned 250 total points
ID: 41781616
It depends on how you do your licensing, but for example, two of my companies that are Microsoft SPLA have been audited and it was a 2-3 month process, we did have auditors on site for a few days and had to present our licensing to them with proof collected from the environment using their tools.

If you have any licensing issues, they will bill you for them.  They do have the right to do this per your license agreement with Microsoft (that long EULA you click ok on when you install it) and especially if you are SPLA.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41781617
If you are in complete compliance (as are my clients) it is generally easy to lay out the necessary paperwork, help them through it and bid them good day.
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Author Comment

by:regsamp
ID: 41781654
Thank you for that Dustin. That is how we do our licensing. Thank you everyone else.
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by:Dustin Saunders
ID: 41781658
@regsamp - np, good luck.

Be sure to look through all your active directory users, installed licenses to make sure everything is good.  You have time to fix problems before the audit starts, but when it starts if they find an error you will get billed for that item back to the start of your current SPLA contract regardless of when the item was turned up (i.e.3 year contract & if you have an instance of SQL server you turned up yesterday and you didn't report it, they will bill you for 3 years of that SQL server.)

We have a very large infrastructure here and at my previous company, and both times we enlisted SPLA attorneys to help with the audit.  We were able to avoid any penalties from Microsoft both times, but if your company is large enough you may consider that.
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Author Comment

by:regsamp
ID: 41781868
The experts were quick and gave great advice and insight.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41781886
Thanks and we are happy to help.
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