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Pay now, save later with licensed software

March 29, 2023
Read Time 3 mins

By Tarsus Distribution

The introduction of the internet meant that finding practically everything became child’s play. Information, movies, music – everything was suddenly easily available. This is why it has become relatively common to find organisations opting to use unlicensed software.

In some instances, the use of unlicensed software is due to an immediate need, but in others, it is in bad faith, aimed at avoiding paying fees that legitimate vendors charge for their products.

Covered in this article:

Landing in hot water
Not a viable alternative
So, what are the risks of using unlicensed software?
Pay now, save later
Beyond ethics and security
Bringing a trusted partner on board

Landing in hot water

Either way and irrespective of the purpose, using pirated software is a crime and can have serious consequences for individuals and companies alike. In fact, as far back as 2016, South African companies coughed up over R3.64 million for being caught using unlicensed software.

This was revealed by the BSA | The Software Alliance, a leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace, that was created to advance the goals of the software industry and its hardware partners.

Included in this figure were settlements of R1.66 million and the cost of acquiring new software to become compliant R1.98 million. That year, the BSA received 230 reports in South Africa claiming that unlicensed software products of BSA member companies were being used.

Not a viable alternative

Using unlicensed software should never be a viable alternative for any type of organisation, no matter their size, or the industry they operate in.

Not only are organisations that go down that path subject to fines for non-compliance with legal obligations as mentioned above, but they could also end up dealing with software instability, and data loss due to malware that results from backdoors that are sometimes built into the installers of these applications.

So, what are the risks of using unlicensed software?

Fines and non-compliance with legal regulations: The use of illegal software violates some laws and can cause legal sanctions against companies and individuals.

Instability and degradation of performance: If your business employs unlicensed software, it has probably seen a degree of unexpected failure or improper application functioning. Illegal software is often tweaked to prevent updates or authenticity checks from the installed version, and these can have a dramatic impact on performance.

Security vulnerabilities: The majority of unlicensed software has severe limitations when it comes to updates, which poses a major risk for users and companies. A large number of breaches happen as a direct result of software vulnerabilities, which are rife in unlicensed solutions.

Built-in traps: Unlicensed software and applications, that often appear harmless, are used by threat actors as bait to lure users into downloading malicious software. The compromise of devices, as a result of malicious applications, can cause serious issues and lead to data compromise and loss.

These include:

  • Loss of sensitive data such as passwords, banking credentials, and customer information
  • Identity theft from malicious links sent to third parties such as customers and partners
  • Business disruption and productivity loss due to systems taken down due to ransomware attacks

Pay now, save later

Common sense dictates that by paying now, companies can save later. In fact, IDC white paper, sponsored by Microsoft, called “Pay Now and Save Later: The Argument for Only Buying a PC with an Authentic Version of Windows Pro”, revealed that a whopping $663 US dollars was the average cost over the life of a machine without the intended OS, compared to less than 100 US dollars with the OS.

Moreover, the research shone the spotlight on how more than two-thirds (68%) of shell computers are shipped with a non-licensed version of Windows Pro, and $4B US dollars is the estimated cost of handling malware on shell PCs.

On the other hand, selecting legitimate software from Microsoft, provides businesses with the security, support, and updates that customers need today, in order to grow efficiently and securely.

Beyond ethics and security

The reasons for buying and using licensed and legal software instead of pirated, counterfeit, illegitimate, or unlicensed tools, go far beyond simply ethics, integrity, and security. Purchasing the real deal makes good business sense too, for several reasons:

  • With licensed software, businesses benefit from technical help, ensuring reliable support when it is needed.
  • In addition, licensed software comes with complete instructions, warranties, and documentation, leaving the user in no doubt about what their usage rights are.
  • Businesses have access to updates, upgrades, and security patches, that keep them safe and secure.
  • Improved support and CX include a customer knowledge base and a ticket system whereby issues can be tracked and resolved, ensuring that the customer experience is a positive one, from beginning to end.
  • Software piracy has a negative impact on the economy by way of loss of jobs, taxes, research and development, and innovation.
  • Going the legal route speaks volumes about the company’s reputation and governance, and inspires confidence in all stakeholders.
  • Relationships with IT partners and vendors improve through mutual trust.
  • Genuine tools lead to a higher level of IT maturity in the business, making it more competitive in the marketplace.

Bringing a trusted partner on board

When choosing licensed software that will work for your company, seek the advice of a partner who is intimately familiar with the industry and the solutions themselves. As your trusted advisor, Tarsus Distribution is here to support your business. With the rise of cyber threats, in both frequency and sophistication, we wanted to take this opportunity to impress upon you the value of selling only genuine software, which will save your customers a whopping ten times the cost of dealing with malware and help them move forward with confidence.

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