25 June 2014

Six in 10 software installations in APAC are unlicensed

The rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing in Asia Pacific was 62% percent in 2013, the highest such rate across the world, and amounting to US$21 billion in lost revenues, says the BSA Global Software Survey. 

In the Middle East and Africa, the percentage was 59%, compared to 60% in Central and Eastern Europe and 59% in Latin America. North America scored 19%, Western Europe 29%, to arrive at a global average of 43%.

The chief reason computer users around the world cite for not using unlicensed software is avoiding security threats from malware, says the BSA. Sixty-four percent of users globally fear unauthorised access by hackers as their top concern and 59% cited loss of data. 

While IT managers around the world did express concern that unlicensed software may cause harm, fewer than half say they are 'very confident' that their company’s software is properly licensed. Only 35% of companies have written policies in place requiring use of properly licensed software, BSA found.

“Users realise that unlicensed software can introduce malware and leave them vulnerable to hacker intrusion and data loss, yet many fail to do anything to protect themselves or their organisations. Given that the global cybersecurity threat environment has been worsening, this lack of attention to software compliance is deeply worrying,” said Roland Chan, BSA Senior Director of Compliance Programs, Asia Pacific.

According to a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, more than 75% of organisations suffered a security incident in the past two years that caused major system disruptions or resulted in loss or theft of sensitive data. BSA member Symantec labeled 2013 the “Year of the Mega Breach” and noted that there was a 62% increase in the total number of data breaches from the previous year, with eight of the breaches that occurred exposing more than 10 million identities each.

“To prevail, organisations must manage and optimise their software assets properly to derive the greatest possible value from them,” added Chan.

Among the findings in BSA’s Global Software Survey: 
  • Most economies in the Asia Pacific region made some progress, including China, where 74% of PC software was installed without proper licensing in 2013, down from 77% in 2011. 
  • The aggregate rate of unlicensed installations in the region rose, as the biggest and fastest-growing markets were those where the rates of unlicensed software use were significantly above the regional mean; their size drove an increase in the average for the region as a whole. 
  • In the Middle East and Africa, the regional rate rose to 59% percent in 2013 against 58% in 2011, with a similar dynamic to that in Asia-Pacific. 
  • Yemen scored the worst with 87% of software installations in 2013 being unlicensed, and UAE had the lowest score of 36%. Paradoxically, the value of the software concerned amounted to US$9 million in Yemen, but US$230 million in the UAE, pointing to a widely different mix of software in use in both countries. Turkey however had the most unlicensed software downloaded in terms of commercial value for the Middle East and Africa region - US$504 million in 2013.
  • The pattern was similar for Japan, which scored the lowest at 19% of software installations being unlicensed, against Bangladesh being the worst offender at a rate of 87% of software installations being unlicensed. The commercial value of the unlicensed software amounted to US$197 million in Bangladesh, and in Japan, US$1.3 billion. The value of unlicensed software for 2013 was highest in China for Asia Pacific, coming to nearly US$8.8 billion.
BSA’s Global Software Survey is available here. Real-time threat attempts can be viewed here.

*Graphs from BSA.