When to Buy vs. Uninstall in SIIA Audits

One of the most common mistakes I encounter in SIIA audits is what I call the post-effective date software buying spree. The buying spree occurs in response to a letter from the SIIA’s attorneys requesting a self audit. Many clients are discouraged to learn that software purchases made after the date of the SIIA’s initial letter have no impact in a SIIA audit matter. For this reason, I advise my clients against scrambling to acquire software in response to a SIIA audit.

The first thing a target of SIIA audit needs to do is preserve the evidence of SIIA member software products installed on the company’s computers as of the audit effective date. Second, the software installed needs to be reconciled against proof of purchase information to determine whether there is gap between licenses owned and software installed. Third, a decision needs to be made regarding whether to purchase or uninstall any unlicensed software. The SIIA audits only those products installed as of the audit effective date, and accepts only proofs of purchase dated on or before that date.

I advise my clients that regardless of what was installed on the audit effective date, they only need to purchase software licenses for products that they need to use going forward. Although it will not resolve past liability, companies may choose to uninstall unlicensed SIIA member products at the conclusion of the audit matter, rather than purchase unnecessary software simply because it was installed on the effective date. At the conclusion of a SIIA matter, the target must certify that it has come into compliance through the combination of buying and\or uninstalling.

Scott & Scott, LLP is not affiliated in any way with the SIIA.