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…

201909.18
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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…

201909.12
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Which is Better: Microsoft SPLA or 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 Enterprise Agreement or other volume-licensing agreement….

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…

201906.27
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Consult with Counsel for SPLA Audits

Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement (“SPLA”) is a popular licensing framework for businesses delivering hosted or rented software solutions to their customers. However, as with many software license agreements pertaining to resale or other business channel partnership programs, the SPLA typically includes audit rights language giving Microsoft the ability to review a SPLA partner’s records…

201906.25
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Microsoft SPLA Self-Assessment – What It Is, and How to Respond

Many of our clients contact us regarding notices they received from Microsoft requesting an internal self-assessment of their license positions under their Services Provider License Agreements (SPLAs). Naturally, many of those clients have questions about that process and the ramifications of cooperating with Microsoft. For those who may be unaware, SPLA is the principal licensing…

201904.29
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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…

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…

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…