Microsoft SPLA licensing & SPLA Audits – Take Control

As a software service provider, you might be wondering, what is Microsoft SPLA licensing? How does Microsoft SPLA audit work?  Unlike standard licenses, hosting licenses are designed for businesses, not individuals. They’re flexible enough to adapt to the needs of your business. For example, a hosting company may need an application to host its customers. But what about self-hosted IP services? Can they be used in a hosting company’s IP services?

 

SPLA licenses have a number of advantages. They are highly flexible, with no upfront costs, and you can add or remove services as you see fit. In addition, they are ideal for small businesses because you don’t have to worry about licensing costs, so you can focus on your business. For instance, you can add services as you go along and charge less when you’re finished. You can also treat your software costs as operating costs, making them more manageable.

 

 

SPLA Licensing and audits

 

If you’re looking for a way to expand your software offerings and save money while doing so, Services Provider licensing might be the right choice for you. The hosting licensing model allows companies to license their products to external users and not internal employees. However, if you want to extend the benefits of Services Provider licensing to internal employees, you’ll need to purchase a volume licensing agreement. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most important benefits of hosting licensing.

 

SPLA is a monthly licensing model that enables ISVs and service providers to license Microsoft products.  As long as a customer uses a hosting provider that offers Microsoft software, they must use hosting licensing. Services Provider license model is the most affordable way to use Microsoft products, and it’s one of the easiest ways to reduce costs.

 

To be able to use the SPLA licensing model, you’ll need to be a member of Microsoft’s Partner Network. You’ll need to be a MS Certified Partner, and be enrolled in the Microsoft Hosting Community to become an Services Provider License Reseller. The Reseller will be responsible for invoicing customers and submits a zero-use report to Microsoft each month. The reseller will also be responsible for paying Microsoft for the licenses it uses.

 

 

What is Microsoft SPLA licensing?

 

SPLA licensing is a type of monthly subscription fee based on the amount of licenses a reseller consumes. This differs from the MSPA licensing model, in which a license is purchased from Microsoft and then given to a reseller. Once the subscription period has expired, the reseller files an Services Provider level application with Microsoft. The licensing company then reports the amount of license usage to Microsoft. By creating a unique packaged solution for a customer, the reseller can generate a fruitful income.

 

The SPLA licensing method is a non-perpetual monthly license agreement. This means that a service provider would pay for 10 licenses in March, and report usage for that month’s usage. This method makes it flexible, as a user can scale up or down their usage on a month-to-month basis. In addition, Services Provider licensing agreements are non-perpetual and can be renewed or terminated by the service provider with 60 days’ notice. However, users must provide notice to Microsoft in writing if they wish to discontinue their  license.

 

Microsoft’s Services Provider licensing model has been modified to allow developers to use Windows Server Volume Licensing in multi-tenant shared server environments. Microsoft has also expanded its use of Volume Licensing for Windows Server, enabling the self-hosted ISV to deploy their software on third-party servers. As long as the deployment is done through License Mobility through SA or AMP, the rest of the application software can remain under Volume Licensing.

 

 

When can you use Services Provider licensing?

 

The good news is that you only need to sign a single Microsoft Business and Service Agreement (MSBA) to be eligible for Services Provider licensing. However, you must renew your license every year. To avoid confusion, here are some tips for licensing Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

 

If you are a software service provider and are looking to make money on subscriptions, Services Providing licensing may be the best option for your business. The software licensing requirements are broad and often apply to commercial hosting services. However, if you want to apply for hosting licensing, you must meet a specific set of criteria. If you are selling the software to your customers, you must not qualify for volume licensing. Microsoft’s volume-licensing criteria restricts your business’s ability to provide commercial hosting services.

 

When can you use MS licensing? SPLA is a month-to-month licensing solution that allows you to charge based on usage, not on the number of users. For example, if you have ten users and need to license software for twenty, you’ll pay for ten licenses for March and report your usage in April. This makes Servides Provider licensing a flexible option for hosting companies. However, it may be more expensive than Volume Licensing.

