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BSA makes new push to curb unlicensed software use by corporations
An increasing number of corporations in Vietnam use only legal software in their operations, thanks in part to continuous efforts by the Vietnamese government to enforce compliance with copyright laws.
However, close to three-quarters of corporations in Vietnam still use unlicensed software, putting data at risk nationwide and creating significant gaps in Vietnam’s cybersecurity defences.
BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) believes that solving this problem will require CEOs to make serious efforts to eliminate unauthorised software in their companies. To this end, BSA’s Clean Up to the Countdown campaign seeks to encourage CEOs to legalise their corporate software assets to comply with criminal law, copyright law, and the 2019 Cyber Security Law before the new years eve countdown at midnight, December 31, 2019.
The Clean Up to the Countdown campaign targets 10,000 companies across 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 companies 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 which continue to use illegal software, and we hope they build on current efforts to legalise even more companies,” said 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 the 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 the stronger enforcement of existing international copyright laws and proactive behaviour on the part of the Vietnamese business community. Examples of intensified enforcement include expanded investigations of companies using illegal software. Since January 2018, copyright infringement is a criminal offense in Vietnam, with a monetary punishment of up to VND3 billion ($129,634) or a two-year suspension of business license 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 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 reputation, and their companies’ financial wellbeing. That is the idea behind this campaign.”
According to BSA, the Vietnamese government has become a leader in the 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 80-100 by the end of the year.
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 it will not request or store any specific company data.