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- Vendor software audits are set to increase in 2008

Maidenhead, UK, 19th March 2008: FAST Corporate Services Ltd, the Membership organisation providing education, training and consulting programmes around IT compliance to UK businesses, both large and small, announced today growing interest in its services being driven, in the main, by pressing concerns over the need to become compliant. In the last year alone, a growing number of companies signed up to become Members of the FAST Programme, joining over 8,000 organisations, who have been helped by FAST and are now well on the road to compliance.

FAST Ltd runs annual research with its membership and results from the most recent 2007 Survey highlighted increased activity around software compliance. Although, software compliance is not a new issue, the survey demonstrated that the pace of activity was hotting up. Penalties are becoming more serious with potential imprisonment rather than just a slapped wrist. This, along with government stepping up activities with Trading Standards to have more foot soldiers policing the industry, is encouraging more companies to make compliance a business imperative.

When asked why they had become a Member of the FAST Programme, nearly two thirds of the respondents stated that they were concerned that their organisation needed to put in place the correct policies and procedures to control their IT environment. 21 percent of companies surveyed wanted to send out a strong message to employees that IT compliance is a serious matter and others highlighted the need to be able to demonstrate an accurate ALP (Actual Licence Position) to any software publisher that requests such information.

According to Gerard Tilley, Managing Director for FAST Corporate Services Ltd: “If you want to ensure that the liability for software misuse remains with the employee, the business must define its disciplinary process and be very clear that any individual found to be breaking the rules is reprimanded.”

The survey also highlighted that a quarter of the organisations have been subject to an audit from a software publisher in the past 12 months, demonstrating that software vendors are also stepping up activities in this area. In the current economic climate and uncertain financial outlook this is likely to increase and was another factor driving companies to look at doing something sooner rather than later.

When asked what their highest compliance priority was, software compliance came out top, with 34 per cent emphasising not only the importance of software compliance to the business, but a general heightened awareness within the organisation.

Gerard Tilley continues: “Too often, companies take inadequate licensing as a given, and fail to prioritise good software asset management as a necessary business process. In doing so, they fail to realise that being under licensed can potentially cost them money, in terms of fines and settlements from software publishers, and ultimately affect their company’s reputation. All organisations should view the lack of control of software assets as a risk to their business especially if they cannot quickly and easily demonstrate the ‘right to use’ for all software they have installed.

The recent new Member signings are encouraging as it clearly sends out a message that businesses are waking up to the stark realities of the damage of non-compliance – not just from a fines and reputation perspective but companies are also looking at cost efficiencies and productivity. For example we know that 41% of businesses are wasting money unnecessarily by over-licensing their software.”

Most encouragingly for FAST, 88 percent of its Members stated that they would recommend FAST to other organisations because of the positive results they have achieved since joining the programme. This demonstrates the value that Members derive from this initiative.

Additional research was also conducted among companies that FAST Ltd visited in 2008 who decided not to take up Membership and FAST is pleased to acknowledge that it is having an impact on licence enforcement among almost half of these organisations as well.

The general view from these companies was:

- There is greater awareness of the need for licence compliance
- Fewer people are prepared to risk licence infringement
- Licensing is becoming increasingly complex

Sarah Wootton, Head of Membership Acquisition for FAST Corporate Services Ltd adds: “Organisations that join our programme benefit from the independent advice we offer to help them with their licensing challenges including virtualisation which is particularly topical at the moment. But it’s not just about who we sign up to become Members, we believe our role is to educate businesses and raise general awareness of the risk associated with not being software and IT compliant. For example 60 percent of organisations that haven’t joined our membership programme have taken alternative action to address their Software and IT compliance needs as a result of the meeting they had with us, which we view very positively.”

The FAST programme has four key accreditation stages: Bronze, Silver Gold and Platinum. Of the current 2,700 members, 49 of these have achieved the Platinum Award – which means that these companies have maintained their software compliance position and registration to the FAST Standard for at least 3 years.

Law firm Sills and Betteridge achieved the Platinum Award accreditation in March 2007, following 3 consecutive years of registration to the Standard – making them one of only 3 UK law firms to have achieved this accolade. Paul Cowen, IT and Facilities Manager comments “The controls we now have in place since joining the FAST programme mean that we know that everyone is complying with the law. It’s given us peace of mind. The support we’ve had from FAST at every stage of the project has been invaluable. FAST Advisors are always available on the end of the phone and for meetings to help and when we contact them we get a response to our query very quickly.”

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Notes to editors:

About FAST Corporate Services:

FAST Corporate Services Limited, part of IRIS, is a membership organisation that provides an education, training and consulting programme to the corporate end user, using proven tools and methodologies. The FAST programme focuses on helping organisations achieve ‘best practice’ in IT and software compliance. The business supports its 2,700 members to reach and maintain The FAST Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC–1:2007), a private Standard which was developed in collaboration with BSi. The FAST Standard also addresses a significant proportion of the requirements of ISO/IEC 19770-1 the International Standard for Software Asset Management. The Federation Against Software Theft (The Federation), which aims to combat software piracy, endorses it.

The Federation, which is a not for profit organisation limited by guarantee is owned and funded by its members – software publishers, solicitors, IT resellers etc. FAST Corporate Services Ltd has a mandate from The Federation to promote the legal use of software and educate corporate UK on the issue of software compliance.

For further information:

Paula Elliott
C8 Consulting Ltd for FAST Corporate Services Ltd
+ 44 (0) 118 9001132
paula@c8consulting.co.uk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of C8 Consulting in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.