Observing Compliance and Audit in Your Microsoft Enterprise Agreement
The number of compliance regulations and laws organizations must stay compliant with can be overwhelming when it comes to Microsoft EA contracts because there are a lot. Moreover, ignoring compliance regulations and refusing an audit will mean opening your organization up to a legal tussle.
Audit and compliance are vital to the smooth running of any business if only observed accordingly. It’s important to evaluate internal controls and review policies regularly to reduce or avoid the risk of non-compliance.
Let’s discuss why compliance and audit are critical for the welfare of your organization and Microsoft to foster a good working environment.
In het kort
Microsoft Audit, procedures and outcome
A Microsoft Audit is a process that verifies a company’s software and technology usage and ensures compliance with Microsoft’s licensing agreements. The audit requires businesses to provide licensing documentation, inventory information, and perform on-site reviews of software usage. The result is an audit report that details any non-compliance issues and opportunities to correct them. An audit can be time-consuming and takes resources to complete, but it’s essential to follow through with an audit to avoid penalties and fines.
Due to the time-consuming nature of an audit, you can solicit the assistance of an expert to do that on your behalf. This expert will need maximum cooperation from you to retrieve the right information and perhaps represent you at Microsoft engagements if you so wish.
Audit is a mandatory procedure provided you have signed up for an EA Agreement. Microsoft has the right to ask for an Audit whenever they suspect the likelihood of non-compliance and remember that you may likely be sold more products and services after. Getting assistance from an independent expert will help you stay afloat.
Processes to remedy a failed Audit
If your organization fails an audit, Microsoft will notify you of the findings and give you time to bring your organization to a compliant status. Microsoft may require the organization to undergo a license review or purchase additional licenses to become compliant. This can involve acquiring proper licensing for any unlicensed software or upgrading existing licenses to the appropriate level. If non-compliance continues to be an issue, Microsoft could revoke licensing agreements, resulting in significant costs or even legal proceedings.
The ultimate effect will be reputational damage which can have negative implications for your organization’s dealings with the general reputation. It may signal to customers, partners, or stakeholders that your organization does not prioritize proper licensing or compliance, potentially damaging trust and business relationships.
Therefore, it’s crucial to make sure all licensing documentation and software inventory data is accurate and up-to-date.
Checklist for compliance before, during, and after deployments
To ensure compliance, it’s crucial to perform a compliance check before, during, and after deployment of licenses. Before deployment, make sure:
- You perform a comprehensive license inventory of your organization’s software licenses, including Microsoft products covered under the EA. Ensure that you have accurate records of the licenses owned and their allocation to specific devices or users.
- Understand the licensing rules and entitlements associated with your Microsoft EA. Familiarize yourself with any usage limitations, license stacking options, and specific terms and conditions relevant to your organization.
During the use of your licenses Microsoft Products also observe that:
- You are tracking the deployment of Microsoft products across your organization accurately. Maintain records of installations, activations, and updates, and reconcile them with the licenses allocated.
- You implement appropriate access controls to ensure that only licensed users can access and use Microsoft software covered by the EA. Monitor and manage user accounts to prevent unauthorized use.
After deployments of your licensed products and work across your organization is on-going:
- Conduct regular periodic audits to verify compliance with your Microsoft EA. Compare your license inventory, allocation, and deployment records to identify any discrepancies or potential compliance issues.
- Keep thorough documentation of all license agreements, deployment records, compliance reports, and any correspondence with Microsoft. This documentation can support your compliance efforts during audits.
SAM Tool – helping prepare for an audit and compliance
SAM (Software Asset Management) tool plays a major significant role in auditing for compliance and reducing the risk of non-compliance. SAM helps organizations manage their software inventory and ensure that the right licenses are in place. SAM also reduces costs by eliminating the need for excessive licenses or identifying unused software and reallocating licenses. SAM ensures the organization is always audit-ready by keeping the inventory up-to-date and tracking software usage.
Also, with the right knowledge and know-how, you can embark on risk-mitigation with a very good SAM tool. SAM helps mitigate financial and legal risks associated with non-compliance. By accurately managing software licenses and maintaining compliance, your organization can avoid penalties, fines, and legal issues that may arise from unauthorized software usage.
Putting internal controls in place to stay compliant
Internal controls are essential to help maintain compliance within your organization. Some measures to take include reviewing policies and procedures regularly to ensure they align with regulatory compliance, maintaining an accurate inventory of all hardware and software, and tracking all software usage to ensure compliance with licensing agreements. Additionally, set up role-based access controls to ensure data access is limited, restrict data access to only authorized users, and monitor user accounts and data access regularly.
Compliance and audit are vital components to your Microsoft license use. Your inability to manage these two components in your agreement will have dire financial effects on your activities.
Do not put up any excuse as one day you may be caught being non-compliant but rather be pro-active. Our team of experts can assist you to adopt our SAM Tool to help manage your software inventory, reduce costs and creditability by keeping you audit-ready. With our years of leading good compliance practice procedures with various organizations, we will ensure the smooth running of your organization and give you peace of mind.
Talk to the team today!