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Performing the "Machine Inventory"

Fortunately, there are many software tools available to help system and network administrators take inventory of what's installed on company desktops and servers. This section lists a plethora of such options, including a free tool available from the BSA itself. The BSA GASP Audit Tool is the property of Attest Systems, Inc., and is only valid for use on 10-100 computers; it also expires 60 days after installation; Attest does offer a fully commercial implementation that is listed separately.

Be the inventory manual or automated, the essence of this part of the effort is to identify all software components and operating systems installed for each computer in an organization. Lists for individual computers must be aggregated, and counts compiled for all software components and operating systems in use. These must then be compared to the number of licenses purchased (and records for such purchase must also be readily available to prove compliance should a formal audit occur). Compliance is only guaranteed when for every unique software component and operating system, the number of licenses purchased and up-to-date meets or exceeds the number in use.

Even small companies like ours, with less than 20 computers altogether, find automated tools like those listed as follows to be quite helpful in completing this stage of the license compliance audit. Bigger companies won't be able to cope without some kind of automated system to help out!

Although you can use any of these tools to help manage the inventory portion of your license compliance audit, the GASP6 product from Attest has earned the BSA's seal of approval, as well as approvals from other similar organizations, including:

  • SIIA: Software Industry Information Association, another US-based anti-piracy and license compliance group.

  • CAAST: Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft, the Canadian version of SIIA or BSA.

  • FAST: The Federation Against Software Theft, a British organization similar to the others mentioned here.

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