17 Jul 2013 Why software piracy happens and why your business is at risk

It’s unlikely you would walk into a shop and pick up an item from the shelf and walk out the door without paying, right?

In fact, we would hazard a guess that 99% of people using illegal software in their business (whether they know or not) would not dream of picking up a copy of Office and strolling nonchalantly past the checkout.

The problem is a download of the latest word processing suite or design tool doesn’t feel like stealing. Digital theft is one-step removed and that makes it much more palatable. But let’s put the dubious ethics to one side for a moment.

What risk are you exposing your business to when using illegal software?

Malware and viruses – Common in illegal software these computer nasties come in all shapes and sizes and can cause all manner of problems. We have seen how a cheeky download to save a few quid ends up causing complete system meltdowns.

Disappearing data – The information you have in your business is important to your success. Your databases, email archives, customer information, intellectual property, spreadsheets, images and records of all sorts can go up in flames.

No manufacturer support  – While you might think “so what”, in today’s world manufacturer support is important. Software is now updated regularly with new features and security updates. With pirate copies you miss out on product improvements and security patches, while simultaneously leaving your business vulnerable.

No technical support – Illegal software can suddenly stop working, leaving you without the tools you need to do business. You then have the cost and hassle of getting new software installed on your systems. With legal copies of programmes you’re just a phone call away from help.

You can be personally liable – Did you know that company directors could be personally liable for fines when caught for copyright infringements? That means cold hard cash out of your own pocket. And in serious cases you can be taking a trip at her Majesty’s pleasure (we’re not kidding).

But it won’t happen to me, you say? Well, we’re a local Essex IT business and we’ve seen all these things happen.

How to make sure your business is safe

Confidential advice – We know a lot of illegal software is being used without the users knowledge. So if you think you might be running some dubious software (or just want to make sure you’re not) we will provide a confidential advisory service to check your status and, if required, help you get legal.

Get legal the low cost way – Making sure your business has the correct licenses for the software you use does not have to be expensive. There are many cost-effective options available that we would be happy to discuss with you.

Ensure you go legal on your terms with a quick call to Offsite IT today.