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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 1, 2014
Business & Economy
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Unlicensed Software Still a Threat
August 1, 2014   
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More than half of the software installed in Poland is unlicensed, according to the latest BSA Global Software Survey.

Experts say that security threats from malware, intrusions by hackers and loss of data are among the reasons not to use unlicensed software. Yet 51 percent of the software installed on personal computers in Poland in 2013 was unlicensed, according to the BSA Global Software Survey.

The survey is conducted every other year for the Software Alliance (BSA), a software industry advocate, by the IDC company, which this year polled computer users in 34 markets, including nearly 22,000 consumers and business PC users and more than 2,000 IT managers.

“Regarding the results of the survey, the decreased use of unlicensed software in Poland by two percentage points from the previous survey of 2012 (for 2011) means that the positive trend we have seen in the last decade is still at work,” said BSA Poland coordinator Bartłomiej Witucki. “However, given that more than half of the software installed on personal computers in Poland is still unlicensed software, much remains to be done in this area.” The total value of the unlicensed software in use in Poland last year was estimated at nearly zl.1.7 billion.

According to Witucki, those responsible for IT resources in a firm are often convinced that the software installed in their company is fully licensed. In practice it turns out that they do not know exactly what kind of software is installed, in what quantities, and who is using it and for what purpose, Witucki said. “Effective programs for managing software, which are a key asset for every company, are of fundamental importance in business. They guarantee optimized use of software, help reduce costs, increase the company’s efficiency, and increase its legal and IT security,” Witucki said. Research shows that only 42 percent of companies in Poland have rules in writing that obligate employees to use properly licensed software.

BSA chief executive Victoria Espinel said unlicensed software use is an organizational governance issue and that the study showed there is a clear need for improvement. “There are basic steps any company can take to ensure it is fully compliant, like establishing a formal policy on licensed software use and maintaining careful records,” Espinel said. She added that companies should also consider implementing more robust software asset management programs that follow internationally accepted guidelines.

The global use of unlicensed software installed on personal computers increased from 42 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2013, the survey found. This is largely because most personal computers in use worldwide are in developing countries, where the use of unlicensed software is especially widespread. In 2013, the value of unlicensed software worldwide amounted to $62.7 billion. The Asia and Pacific region had the highest percentage of unlicensed software in 2013, at 62 percent. The value of unlicensed software in that region reaches $21 billion. Central and Eastern Europe has the second-highest rate of unlicensed software use, at 61 percent.
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