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Software License Compliance Checks and Audits

November 3, 2014
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Microsoft uses third-party audit firms for software license compliance checks, called Software Asset Management (SAM) baselines, and for formal legal audits. Audit firms look at a snapshot of an organization's licensing status, comparing the licenses and rights the organization holds against its use of the software, and report their findings to Microsoft. The specific financial implications of license compliance problems discovered in the process are typically resolved in subsequent direct conversations between the customer and Microsoft.

Audit firms vary in the types and sophistication of auditing tools and procedures used, depth of scrutiny, and interpretation of rules. Consequently, a customer's experiences may vary depending on the firm conducting the audit.

The last phase of a compliance check is supposed to provide customers with the opportunity to study the audit firm's practices and confirm that measurements accurately reflect their IT environment.