202102.16
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Defending SPLA Audits: Critical First Steps

Many businesses contact Scott & Scott, LLP regarding Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) audits after providing extensive information to Microsoft’s auditors and receiving compliance demands that would be ruinous for their bottom lines, if paid in full. At that stage, it might be difficult to “un-ring the bell” with respect to the data allegedly underlying…

202012.31
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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…

202010.22
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In Microsoft Audits, Don’t Forget About True-Up Rights

Following the conclusion of a software audit, Microsoft’s standard practice is to require an audited company to purchase licenses associated with calculated “unlicensed use” within a set period of time (typically, 30 days) following receipt of Microsoft’s settlement demand. However, it is important for companies with Enterprise Agreements to keep in mind the fact that…

202009.22
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How to Protect Your Company in a Microsoft SPLA Self-Certification

If your company licenses products to third parties under the Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), you may receive a request to perform a self assessment and provide a certification of compliance to Microsoft.  The SPLA self-assessment audit is a new audit flavor that is unlike the independent audits Microsoft has historically used to audit…

202008.31
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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…

202003.25
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Attempts to Transfer Microsoft Licenses May be Ineffective

Like most software publishers, Microsoft includes terms in its standard license agreements to restrict a licensee’s ability to resell or otherwise assign to another party the right to install or use software. Increasing the level of difficulty for IT groups trying to manage their software assets, different types of Microsoft licenses come with different transfer…

201910.29
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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…

201910.10
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Avoid Mixed-Mode Microsoft Licensing Whenever Possible

Most Microsoft software products – especially server products – can be licensed under multiple different models and metrics. SQL Server probably is the best example of a product that presents companies with multiple decision layers when analyzing new use cases: • Commercial Hosting or Volume Licensing? Companies need to determine whether a particular use case requires…

201909.18
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Is Hosting Microsoft Products via Third Parties a Good Option?

Most providers of hosted software solutions traditionally have delivered those solutions over the Internet from their own servers. However, an increasing number of businesses are interested in outsourcing not only their internal-use IT infrastructure but also the systems used to host their client-facing solutions. Doing so may allow a business to focus more on product…