The best way to handle software audits is to be ahead of the game: be prepared and it will make the process as smooth as possible. Even if you do not get audited, it is a good business practice to have.
The biggest complaint from businesses that are audited, is the amount of time that they take. From initial audit request to achieving compliance, audits can take 3-4 months, even longer depending on the size of the organization. When you’re running around trying to find invoices, contacting vendors, coming up with numbers etc, you are losing productivity and for some organizations, that is an even bigger hit than the licensing or non-compliance fees. If you are prepared for an audit though, you are going to reduce the productivity and monetary loss.
If the software company finds you non-compliant, or finds that there are disparities in the software running on the network, and the number of licenses, there are two ways they can handle it. If the disparities are small enough, they will give you a time-frame in which you have to become compliant. They will give you a list of steps you need to take and you’ll have to make some licensing purchases to get back into compliance. If the audit was egregious enough, the software company can slap you with a fine plus you will still need to take the necessary steps to become compliant. We have seen fines into the “Millions” for disparities in software and licensing.
Moral of the story? You want to make sure you are in compliance with all your software when, not if, you are audited. The results of an audit could have a devastating impact on your business if you are not prepared.