 

 

Does SPLA include software assurance?

 

Does SPLA include Software Assurance? Software Assurance is a service provided by Microsoft to customers who purchase Microsoft products. This new maintenance offering is required for products licensed through the Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement. It provides service providers with the latest versions of the products that are licensed through the agreement. Unlike standard maintenance, SALs are not required for all products. However, it is beneficial to consider SALs for software applications before purchasing a license.

 

A license mobility option is available for volume licensing customers that purchase SA for Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Lync Server, SharePoint Server, SQL, and Microsoft SQL Server. This option does not cover Microsoft System Center, however. However, a Microsoft spokesperson explained that the concept applies to infrastructure-as-a-service for applications and server workloads that are hosted in the cloud. The hosting license covers hosted Windows as part of the service purchase.

 

 

SPLA licensing portal

 

When it comes to licensing software, Services Provider is an important part of the process. If your company uses a virtual desktop or a computer with your customer’s hardware, you must license SPLA software. In addition to providing software,  licensing can also help you comply with legal requirements for resellers. Getting your software license will allow you to offer the same software to customers at a lower price. However, it is crucial to note that licenses must be purchased separately.

 

Microsoft has been known to audit its customers aggressively when it comes to SPLA, and the company can be surprised when they get caught in an overpayment. In addition to this, Microsoft is very aggressive about its licensing policy and will not issue credit for overpayments unless they can prove otherwise. Additionally, Services Provider is significantly more expensive than Volume Licensing, and it isn’t always clear whether or not the licensing method is right for your organization.

 

How to Prepare for a Microsoft SPLA Audit

 

Are you planning to undergo a audit? Or, even a regular license compliance audit? Before a Microsoft audit, here are some important tips to prepare yourself. Then, you can maximize the benefits of your software licenses. The following article outlines the steps you need to take to prepare for a Microsoft audit. Read on to find out more! a. Prepare your environment. Make sure your software licenses are properly licensed.

 

Ensure that your software environment is compliant

 

If you’re looking for the best way to ensure compliance with Microsoft’s SPLA licensing rules, you’ll want to work with a company that offers license management services. These providers can assist you with creating and reporting the license usage reports required by Microsoft. Whether you’re a service provider, a company, or a nonprofit, having the right license management tools is essential to ensuring that your software environment is compliant with Microsoft’s regulations.

 

One of the first things you need to do is assess whether your software environment falls under the scope of the SPLA. As Microsoft’s licensing requirements become increasingly complex, the  scope and application use have shifted. For example, while self-hosted services can still fall under the umbrella of a SPLA, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) environment will fall under the umbrella of a “commercial hosting scenario.”

 

The SPLA’s compliance requirements can have serious implications for companies that provide hosted infrastructure. For example, companies that have administrative access to a customer’s infrastructure should report the actual usage and not a “percentage” figure. Microsoft’s auditors will assume that the usage is within the scope of the agreement unless they can prove otherwise. If you don’t have reliable records of user access, you could be liable for hefty fines.

 

Another way to avoid licensing non compliance is to use on-demand server instances. AWS promotes unlimited usage and RDS functionality with their on-demand instances. However, if you’re running a large service, this can be cost-prohibitive. As such, you’ll need to be careful to determine the number of Core Packs you need and the number of instances. If you need to use RDS functionality for a large service, it might not be a good option.

 

You must also be aware of Service Provider Use Rights. If your software environment is using an IP application that has been licensed via a SPLA, you should ensure that you’re complying with this license agreement. Otherwise, you’ll be fine with Microsoft’s Services Provider. You must also ensure that your company’s policies and procedures reflect this information. In addition, you should be aware that a self-hosted software environment does not always fall under the SPLA’s scope.

 

 

Ensure that you maximize the value from your software licenses

 

Ensure that you maximize the value from your Microsoft software licenses by doing a regular software usage audit. You need to be in compliance with SPUR, which defines the rights and conditions of your customer’s use. You must report on your SPLA usage monthly and make payments for software licenses. You must also provide technical support to your customers. If you are not doing so, you should consider outsourcing the process to a third party.

