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A software audit is the practice of analyzing and observing a piece of software. The word audit is a general term for analysis, and a software audit can consist of several different kinds of review. Some types of software audits involve looking at software for licensing compliance. Others involve looking at how the software works. There are also specific kinds of software audits that show how a software product is configured, and how it is used within a broader IT structure.
Software audits may be performed by internal parties such as developer teams, or by outside firms or consultants. Some audits require teamwork, where a lead auditor may direct the efforts of the team. Software audits will typically rely on specific IT tools that will help with the kind of fact-finding required for the audit in question. That may mean using analysis tools for security or functionality audits. Compliance audits may involve proprietary tools for review when software changes hands or when it’s necessary to verify its status.
Reports from groups like Forrester Research show that the instances of software audits may be on the rise, and that these audits can lead to substantial problems for tech companies. It’s important for executives to have a good idea of how often and why various types of audits are done, and how to prepare for them.