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How to Survive a Microsoft Audit

Recently, we held a budget consultation meeting with a good client of ours. During the meeting, we spent some time discussing the pros and cons of User CALs vs. Device CALs. Afterward, we realized many companies likely have the same questions that led to that fruitful discussion. Today, we want to share some insight to demystify CALs and help your company when making licensing decisions.

First things first: What is a CAL?

A CAL is a Client Access License that grants access to certain Microsoft server software. CALs allow users and devices to access and utilize the services of that server software. For example, to install and run the Microsoft Windows software on your physical server, a Microsoft Windows Server License would be required. CALs are then needed to enable users or devices to access the Windows Server software.

User CALs vs. Device CALs
When do I need a CAL?

The general rule of thumb is that any user or device that accesses the server software requires a CAL. However, requirements do vary by product. If you really want to get into the nitty gritty, we'd encourage you to browse the Product Use Rights, or Microsoft Software License Terms.

But let's be real…do I really need to keep up with CALs?

Short answer: Yes. Or Let us keep up with them for you.

Long answer: Yes, if you want to survive a Microsoft audit. And Microsoft does audit. In a survey performed by Flexera last year, 58% of the 1,828 software and enterprise executives questioned had been audited by Microsoft within a year period. Microsoft doesn't discriminate based on size, either. Every company is fair game. The fees associated with an audit in which a company is found not in compliance can be brutal, making it imperative that the correct CALs are in place.

Microsoft has a great tool to help make the right decisions when purchasing licensing. Whatever you decide to do, make sure your CALs are up to date and in compliance with Microsoft regulations; it could save your business. 

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