Microsoft License Audits: Top 5 FAQs and Answers

Like most others in the software development business, Microsoft does not sell its products. Rather, it licenses them. Ensuring that customers maintain compliance with licensing agreements is the motivation behind conducting regular audits. Rest assured that a Microsoft license audit is not something to take lightly.

Microsoft audits are par for the course at Miro Consulting. Given that Microsoft is the most common software brand utilized by organizations worldwide, we make it our business to stay abreast with auditing policies, procedures, standards, etc. We assist our clients with license reviews and other services to guarantee audits go their way.

While you consider how our services could help your organization, here are the top five Microsoft license audit FAQs and their answers:

1. What is a Microsoft license audit?

Microsoft refers to its license audits as ‘compliance verification’. An audit is a formal and mandatory compliance review required under the terms and conditions of Microsoft’s standard software license. Organizations choosing to use Microsoft products agree to be audited when accepting licensed terms at installation.

In essence, a Microsoft audit is a thorough review designed to ensure that an organization is abiding by license terms and conditions. It does not have to be an especially lengthy process, but auditors do not leave any stones unturned.

2. Who conducts license audits?

Microsoft generally does not conduct the audits directly. Rather, they engage the services of well-known accounting firms like KPMG and Deloitte. From time to time, Microsoft has been known to bring in third-party consultants when accounting firms are not available. Regardless of who actually performs an audit, the auditing organization is tasked with looking out for Microsoft’s best interests.

3. How are audit candidates chosen?

Microsoft insists that only a limited number of organizations are chosen every year for audit. The company explains on its website that it uses a “programmatic approach” to selecting customers. That could mean just about anything. Referring to a programmatic approach is another way of saying that they do not choose customers randomly.

The most important thing to remember is that any customer with a Microsoft volume license is subject to audits. If your organization has a volume license and has not been selected for audit thus far, consider it a bonus. You may be selected at some point down the road.

4. What can an organization expect from an audit?

As soon as a customer is selected for a license audit, Microsoft sends a notification via email or letter. An initial meeting is set up between the customer, Microsoft, and the organization conducting the audit. This is usually done via telephone. Once an audit schedule is set up, the auditing organization takes over. The customer is expected to fully participate, including providing necessary documentation.

5.What is the Microsoft SAM program?

Microsoft recommends always being prepared for a potential audit by setting up a Software Asset Management (SAM) program. The program is more or less an advisory service based on current SAM standards. It provides an ongoing and complete view of a customer’s digital assets, licenses, and compliance policies and procedures. With it, an organization can know at any point in time whether it is compliant.

Microsoft chooses a select number of customers for audit every year. If your organization has never been audited, it could be in the future. Let us help with license reviews and other services. Miro Consulting exists to help organizations like yours maintain full compliance with all your software licenses. We can make sure you are prepared should you ever be chosen for a Microsoft audit.

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Miro is a leading global provider of software asset management services, specializing in license management, audit advisory, negotiation tactics, support management, and cloud services. We help our clients maximize ROI on their software license investments, stay in compliance, and minimize the impact of audits. Miro's performance guarantee promises that our long-tenured, diverse, and passionate team of expert analysts provides insightful and actionable advice to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.