UK SMEs have the most lax attitude to software licensing in Europe, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
In partnership with market watcher GfK, the BSA questioned 1,800 SMEs in nine European countries. The results revealed that 41 per cent of UK SMEs questioned felt using unlicensed or pirated software was not a problem. The next highest country was Spain with 26 per cent.
Julie Strawson, vice chair BSA UK members committee, told CRN: “UK SMEs are exposing themselves to a host of legal and financial risks. The value of software in a business is clear, yet many of them are still not aware of how to manage it correctly.”
Strawson said the channel is key to winning the battle against illegal software use, by educating customers on the benefits of a proper software asset management (SAM) strategy.
“We would like the channel to play an even bigger role in spreading the SAM message,” she added. “It seems a significant proportion of UK SMEs are in denial.”
Shaun Frohlich, chairman of VAR Teksys, agreed. “Categorically the problem is high,” he said.
“In almost all of the software audits we do we find unlicensed software. But there is just as much of a problem with over-licensed software. End-user behaviour needs to change and nothing changes behaviour quicker than the fear of a fine.”
Tony Price, managing director of online VAR WStore, said: “We always spread the licensing message, but as ever I’m sure more can be done by the industry to raise awareness.” C
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