The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has published the results of its 2015 Global Software Survey. While not surprising, the report does make for some very interesting reading.

Carried out across more than 110 national and regional economies, from Kenya to the US, and from China to the EU, and in partnership with the IDC, the BSA survey attempted to estimate the value and volume of unlicensed software on PCs across the globe in 2015.


“…even in certain critical industries where much tighter control of the digital environment would be expected, unlicensed use was surprisingly high. The survey found that the worldwide rate for such unlicensed use is 25 percent — fully one in four — in the banking, insurance, and securities industries.”

Among some of its other major findings, the BSA survey revealed that in 2015 cyberattacks cost business more than $400,000,000,000. Embarrassment and personal stress levels of Ashley Madison users for 2015 were however, sadly not included.

Moving on, the BSA survey also took the time to point out the fact that a strong connection still exists between cyberattacks and the use of ‘cracked’ or illegitimate and unlicensed software, which, let’s be honest most people reading this will be more than aware of…


What will probably concern IT admins and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) however or at least cause them to take a large gulp of their morning coffee is the fact that too many businesses worldwide are not taking adequate steps to control the software installed on their networks by employees, and significantly underestimate the sheer amount of unauthorised software deployed.

“Thirty-nine percent of software installed on PCs around the world in 2015 was not properly licensed, according to survey findings, representing only a modest decrease from 43 percent in BSA’s previous global survey from 2013.”

Going Mobile

Finally, and most worrying for IT gate keepers, despite the still fast growing use of mobile devices for use in business on a daily basis, 70% of enterprises globally were found to have at best to have ‘only an informal policy or none at all concerning connecting personal mobile devices at work.’

The summary of the BSA survey concludes that proper management of software assets in company networks can not only mitigate risk, but lead to significant cost savings by ‘driving out hidden inefficiencies from over-licensing applications or harbouring unused software.’

The full study with specific geographic results for different countries and economic regions can be accessed here.