 

Consider signing a Microsoft Business and Service Agreement. The MBSA is an agreement that requires one sign-off for all Microsoft products. This type of license includes a three-year renewal. You may also want to consider a subscription to Microsoft’s hosted offers. For this, you need a tool that captures software-profile status. You also need to maintain historical records, including which machines and users contribute to monthly reports. And you must perform internal audits regularly. If you are auditing your Microsoft licenses, you can spot problems before they become big ones.

 

An effective reseller can manage your contractual relationship with Microsoft. They can help you optimize your monthly licensing position by generating more qualified leads for your Microsoft software licenses. They can also provide you with compliance peace of mind. And they can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors in a competitive market. If you are in the business of providing software, Microsoft’s certified software will give you an edge over the competition.

 

During an audit, you will want to be able to show your SPLA use. During the audit, auditors will want to look back at historical data for more than just the current year. So, maintain pristine records. It is important to document the exact access that each user has to the products. Regardless of the number of users, audits are more rigorous than their equivalents.

 

In addition to auditing your software usage, you must also understand the terms of your Microsoft licenses. Microsoft’s self-certification audit, also known as verified self-assessment (VSA), allows you to prove compliance without providing detailed deployment data. If you don’t have all of the data, Microsoft will allow you to conduct an internal review to see if you missed anything. Once you have identified any gaps, you can present a corrective strategy for these missing licenses.

 

SPLA audit triggers

 

A Microsoft  audit requires accurate data about software deployments. Service providers often overstate and understate their usage and hand over information that is not relevant to the agreement. Microsoft is not likely to accept this information, and convincing them that the information is not relevant can take a significant amount of time. The information that is disclosed cannot be “unseen,” so you must provide solid proof that it is not. Listed below are some common triggers for an audit.

 

In addition to implementing Microsoft audit triggers, the company may also conduct verified self-assessments. An expert can assist you with your Microsoft  licensing. They have a deeper understanding of the SPLA licensing model, and can guide you through the process. For more information, contact an expert at Octopus Cloud. They can help you ensure that your software is compliant with  licensing rules.

 

During the initial stages of an audit, it is critical to know how much you’re likely to lose if your organization’s licenses is audited. Knowing how many licenses you’ve acquired can help you determine the cost and timeline of your compliance. In some cases, you may even be able to request a postponement. If you’re not sure what the scope of an audit will be, try using in-house tools instead of external audit firms. You’ll be happier with the results of your Microsoft SPLA license audit.

 

The main triggers for SPLA is your monthly reporting and how much you report.

 

  • If you are slow in reporting your monthly consumption reports, that may trigger an audit.
  • If you are not reporting monthly, you may be audited.
  • If your reporting is too low, you may be audited.

 

How does a Microsoft SPLA Audit work?

 

How does a Microsoft SPLA license audit work, exactly? In short, a third-party auditor reviews data provided by the Microsoft tools used by the service provider. Then, the auditor compares that data with Active Directory objects. This validates the audit’s completeness. If the Microsoft tools find any discrepancies, the service provider will need to explain this discrepancy. The best way to do this is to collect all data from the relevant devices, including anti-virus software.

 

How does a License Audit work in practice?  Microsoft conducts these audits by designating a third-party firm to gather inventory data. These firms prepare reports comparing usage to audit data, which Microsoft reviews. Once the auditors’ reports have been reviewed, Microsoft will place supplemental orders for the licenses that the company failed to purchase. High-volume users can expect to pay millions of dollars for this audit.

 

The auditor’s report will identify any weaknesses in the service provider’s license management. A Microsoft audit is a good opportunity for a service provider to improve its licensing practices. The service provider needs to develop a worksheet that shows how it handles deployment and other relevant data. The audit may include other aspects of the service provider’s operations and processes. If the audit results are poor, the service provider should seek counsel from a company that has the expertise to help them deal with the situation.

