UK organisations are having to take more stringent measures in a bid to prevent employees from downloading illegal software at work and abusing corporate software licensing agreements.
This threat has grown dramatically due to the fact that 55% of organisations now provide employees with desktop Internet access, according to a survey by the UK non-profit organisation Federation Against Software Theft (FAST). In a bid to counter that threat, four-fifths of the organisations surveyed by FAST now claim to monitor employee Internet access. Three-quarters said they use automated monitoring tools to carry out that task, 15% more than in 2001.
According to FAST, there are two main ways employees get hold of pirated software. First, they often download illegal software when working from home. Second, employees surfing for recreational purposes during company time often accidentally download software that they are not authorised to.
When an employee is found to be using software illegally, points out FAST, it is company directors who are held liable and who may face legal penalties. Despite this, 40% of respondents to the survey said they do not have a software management policy to ensure IT compliance. In addition, more than two-thirds spend less than five man days each month on software management.