UK SMEs lose £900,000 in 2016 due to unlicensed software

A new report from The Software Alliance has stated that UK SMEs caught using unlicensed software in 2016 lost over £900,000 in damages, fees and the purchase of licensed software. Each business that was penalised ended up paying about £81,000, which is a substantial amount for small and medium enterprises.

There appears to be an increase in the number of SMEs using unlicensed software, as in 2015, the overall penalty for small and medium-sized businesses was £770,192, which is 19 per cent less than what they paid in 2016.

According to The Software Alliance, sales and distribution businesses were the worst offenders, followed by businesses in the fields of engineering, architecture and design and manufacturing.

Sarah Coombes, EMEA Managing Director for The Software Alliance, said that it is worrying that small businesses are still attracted to unlicensed software, which is costing them a loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds annually.

Ms Coombes mentioned that even though the use of unlicensed software in the UK is falling, there are still many businesses that are flouting copyright laws and paying a lot of money in terms of damages, fees and switching to licensed software. She asked SMEs to ensure that they follow strict software asset management practices, as this can benefit them significantly.

Large technology companies such as Apple, IBM, Symantec, Microsoft, Intel and Adobe are members of The Software Alliance in Europe. The organisation asks people to report any business using unlicensed software so that it can take action against the offending business for its members.

The report also shows that licensed software adds a whopping £710 billion to the EU’s economy and also provides jobs to nearly 11.6 million professionals in the European Union.

SMEs depending on third-party IT providers and IT support services should ensure that they invest in legitimate software so that they do not take a financial hit.

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