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License software audit

A software audit is an independent comparison of the list of software that is installed on an organization's computers against the licenses to use the software that the organization owns. The aim of the audit is to verify that only software for which the organisation holds a licence is installed on all computers in the organisation, i.e. that only legally acquired software is installed.

The purchase of a license means the purchase of software. The term software purchase is understandable and commonly used, but is not entirely accurate because the customer is not buying software, but only a licence to use the software. A tax document (invoice) or a written licence agreement is usually used as a document for the purchase of a licence. The licence purchase document must clearly identify the buyer and the seller, the name of the software and the scope and type of the licence. Most vendors issue general license terms that specify the types of licenses and the scope of the buyer's rights. It is then appropriate to use these license terms as the license purchase document, along with an invoice for the purchase, which must include the product name and license type.

The list of valid licenses changes over time in any organization. On the one hand, new licenses are purchased, on the other hand, old licenses expire. Similarly, new programs are installed on computers and old ones are uninstalled. For this reason, a software audit is carried out at a certain date and needs to be repeated periodically to fulfil its audit function. Normally, audits are carried out once or twice a year.

The process of conducting a software audit looks like this:

  1. Make software detections from all computers on the network.
  2. Finding documents of purchased software licenses and recording them in the license registry.
  3. Compare lists of installed and purchased software.

The following sections describe each step in detail.


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