201906.18
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Be Cautious in Navigating Microsoft’s Forest of EA Documents

Companies with experience licensing Microsoft software and services through Enterprise Agreements know that small forests could be felled to produce the paper required for the typical document stack. EAs often incorporate a dozen or more different components, including some or all of the following: Microsoft Business and Services Agreement or Microsoft Business Agreement (Microsoft sometimes…

201905.29
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Navigating Microsoft License Verification Audits

Microsoft, like other software publishers, routinely audits customers to help ensure that it is protecting the value of its intellectual property.  Microsoft verifies its customers’ compliance using several methods. Microsoft License Verification (also, Software Asset Management “SAM” request). In a SAM request, Microsoft assigns a third party to reach out to a customer to confirm…

201905.22
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What is a Microsoft SPLA Verified Self-Audit?

If you provide commercial hosting services using Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), you may become a target of an ever-increasing variety of license audits from Microsoft and its vendors.  The latest flavor of a Microsoft SPLA audit is the verified self-assessment or VSA.  The SPLA verified self-assessment differs from both the independent audit and…

201905.14
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BSA Audit Procedures

Most BSA Audits begin with a report from a disgruntled employee or former employee. The Business Software Alliance maintains telephone hotlines and a web site to encourage disgruntled employees and vendors to make anonymous reports against companies of all sizes. The BSA dedicates a substantial portion of its revenue marketing on radio stations and the…

201904.24
1

For SPLA Audits, When Historical Data is Missing, Creativity May Be Required

Most software audits pertaining to products licensed under perpetual licenses (such as licenses acquired under a Microsoft Select Agreement, MPSA or (usually) Enterprise Agreement) incorporate a snapshot-in-time approach, where licenses owned generally are compared to deployments identified through data collected about current-state product deployments. In contrast, audits pertaining to products licensed under a Microsoft Services…

201904.18
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Preparing for the Inevitable SPLA Audit

If your company uses a Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA)—and it probably does if Microsoft considers you to be in the commercial hosting business—you will be audited at some point. Typically, Microsoft SPLA customers are audited once every three years. When that time comes, it is important to know how your company may be…

201904.11
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Top Three Ways to Sabotage Your Licensing Compliance Under SPLA

Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) is the principal licensing agreement for companies that want to use Microsoft products to deliver hosted software solutions over the Internet. Microsoft’s standard volume license agreements expressly prohibit using the software for “commercial hosting” purposes (though, limited exceptions are offered for certain use cases and subject to specific requirements)….

201903.20
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Do You Need a Microsoft Service Provider License (SPLA)?

If your business model involves hosting applications, websites or data, chances are that Microsoft will require you to obtain and follow a SPLA. Businesses that use Microsoft software for internal use only, or where third-party access is anonymous or unauthenticated, do not need a SPLA. With limited exceptions, Microsoft does require customers engaged in commercial…