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- According to the 2008 FAST Membership Survey, 20 percent of FAST members have been subject to an audit or inspection by a software publisher or other body in the past 12 months

Maidenhead, UK, 20th August 2008: FAST Corporate Services Ltd, the Membership organisation providing education, training and consulting programmes around IT compliance for all UK businesses, announced today that organisations are facing increasing audits, with 20 percent of FAST members reporting that they had been audited by a software publisher or other body in the past 12 months alone. According to this year’s FAST Annual Membership Survey carried out in May, 18 percent of respondents have been approached by Microsoft and 34 percent of those were assessed by more than one publisher.

With license compliance remaining high on the corporate agenda, the legal implications of not being IT compliant was cited as the top driver for joining the FAST Membership programme for 30 percent of respondents. The requirement to get software licensing in order was second (22 percent) followed by a desire to send out a strong message to employees that IT compliance is a serious matter (19 percent).

“Today there continues to be considerable risk associated with non-compliance,” said Phil Heap, Head of Membership Products and Services, FAST Ltd. “While Microsoft has always been active in licence audits, our recent membership survey also found that audits from Adobe are on the increase and Symantec have also started performing audits in the last 12 months”.

“However the threat of hefty fines or embarrassment from a corporate reputation perspective shouldn’t be the sole driver for compliance. Research shows that 41 percent of businesses are in fact currently over-licensed which means there are significant cost savings to be gained from accurately understanding and managing your licensing position. FAST is here to raise awareness and help organisations become more proactive in their licence management and compliance.”

According to the survey 29 percent of members are focused on software compliance but its not the only priority, another key concern is Data Protection (23%). Additional standards that FAST members are addressing include Sarbanes Oxley (8%), ISO 19770-1 (6%), ISO 27001 (6%) and ISO 20000 (5%).

Members overwhelmingly find value in FAST membership
FAST assists over 8,000 UK organisations with their compliance issues and, according to the 2008 survey, 87 percent of current members would recommend joining FAST to their industry peers.

FAST is helping its members achieve compliance more smoothly and has made significant improvements to the FAST programme over the past year to make compliance easier. According to the 2008 survey, only 28 percent said they are finding the process of achieving software compliance difficult or very difficult compared to 44 percent in 2007.

This can be attributed to two key improvements to the FAST programme:-

• In 2007 FAST introduced new stages – Gold 1 and Gold 2 – allowing members to focus first on auditing and reconciling high risk software applications before addressing the rest of their applications.

• FAST also introduced its new high level review - GAP Analysis – which identifies any vulnerabilities and areas of unmanaged risk within a business as well as recommending solutions based on individual company requirements. GAP Analysis reviews can be taken independently using an online self-assessment tool or with the help of a FAST Corporate Advisor who spends time onsite examining key areas from a risk perspective. According to the survey, 82 percent of respondents cited the GAP analysis tool as being beneficial.

Challenges to Compliance

According to the survey, key challenges that companies face in achieving compliance are lack of resources, compliance ranking low on their list of priorities, issues with auditing software and getting senior management buy-in.

“Audits are very disruptive and the ramifications if an organisation isn’t licence compliant can be significant,” concludes Heap. “Unfortunately many organisations still fail to prioritise software asset management preferring to ‘take the risk’ rather than manage their licence positions properly. Senior management must take heed and prioritise compliance as a necessary business process.”

For more information about the FAST programme please visit FAST Corporate Services’ website: www.fastcorporateservices.com

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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

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