BSA survey finds Asia Pacific tops global use of unlicensed software at 61%

Despite costly cybersecurity threats, a recent BSA survey has found that computer users around the world continue to use unlicensed software. The 2016 global survey “Seizing Opportunity Through License Compliance” found that 39% of software installed on computers around the world over 2015 was not properly licensed.

Although this still represented a drop over 2015’s 43%, given the increasing rise of cybersecurity threats, in particular in some high risk industries, the rampant use of unlicensed software is a bright red warning sign. For the banking, insurance and securities industries, unlicensed software usage rate was at a shocking 25%.

“As the report underscores, it is critically important for a company to be aware of what software is on the company network,” said BSA |The Software Alliance President and CEO Victoria A. Espinel. “Many CIOs don’t know the full extent of software deployed on their systems or if that software is legitimate.”

The survey, which canvassed consumers, IT managers and enterprise PC users, reinforces that use of unlicensed software is still high, and that individuals and companies are playing with fire when they use unlicensed software. This is due to the strong connection between cyberattacks and the use of unlicensed software.

Where unlicensed software is in use, the likelihood of encountering malware dramatically goes up. And the cost of dealing with malware incidents can be staggering. In 2015 alone, for example, cyberattacks cost businesses over $400 billion.

The BSA report adds that companies can mitigate cybersecurity risks associated with unlicensed software by purchasing it from legitimate sources, and establishing software asset management (SAM) programs. Organizations that effectively deploy SAM will know what’s on their network, and whether it is legitimate and licensed; will optimize their use of software by deploying software that’s the best fit for their businesses; will have policies and procedures in place that govern procurement, deployment, and retirement of software; and will have integrated SAM fully into their business.

By proactively combining effective SAM practices with increased employee education, companies can make themselves safer, more cost-effective and more efficient.

In the Asia Pacific region there is the highest overall rate of unlicensed software at 61%. This was followed by Central and Eastern Europe at 58%, Middle East-Africa at 57%, Western Europe at 28% and North America the lowest at 17% percent.

Seizing Opportunity Through License Compliance, BSA’s Global Software Survey which includes a breakdown of country-specific data, is available at

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