New push to curb unlicensed software use by corporations

The Software Alliance launches "Clean Up to the Countdown" campaign to encourage CEOs in Vietnam to legalize their corporate software assets.

An increasing number of corporations in Vietnam use only legal software in their operations, thanks in part to continuous efforts by the government to enforce compliance with copyright laws.

But close to three-quarters still use unlicensed software, putting data at risk nationwide and creating significant gaps in Vietnam’s cyber security defenses.

BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) believes that resolving this problem will require CEOs make serious efforts to eliminate unauthorized software at their companies.

To this end, BSA’s “Clean Up to the Countdown” campaign seeks to encourage CEOs to legalize their corporate software assets to comply with criminal law, copyright law, and the 2019 Cyber Security Law before the end of this year.

The campaign targets 10,000 companies in Vietnam that are thought to be at-risk of using illegal software.

This includes corporations in a variety of business sectors, such as manufacturing, construction, banking and finance, engineering, architecture, media, design, IT, and healthcare.

Many of these are known users of software but lack license agreements from software providers.

“The Vietnamese Government is doing a great job of inspecting and taking action against corporations that continue to use illegal software, and we hope they build on current efforts to legalize even more companies,” said Mr. Tarun Sawney, BSA Senior Director for APAC.

“But the largest improvement should come from the companies themselves. CEOs need to proactively ensure their companies are compliant and send the message that use of illegal software is not acceptable, and in fact puts themselves and their customers at serious risk.”

The solution, according to the software industry, involves both stronger enforcement of existing international copyright laws and proactive behavior on the part of Vietnam’s business community.

Examples of intensified enforcement include expanded investigations of companies using illegal software. In January 2018, copyright infringement became a criminal offense in Vietnam, with punishment of up to $129,000 or a two-year suspension of business licenses for commercial entities.

 

“Vietnamese companies can avoid negative consequences by thoroughly and voluntarily auditing software on their computers to ensure it is all appropriately licensed,” said Mr. Sawney.

“Doing so will require hands-on effort from CEOs and C-suite leadership, who have vested interests in protecting their clients’ data, their corporate digital assets, their reputations, and their companies’ financial wellbeing. That is the idea behind this campaign.”

According to BSA, the Vietnamese Government has become a leader in Asia-Pacific at taking steps to create a legal and safe digital environment.

So far in 2019, relevant departments have conducted dozens of investigations and company inspections in pursuit of this goal, with an estimated 80 to 100 by year’s end.

Failure to fully consider risk management from an IT perspective puts company, employee, and customer data at risk of theft via malware, which is often hidden in illegal software or which exploits weaknesses in software that is out-of-date due to being unlicensed.

To help motivate executives to act, BSA is preparing to launch a CEO Software Risk Calculator with which businesses can simply determine the fines they face if they fail to control illegal software use.

The calculator will be a voluntary tool designed for the mutual benefit of businesses and software creators, and will not request or store any specific company data. VN Economic Times

Khanh Chi

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