If you’re running a small business in Africa, which is on a tight budget, you might be tempted to think of pirating your accounting, ERP software, or image editing software as a harmless way to save a bit of money.
Think again – that pirated software could end up costing you more than you would have needed to pay for legitimate software licences.
Here are some good reasons to go legal when you buy business software:
1. You are supporting your country’s economic development
When you buy pirated software, the only entity that benefits is the pirate who is profiting off someone else’s work and intellectual property. In some cases, pirates have ties to other organised crime activities, so you could accidentally be supporting drug and human trafficking when you buy their product.
By contrast, when you buy your software legally, the local companies that sell, support and distribute it will profit. That means they can create jobs and develop new services. Your government also gets its slice of tax revenue for social services spending. And the software vendor earns revenues it can reinvest in making its products better.
2. You are protecting your company from malware and spyware
According to a Business Software Alliance (BSA) study, computer users around the world cite the risk of security threats from malware as the top reason not to use unlicensed software. There is a very good chance that pirated software you buy from an unethical retailer or download via the Internet will contain some spyware or malware.
Indeed, in some cases the motivation for giving or selling you pirated software is to plant a virus or key-logging software on your computer to steal your information. The risks you face could include theft of sensitive data (customer and financial records, passwords) or loss of all your data.
3. Buying pirated software is illegal
You wouldn’t steal office furniture or a computer. So why steal accounting, or business orientated software? Using pirated software is illegal. If you purchase software from an unauthorised company, make illegal copies or download pirated versions, you are breaching the rights of software owner.
If you are caught, you could be prosecuted or asked by the BSA to pay a fine to avoid prosecution. Your reputation will also be tarnished. In most cases, software vendors prefer to educate and incentivise users to buy legal software licences, but the legal risks are nonetheless very real.
4. You gain access to support, service and software updates
With officially licensed software, you can phone or email the vendor or an official reseller for support and expert advice when you have problem. That can save hours and cash because your business can keep running smoothly once your issue is resolved. Also, you will get the security patches and feature updates for your product, ensuring that you remain up to date with the latest version of the software at all times.
5. Safeguard your business
To safeguard yourself and your business against piracy, ensure that you only purchase your applications from an authorised Business Partner – such as Sage, or Microsoft.
According to Sage, if you suspect you have purchased pirated software by accident, want to go legal, or wish to make your Sage Evolution licences legal, please contact +234 1460 9900 for help.