If you’re going to use software systems while operating your business, it’s important to do so the right way. This means either purchasing the right licenses to use the necessary software, or using your existing software in specific ways if you don’t have the right license to access all of the software’s benefits and components. There can be serious consequences for third-party use of software without purchasing the required, appropriate licenses, and these consequences could impact your business in a significant way.

Indirect Access

“Indirect Access” is a term used to define a situation in which an individual or business hasn’t acquired the necessary licenses for the software in use. At this point, the customer becomes liable for buying additional licenses or paying fines for illegally using the software without acquiring the appropriate licenses first. Inspect software applications that interface with SAP to determine if you need to purchase additional licenses. Under SAP, only “Named Users” have the right to use licensed software. “Named Users” include the licensee and its employees and affiliates, not customers or third parties not independently licensed to use the content. There are many ways in which a business can inadvertently allow its customers to engage in the unauthorized use of licensed software. Usually, it happens through the interaction of online payment portals or interacting programs that share information in a custom interface.

Mitigate the Risks

A key motivator to mitigate the risks of indirect access is to avoid legal disputes and paying expensive fees. It’s important to understand your contracts and know what can cause indirect access so you can avoid these risks. Read your contracts carefully and focus on the definitions of “User”, “Named User”, and “Indirect Access”. Be careful when using third-party applications that use SAP as a source of information. If you’re not technologically savvy, hire an IT consultant to analyze your business’s programs and assess the data flow between them and SAP. The programs most susceptible to SAP licensing violations are those that depend on the instant exchange of real-time data.

As a business owner, it can be hard to get involved in the technical specifications and vagaries of indirect access. Unfortunately, a common practice when entering into software agreements is to simply click the box and agree to the terms and conditions without reading the underlying contract. Follow the above steps and read the contract carefully to protect you and your customers from indirect SAP access.

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