Many small businesses do not have an IT expert at their disposal and must manage their own software and IT challenges. For this reason, educating small business owners on installing genuine, properly licensed software is critical to the smooth operation of a successful business.

Larger corporations

and organizations have access to either a permanent full-time IT department or an IT consultant for trouble-shooting, installation of software and overall management of all IT needs, including licensing.

However, this is a luxury that many small or home office businesses can’t afford. Clients who run small businesses out of their homes, for instance, may not have an IT plan that takes into account licensing needs, trouble-shooting when there’s a problem (e.g. a virus) and software upgrades. This decreases your customer’s operating efficiency.

In some cases, your customer could be unknowingly running unlicensed copies of software – software that had been licensed to other users and installed hundreds of times over. By educating your clients on best practices for running a compliant technology environment, they will understand how software affects their performance and ultimately how they gain a competitive advantage over those who are not compliant.

You can do your part too in helping protect your customer from receiving unlicensed software! Ensuring the sale and distribution of genuine, licensed software also protects the integrity and reputation of honest resellers and distributors, and ensures innocent customers are protected from receiving fraudulent product. The ultimate goal of reducing software piracy is to ensure the protection of intellectual property which in turn affects the health of Canada’s IT sector and the development of future IT jobs.

Legitimate, properly licensed software ensures reliability, productivity and peace-of-mind because it is risk-free. With genuine software, a business or individual has a fully functional product, with security and support. When using unlicensed software, your client cannot receive technical support from the software publisher, which can prevent work from being completed. They also cannot take advantage of product upgrades, which are usually much less expensive than acquiring a new version of the software.

By establishing a software asset management (SAM) program, you can help your customer:

  • Manage technological change — identify software needs
  • Work more efficiently — eliminate duplicate and older versions that may lead to communication problems
  • Justify investments — track and identify the value of software to a company
  • Limit risk — help reduce risks as a result of security breaches and inability to download the latest security patches

For more information, please visit www.microsft.ca/sam/.

Diana Piquette is manager of Microsoft Canada’s License Compliance program. She is responsible for the Channel and Customer marketing campaigns for Intellectual Property and under her direction she has created a number of innovative approaches, campaigns, and tools in order to help customers and the channel with Software Asset Management (SAM).

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