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A/NZ consumers using less unlicensed software - but those who do are at risk of a breach

By Sara Barker
Wed 6 Jun 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Consumers across Australia and New Zealand are using fewer instances of unlicensed software, but those who do are directly putting themselves in the firing line of malware and other cyber attacks.

BSA | The Software Alliance released the results of its 2018 Global Software Survey, which analysed 23,000 responses from consumers, employees and CIOs. It also included the volume and value of unlicensed software on computers across 110 countries.

In New Zealand, 16% of software installed on computers was not properly licensed. The average commercial value of unlicensed software was $62.

In Australia 18% of installed software was not properly licensed – The average commercial value of unlicensed software was $540.

 In both countries, there was a 2% drop in unlicensed software installation since the last 2016 study.

Usage rates in Australia and New Zealand have been influenced by a number of trends.

In New Zealand, the "consumer effect" helped drive an already low unlicensed rate down even further. What also helped bring the rate down was the growth of software subscription services and a decline in the self-built PC market.

In Australia, the drop of consumer share of shipments and use of cloud in the enterprises also aided in lowering the unlicensed rate.

Across the entire Asia Pacific region, 57% of its currently-used software is unlicensed. The region’s unlicensed software has a staggering commercial value of $16.4 billion — far beyond any other region in the world and representing more than one-third of global commercial value of unlicensed software.

Within the region, $6.8 billion worth of the unlicensed commercial value comes from China alone.

Globally, businesses are using software to improve the way they do business, increase profits, reach new markets, and gain competitive advantages, BSA says.

However CIOs are aware of the risks that come with unlicensed software. Malware from unlicensed software costs companies worldwide nearly $359 billion a year.

CIOs report that avoiding data hacks and other security threats from malware is the number one reason for ensuring their networks are fully licensed.

“Organisations around the world are missing out on the economic and security benefits that well-managed software provides,” comments BSA | The Software Alliance president and CEO Victoria Espinel.

“Businesses should establish software asset management (SAM) programs to evaluate and manage the software on their networks.  This, in turn, helps organisations reduce the risk of debilitating cyberattacks and helps grow their revenues.” 

 More key findings:

  • Use of unlicensed software, while down slightly, is still widespread. Unlicensed software is still used around the globe at alarming rates, accounting for 37 percent of software installed on personal computers – only a 2 percent drop from 2016.
  • Improving software compliance is now an economic enabler in addition to a security imperative. When companies take pragmatic steps to enhance their software management, they can increase profits by as much as 11 percent. 
  • Organisations can take meaningful steps today to improve software management. Studies show that organisations can achieve as much as 30 percent savings in annual software costs by implementing a robust SAM and software license optimisation programs.
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