202109.29
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To SAM or Not to SAM? The Differences Between a Microsoft SAM Engagement and an Audit

In recent years, Microsoft seems to have been shifting an increasing volume of its license-compliance resources toward what it calls Software Asset Management (SAM) reviews. These “optional” engagements typically are proposed by Microsoft personnel with whom a company has not had any prior interactions, and the company often receives no advance warning or introductions from…

202108.12
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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…

202106.29
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Licensing Non-Employees to Access Microsoft Products on Your Servers

Many businesses have teams of third-party vendors to assist with their business operations or to provide independent services – like software development or website design – that require access to company servers. For Microsoft products like Windows Server that require additive licensing (usually, Client Access Licenses, or CALs) to support all such client access, the…

202105.04
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BSA Audit Timeline

One of the top ten questions asked by my clients is “How long does the BSA self-audit process take from start to finish?” Of course I give the standard lawyer answer: it depends. Here are the steps to a typical BSA audit. Preparation of Audit Materials (3 to 6 months) A BSA audit is a…

202104.29
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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)….

202104.01
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Microsoft SPLA or Microsoft Self-Hosted Applications: Which is better?

Microsoft SPLA VS Microsoft Self-Hosted Applications Many businesses that identify a need to acquire “commercial hosting rights” in connection with hosted solutions incorporating Microsoft software have two options for acquiring them: through a Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) with Microsoft or through the Self-Hosted Application (SHA) benefit that is included with Software Assurance under an…

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…