Get Instant Access
to This Blueprint

Vendor Management icon

Prepare and Defend Against a Software Audit

A mishandled audit can result in financial consequences far more severe than a slap on the wrist.

  • Audit defense starts long before you get audited. Negotiating your vendors’ audit rights and maintaining a documented consolidated licensing position ensure that you are not blindsided by a sudden audit request.
  • Notification of an impending audit can cause panic. Don't panic. While the notification will be full of strong language, your best chance of success is to take control of the situation. Prepare a measured response that buys you enough time to get your house in order before you let the vendor in.
  • If a free software asset review sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If a vendor or one of its partners offers up a free software asset management engagement, they aren’t doing so out of the goodness of their heart — they expect to recoup their costs (and then some) from identified license discrepancies.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • The amount of business disruption depends on the scope of the audit, and the size and complexity of the organization coupled with the contractual audit clause in the contract.
  • These highly visible failures can be prevented through effective software asset management practices.
  • As complexity of licensing increases, so do penalties. If the environment is highly complex, prioritize effort by likelihood of audit and spend.
  • Ensure electronic records exist for license documentation to provide fast access for audit and information requests
  • Verify accuracy of discovered data. Ensure all devices on the network are being audited. Without a complete discovery process, data will always be inaccurate.

Impact and Result

  • Being able to respond quickly with accurate data is critical. When deadlines are tight, and internal resources don’t exist, hire a third party as their experience will allow a faster response.
  • Negotiate terms of the audit such as deadlines, proof of license entitlement, and who will complete the audit.
  • Create a methodology to quickly and efficiently respond to audit requests.
  • Conduct annual internal audits.
  • Have a designated cross-functional IT audit team.
  • Prepare documentation in advance.
  • Manage audit logistics to minimize business disruption.
  • Dispute unwarranted findings.

Prepare and Defend Against a Software Audit Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should be prepared and ready to defend against a software audit, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Prevent an audit

Begin your proactive audit management journey and leverage value from your software asset management program.

2. Prepare for an audit

Prepare for an audit by effectively scoping and consolidating organizational response.

3. Conduct the audit

Execute the audit in a way that preserves valuable relationships while accounting for vendor specific criteria.

4. Manage post-audit activities

Conduct negotiations, settle on remuneration, and close out the audit.

Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.


Overall Impact


Average $ Saved


Average Days Saved




$ Saved

Days Saved

Chief Industries, Inc.

Guided Implementation




This conversation was very beneficial. We learned some things that we expect will save us some stress as well as financially. Excited to have ano... Read More

Kingston Technology Corporation

Guided Implementation




The information provided and what the expectation could be. Background information and overall process was most helpful.

Pacific Dental Services

Guided Implementation





Guided Implementation




Aadil was great to deal with and very knowledgeable on the subject - Excellent experience overall.

Workshop: Prepare and Defend Against a Software Audit

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Prevent an Audit

The Purpose

  • Kick off the project
  • Identify challenges and red flags
  • Determine maturity and outline internal audit
  • Clarify stakeholder responsibilities
  • Build and structure audit team

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Leverage value from your audit management program
  • Begin your proactive audit management journey
  • A documented consolidated licensing position, which ensures that you are not blindsided by a sudden audit request




Perform a maturity assessment of the current environment

  • Maturity assessment

Classify licensing contracts/vendors


Conduct a software inventory


Meter application usage


Manual checks


Gather software licensing data


Reconcile licenses

  • Effective license position/license reconciliation

Create your audit team and assign accountability

  • Audit team RACI chart

Module 2: Prepare for an Audit

The Purpose

  • Create a strategy for audit response
  • Know the types of requests
  • Scope the engagement
  • Understand scheduling challenges
  • Know roles and responsibilities
  • Understand common audit pitfalls
  • Define audit goals

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Take control of the situation and prepare a measured response
  • A dedicated team responsible for all audit-related activities
  • A formalized audit plan containing team responsibilities and audit conduct policies




Use Info-Tech’s readiness assessment template

  • Readiness assessment

Define the scope of the audit

  • Audit scoping email template

Module 3: Conduct the Audit

The Purpose

  • Overview of process conducted
  • Kick-off and self-assessment
  • Identify documentation requirements
  • Prepare required documentation
  • Data validation process
  • Provide resources to enable the auditor
  • Tailor audit management to vendor compliance position
  • Enforce best-practice audit behaviors

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A successful audit with minimal impact on IT resources
  • Reduced severity of audit findings




Communicate audit commencement to staff

  • Audit launch email template

Module 4: Manage Post-Audit Activities

The Purpose

  • Clarify auditor findings and recommendations
  • Access severity of audit findings
  • Develop a plan for refuting unwarranted findings
  • Disclose findings to management
  • Analyze opportunities for remediation
  • Provide remediation options and present potential solutions

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Ensure your audit was productive and beneficial
  • Improve your ability to manage audits
  • Come to a consensus on which findings truly necessitate organizational change




Don't accept the penalties; negotiate with vendors


Close the audit and assess the financial impact

  • A consensus on which findings truly necessitate organizational change
Prepare and Defend Against a Software Audit preview picture

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.


Overall Impact

Average $ Saved

Average Days Saved

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve.

Read what our members are saying

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 13 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Prevent an audit
  • Call 1: Red flags leading to increased odds of an audit
  • Call 2: Maturity assessment and conducting an internal audit
  • Call 3: Structuring and preparing an audit team

Guided Implementation 2: Prepare for an audit
  • Call 1: Steps to take upon notification
  • Call 2: Examine the various engagement requests from self-audit to formal
  • Call 3: Defining the scope and how to respond

Guided Implementation 3: Conduct the audit
  • Call 1: Overview of processes conducted
  • Call 2: Kick off and discuss the confirmed audit scope
  • Call 3: Prioritize business continuity
  • Call 4: Working with auditor personality types

Guided Implementation 4: Manage post-audit activities
  • Call 1: Discuss the results of the audit
  • Call 2: Discuss the validity of the findings
  • Call 3: Negotiation terms and close out


Scott Bickley

Aadil Nanji


  • Filip Lauwereys, ASIST
  • Richard Spithoven, B.Lay
  • Max Ablimit, Tarim Consulting, LLC
  • Eric Chiu, HW Fisher & Company
  • Three anonymous company contributors
Visit our IT Cost Optimization Center
Over 100 analysts waiting to take your call right now: 1-519-432-3550 x2019