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Shadow IT fueling SAM growth

Fears of fines are one motivator for customers to buy SAM but so is the determination to find out what applications are being used across the organisation

The demand for Software Asset Management (SAM) tools is on the rise fueled by a customer desire to cut costs and get on top of the shadow IT problem.

For the last few years SAM and its promised price savings were the carrot to balance against the stick of fines and court cases for using unlicensed software.

But increasingly the problem isn't just the threat of an audit and a spot of bother with the BSA or FAST but also the danger of trying to manage applications spread across numerous physical devices and the cloud.

Peter Björkman, CTO of Snow Software, said that the SAM market was experiencing growth and the message had got across to most customers around the need to use tools to keep on top of thei software estate.

"When you can prove you can save money the awareness is increasing and that is one trend we are seeing. SAM is a niche and it is growing. There are still a huge number of companies that don't understand SAM and the full extent of it," he said.

A lot of the large enterprise customers have SAM programmes in place but there is still plenty of scope for resellers to talk about software management to SME customers.

Björkman added that the spread of applications across cloud platforms, mobiles and desktops meant that most CIOs were struggling to keep track of licenses and needed to use SAM to help get on top of it.

The risks of failing to understand just what assets are being used is not just a compliance problem but is also creating security headache.

“The presence of unknown or undiscovered assets makes it difficult for security teams to identify and manage the available attack surface,” said Gavin Millard, EMEA technical director, Tenable Network Security.

Tenable carried out research that indicated that engineering, design/R&D and finance were the three departments that were most guilty of using shadow IT.

“The fact that many respondents are feeling the pain of shadow IT isn’t a surprise to the industry, but the numbers were much higher than we expected,” said Millard.

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