Beware Of Pirated Software On Your Server!

I stumbled upon this article at Slashdot and I thought it worth a mention. It’s an Ask Slashdot sort of question that deals with software piracy on servers, and many answers crop up in the course of the ensuing discussion. I agree with some of the other posters there when I say: If there’s pirated software, notify your boss immediately. If they don’t want to go legit, get out of there- the blame will all be on you if the company gets busted.

This is, fortunately, less of a concern with dedicated servers than it is with on-site servers; a legitimate OS license usually comes when you lease a server, and the OS / Microsoft Office seem to be, in my experience, the most pirated software programs on any systems. That doesn’t mean, however, that running a dedicated server makes you immune to pirated software, especially if you’re not the first “IT guy” to have worked on them before. Sometimes obscure programs like specialized database software or other programs that cost a small fortune will be pirated without a second thought- this is even more true in small start-ups or businesses, as the urge to cut costs is quite strong (or the company may simply not be able to afford the software they need).

Some solutions are mentioned in the discussion about how to audit your servers for legal software; OpenAudit seems to be a good way to go. Don’t simply trust programs, however- if anything at all causes you to be suspicious, ask for receipts concerning the purchase of different software packages. It may seem paranoid, but you’ll thank it once the Better Business Bureau comes knocking!