 

The SPLA audit process explained

 

1.  Microsoft will issue the audit letter to the hosting provider.

2. A third party independent firm will initiate the audit with the hosting provider.

3. The hosting will be required to submit the data to Microsoft.

4. The audit firm will review the data and create a licensing position.

5. The third party audit firm, Microsoft and you will review the findings together.

6. Microsoft will provide the financial numbers of licensing shortfalls.

7. Microsoft and you will negotiate the audit settlement.

 

 

What SPLA data is the auditor requesting?

 

  • Active Directory machine and user listings
  • Data from your virtual environments.
  • Software inventory
  • Data backing up your SPLA reporting numbers.
  • Billing information you and your customers.
  • Agreements between you and your customers.
  • Software assurance verification forms.

 

 

Does Microsoft do audits?

 

Does Microsoft do audits? Yes. It is a fact that Microsoft has its own auditing process, but they are not the only ones doing it. Often, the company that carries out the audit isn’t Microsoft, and you’re likely to face the same question when you sign up for their audit service. As long as you’re careful in describing your situation, you should be able to successfully pass an audit performed by Microsoft.

 

In order to pass a Microsoft audit, your company must provide documentation for every piece of software that is used by your employees. This documentation could include product keys, certificates of authenticity, invoices and receipts, and more. If you have purchased any new software, you may be asked to supply copies of receipts, photos, and any other relevant documents. In addition, Microsoft will ask for copies of your Microsoft software licenses and CALs.

 

The number and type of audits conducted by Microsoft will depend on the products in your contract. Audits will typically focus on restricted use licenses, such as those for Windows desktops. The company will also conduct an analysis of computer and user usage in their ecosystem, as well as any software purchased for internal use. This is the most common type of audit performed by Microsoft. The company also performs a Sam engagement to ensure that they’re meeting their legal obligations.

 

SPLA audits vs Microsoft audits

 

When preparing for a SPLA license audit, it’s important to understand the differences between Microsoft and SPLA audits. The Services Provider agreement specifies the requirements for a service provider to maintain correct administration, which means that licenses fall under their purview. In addition, SPLA software audit are typically lengthy, requiring service providers to document changes to equipment, resulting in a long audit trail. Microsoft can also audit SPLA-covered equipment even after it has been decommissioned, so service providers must provide a snapshot of their systems during this time.

 

An hosting software audit involves looking back further than a standard audit, often three years or more. It is important to maintain pristine long-term records because the auditor will assume the worst. They’ll be concerned with determining when users access a product and its actual usage. Service Provider and perpetual licenses have different product use rights. If you’re unsure, it’s best to contact Microsoft’s Hosting license auditor.

 

How to respond to the SPLA license audit

 

One of the most significant points that a licensee must address when responding to a Microsoft audit is that the company’s usage records are often incomplete or inaccurate. Although this is true in general, it is particularly critical if a licensee has recently implemented new virtual machines. This change must be documented. Another point to consider when responding to a Microsoft audit is the scope of the use. Microsoft’s audit will presume that the usage rates have not changed from the time of the first licensee’s end-user relationship.

 

A Microsoft SPLA software audit will be conducted if a licensee has been using a license for more than one customer for a specified period of time. It will require that the service provider be responsible for the license administration. This is because a license issue falls on the service provider. After the audit, the service provider is contacted by Microsoft’s legal team and asked to pay 70 percent of the license costs for the next three years.

 

To successfully respond to a  hosting software audit, it is important to understand the licensing rights of your customers and your contractual obligations. To do this, you should first understand the basic Service provider licensing model. There are two basic types of SPLA software audits – the first is based on a single license and the second is a perpetual license. This license has an annual renewal. Regardless of the type of license, you must understand the licensing model before addressing the audit.

 

 

Are you facing an audit?  Redress Compliance have 20+ years of experience of SPLA licensing. Schedule an consultation to hear more about our Microsoft SPLA Audit Defense Services.