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…

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…

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…

201909.06
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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…

201907.02
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Microsoft’s Auditors Are Not Infallible

Microsoft licensing is a complex, multi-faceted undertaking, with different rules and license metrics applying to different products. In the context of software audits initiated by Microsoft, it is important to keep in mind the fact that the auditors hired to perform those investigations are fallible human beings and that they can (and do) make mistakes…

201904.24
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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…

201602.24
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Beware Audit Terms in Microsoft’s New MPSA

Microsoft is in the process of transitioning many of its volume-licensing customers from the Select Plus Agreement to the new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). (More information on the transition framework is available here.) A notable difference between the Select Plus Agreement and the MPSA is that the MPSA is self-contained and is not…

201602.23
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Microsoft SPLA Audit Look-Back Periods

In a typical Microsoft audit of software licensed under perpetual licenses, the auditors usually will compare installations of Microsoft products against licenses owned, and Microsoft will require the audited business to purchase additional licenses required to cover any gaps discovered by the auditors. An audit under a Services Provider License Agreement uses a similar framework,…

201602.23
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Microsoft Audit Roadmap

Microsoft offers an array of software licensing options for its business customers. However, during an audit, the timing and course of the project typically follows a fairly well-worn path: 1. Kickoff meeting At this step, Microsoft’s hired auditors (typically PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Ernst & Young or Unified Logic) will schedule a meeting to discuss…