The Risks of Licensing

  • Often overlooked, software licensing carries risks, lots of risk. Of course, the cost of acquiring licensing, the overhead of determining and dealing with vendors, storing and maintaining licenses, documenting licenses, communicating licensing limits and so forth all take time and money and to a business, this spending is just another form of risk (or risk is just another kind of spending.)

    But beyond that, there is risks associated with licensing that are harder to calculate. Like the risk of getting licensing wrong and being hit with an audit, the risk of audit costs even if you are properly licensed, the risk of employees calling in violations, risks of the licensing becoming corrupt or lost, the risk of overbuying licensing, the risk of licensing being used as a remote kill for software, risk of the licenser losing documentation, risk of the licenser going out of business or refusing to relicense a product. These risks are very real and add up. They need to be considered when evaluating software, they create concerns as to things like the long term viability of a vendor in ways that some licenses do not.

    Understanding licensing and its associated benefits and risks are part and parcel with being in IT.