The ITAM Review

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BSA Fines: The Hidden Costs

Quacquarelli Symonds Consulting Limited

Quacquarelli Symonds - BSA Breach in 3 out of 10 Results (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The group behind www.topuniversities.com and www.topmba.com landed itself in the UK IT press for all the wrong reasons last week.

It was reported that Quacquarelli Symonds Consulting Limited had to pay the Business Software Alliance (BSA) £80K ($125K USD) for use of unlicensed software.

Computer Weekly reported that the firm had to pay out £40,000 in settlement fees to the BSA and over £40,000 for software licenses to become legally compliant (More lenient that the USA who would typically charge for licenses plus 3 multiples for penalties).

For small companies with 100 staff an £80K fine is an inconvenience rather than crippling – However, far more damaging is the cost in reputation.

When I first started the ITAM Review two years ago the common approach for the BSA would be to refer to Quacquarelli Symonds as an ‘Educational Consulting Firm in London’. Now, companies are publicly ‘outed’ for their compliance errors. A slap on the wrist has become a bare knuckle bunch in the guts.

In an age of transparency, leaks and Internet search the fine received by Quacquarelli Symonds is minuscule in comparison to the nasty sticky stain left by the exposure on the Internet.

By example – look at the results in the image.

A search on Google today revealed that the news of their fine appeared 3 times in the top 10 on the first page of searches for their company name. Not great reading for prospective employees, business partners or investors.

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In case you needed reminding – it has never been a better time to get your house in order! For the average ITAM Review reader who receives, on average, 2.5 audits a year – may this story help fuel the continued momentum and growth of your SAM practice.

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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