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The Three Biggest Risks of Not Knowing Your Software Installs

Do you know your software inventory? 9 out of 10 IT leaders do not have a clear view on their installed software and cannot say with 100% certainty how much software they actually have at their company.

Current analysis tools don’t provide precise-enough information to make educated decisions about optimizing their software stock or how to close dangerous security gaps. Let’s take a look at the three biggest risks of not knowing your software installs and how you can eliminate each

Risk No. 1: Hidden Security Gaps

By not keeping an eye on all of your installed software, you likely have applications in your software stock that pose a high security risk. These include illegal or unapproved software such as games, applications with Internet access, network applications, and cracker tools.

Every installation, however small, offers an open backdoor to attackers, one that your security software cannot protect against. There are studies that state that more than 80% of attacks on corporate IT systems involve software that is outdated or no longer supported.

Today, experts can hack the WindowsXP operating system within minutes and use it as the basis for corporate attacks “from within.” You need visibility into installs and outdated software to eliminate major security threats.

Risk No. 2: Excessive Spending

A big challenge of unknown software installs is an excessive expenditure. When it comes to the yearly True-up* for example, many companies go the easy way: Because they don´t know exactly how many installs they have, they take the report from the previous year and adapt it marginally, oftentimes spending more than needed to avoid the risk of under paying.

Additionally, you have unexplored potential to reduce your software purchasing and operative costs. Oftentimes, companies experience a “software zoo” with, for example, 9 different PDF readers, a variety of security programs and several different graphics programs. It is a lot of software with the same functionality, but from different manufacturers.

By consolidating your software, you can drastically reduce costs and operating efforts.

What is a True-Up?

Microsoft grants the customer the right to report the growth of the products ordered in their Enterprise Agreement (EA) once a year. This is called true-up. This means that an annual license comparison must take place between installed base and commercial stock. The difference to the last reported inventory is determined retroactively for the past contractual year. If no growth has taken place, a so-called zero usage can be given.

Risk No. 3: Compliance Risks 

Some applications are not only a security risk to the company, but are actually out of compliance with their intended use. For example, if your employee is using a graphics program that is licensed for personal use to create an image for a client, they would be in violation of the licensing rights for that software.

According to a 2016 survey from BSA | The Software Alliance, more than a third of software installed on PCs globally was not properly licensed. Your compliance risks result from unlicensed software, non-commercial use and illegally-installed software.

How to Eliminate the Three Biggest Risks

The key to success is to achieve transparency into your software stock. To know your software stock is the first basic step to eliminate your security risk, your risk of unplanned costs or unexplored savings-potential, as well as to reduce your compliance risks.

With the following simple and effective methods, you will quickly see success:

Method One

Detect every single software installation: Compare your technical inventory with your purchased licenses and remove illegitimate installs to improve compliance.

Method Two

Know your software details, like version, patch level, functionality, license type, usage, etc. to discover full optimization potential.

Method Three

Consolidate the software stock to gain leverage with negotiating better pricing, reduce operations costs and reduce security risks.

Think You’re an Expert on Your Software Stock? 

Test your knowledge with a trial of COMPAREX’s Portfolio Management Platform. Click here to sign up for one today.

Pro Tip!

According to Gartner, companies can reduce their software expenditure by up to 30% by using software portfolio management measures. Through many projects and service environments, COMPAREX has also discovered that software analysis holds significant potential for increasing IT security.

Unsure of Your Software Inventory?

With the COMPAREX Portfolio Management Platform, you gain complete transparency into your software.

Your installed software is automatically recorded using COMPAREX Inventory (or your existing inventory software) and thoroughly categorized using the COMPAREX Profiler service – all at the push of a button and for more than 14,000 vendors and 900,000 fingerprints.

Clearly presented in your COMPAREX Dashboard, your data is organized by 17 categories and 480 functions for your ongoing data analysis. This allows you to evaluate your software with regard to versions, functions, languages and license types or patch levels, and discover previously untapped optimization potentials and security risks.

Now is the time to identify your risks before reality catches up to you! Click here to get started. Or fill out the form below to learn more about the risks of not knowing your software installs.

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