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BSA expects drop in unlicensed software

Tarun Sawney, senior director of the software industry's Business Software Alliance, predicts the amount of pirated software will now drop. (Handout)

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The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a non-profit trade group sponsored by Microsoft, expects unlicensed software in Thailand to decline at a faster pace because of the upcoming Cybersecurity Act and Data Protection Act.

In 2018, 395 unlicensed cases were reported, valued at over 661 million baht. The previous year there were 245 cases worth 466 million baht.

The piracy rate should drop by 3-4% every two years, faster than the normal dip of 1-2%, now that the Cybersecurity Act and Data Protection Act were passed by the National Legislative Assembly, said Tarun Sawney, senior director of the BSA.

According to an IDC survey commissioned by the BSA, the piracy rate was 66% in 2017, down from 68% in 2015.

The new laws enable businesses to invest in cybersecurity, especially in critical infrastructure and data security that makes companies assess legal/ illegal software.

Software asset management of unlicensed software is a front line in the fight against hackers. Illegal software programs also lead to data security breach, which can hurt companies’ reputations.

“The laws provide penalties for using illegal software, which should serve as a warning to companies,” Mr Sawney said.

Moreover, IDC found that adoption of legal software asset management will enable businesses to increase productivity.

According to IDC, one-third of those encountering malware discovered it was from unlicensed software installation.

Each malware attack costs a company US$2.4 million on average and takes up to 50 days to resolve. If the infection leads to downtime or business data loss, it also seriously affects the company’s brand and reputation.

The cost for a company in dealing with malware is more than $10,000 per infected computer, and globally the cost is almost $359 billion a year.

Mr Sawney said the BSA launched its “Legalise and Protect” campaign to raise awareness among corporations, covering segments such as manufacturing, IT, finance, construction, consumer goods, engineers, architecture and design.

The popularity of cloud-based service helps reduce illegal software because businesses have lower upfront investment and it’s easy to trace illegal software, he said.

Pol Lt Col Kreangsak Chitsaard of the Economic Crime Suppression Division said the ECD recorded 65 cases in the first two months of this year. Last year, 395 cases of illegal software use were found in 4,421 computers.

Prime areas are Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Chon Buri, Rayong and Nonthaburi.

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