Fear of data hacks leads to drop in use of unlicenced software

18 July 2018

Twenty one per cent of software installed on computers in the UK in 2017 was not properly licenced, according to the 2018 Global Software Survey from BSA: The Software Alliance.

This represents a one-percentage point decrease compared to the organisation’s previous study that was released in 2016.

The study reveals that the commercial value of unlicenced software installed in the UK was £1.05bn.

This is the third highest value in Western Europe after France (£1.4bn) and Germany (£1.2bn), and 15 percent of the total value in Western Europe.

The alliance believes this rate of use has been partly influenced by significant trends such as an increased uptake in software asset management (SAM) programmes, adoption of subscription models, and growing awareness of the cyber security risks linked to the use of unlicenced software.

Globally, 54 per cent of CIOs cited cyber security risks as the number one reason to avoid unlicenced software, while 46 per cent said loss of corporate/personal data was their top concern about malware effects from unlicenced software.

As a result, the BSA says the number of CIOs who have a formal written policy about the use of licenced software has jumped dramatically from 41 per cent in 2015 to 54 per cent this year.

While the use of unlicenced software around the world is down slightly, it is still widespread. The alliance found that it is still used globally at “alarming” rates, accounting for 37 per cent of software installed on personal computers. That compares to 39 per cent in 2016.

According to the BSA, studies show that organisations can achieve as much as 30 per cent savings in annual software costs by implementing a robust SAM and software licence optimisation programme.

The alliance’s president and CEO Victoria Espinel says: “Organisations around the world are missing out on the economic and security benefits that well-managed software provides.

Businesses should establish SAM programmes to evaluate and manage the software on their networks.

This, in turn, helps organisations reduce the risk of debilitating cyberattacks and helps grow their revenues.”