United States: Seven Lessons I Learned Representing Clients In Oracle Audits

Over the last several years, more and more Oracle customers are receiving notices that they have been selected for an Oracle license review or software audit that it reviews the license position of all of its customers worldwide. That means if your company has not participated in a software license review with Oracle, the odds are very high that such a review will be forthcoming at some time in the future. When a company receives a notice from Oracle that it is commencing an audit, many companies are unprepared.

Here are seven tips I have learned over the last decade that can help a company prepare both before and after receiving an audit notice.

1. Know your license terms with Oracle, including any licensing restrictions.

Many long-term Oracle customers have difficulty locating their agreements with Oracle and have to ask Oracle for the relevant agreements at the onset of the audit. Oracle relationships can span several decades, and customers often struggle to find the relevant documents. In addition to the Oracle Master Agreement ("OMA"), the Oracle License and Services Agreement ("OLSA"), and the Software License and Services Agreement ("SLSA") Oracle often adds additional terms and conditions in Ordering Documents. Finally, Oracle also expects customers to be aware of and comply with various other policies (e.g., the partitioning policy dealing with virtualization). Keeping close tabs on your active agreements can reduce the risk that your company will unnecessarily agree to participate in an audit because it cannot find the custom amendment that exempted that customer from the audit.

It is also critical for customers to have access to their license agreements because the customers should regularly be comparing the license grant and terms against all use cases to ensure that the current agreement allows for all the current and contemplated use cases. All too often, Oracle customers are shocked in an audit that no one thought to review the license terms before virtualizing the server environment or allowing third-parties to access the software.

2. It is critical to regularly review your Oracle environment against Oracle's license metrics.

Companies using Oracle products should proactively review the environment at least twice per year to ensure proper use of the software. It is not enough to review the Oracle environment in the light most favorable to the customer. To truly prepare for the eventuality an Oracle license review, the licensee needs to ensure that it is reviewing the data the same way that Oracle's License Management Services ("LMS") team will review the data.

3. Understanding Oracle's use policies.

Whether it related to virtualization, clustering, or partitioning, whenever a licensee makes a change to its infrastructure, it needs to understand the licensing implications for those changes. This can be more difficult than it sounds. Many of Oracle's policies are not incorporated into the license documents, and there is a great deal of misinformation about Oracle's rules and restrictions. Understanding how Oracle will view the environment is important to preparing for the software audit that is likely to come.

4. Identify the scope of the audit.

When an enterprise Oracle customer receives an audit notice, it should carefully consider the scope of the audit. In some cases, the customer has no ability to control foreign assets, which could be subject to different licensing terms and international laws. For many enterprise customers, limiting an audit to a specific geographic region may make sense. This could ensure that all of the licenses under review are subject to the same license terms, there are no language gaps, the relevant teams are local, and the hardware is located in the jurisdiction being audited.

Additionally, if the licensee is part of the Oracle PartnerNetwork ("OPN"), it should determine whether the internal development deployments are in the scope of the audit. Finally, if the licensee distributes software to any third party, identify at the outset of the audit if Oracle expects you to audit end users as well as internal use.

5. How to discover Oracle deployments.

During an audit, Oracle LMS regularly conducts the data gathering, but occasionally, Oracle uses the services of a third-party auditor. Licensees are often unsure how to collect data that would be acceptable to Oracle. During the early stages of the audit, LMS will likely ask whether there are any software tracking tools in the environment, if there are no such tools, LMS may offer the use of a combination of Oracle scripts and software. Before using the proffered tools to collect data about Oracle deployments in the environment, licensees should consult with their systems and security teams to determine whether there are any concerns about the use of third-party tools on the network. Also ensure that all parties understand what, if any, responsibility the auditors will take if something goes wrong when the internal team uses the tools.

6. How to find entitlements for Oracle products.

Although licensees should know how to identify entitlements for products still installed in the environment, it can sometimes be difficult to locate entitlements for older products, especially if those products are no longer in use. If a product is installed but is no longer in use, the best practice is to decommission the product in advance of receiving an audit notification. During the internal review identified above in number 2, many customers start with reviewing the most recent maintenance renewals, as those may contain data regarding the current number of entitlements. For historical information, it may become necessary to reach out to resellers or research the licensee's archives to find information about quantities of licenses that may not be under support.

7. Audit Resolution

At the conclusion of the audit, the licensee should have comfort that all disputes have been resolved and it is now in compliance with its license requirements. Audit resolutions should also include a full release of any claims that Oracle had as of the date of the resolution.

As the saying goes, when it comes to Oracle audits, the best defense is a good offense. Having regular internal license reviews with experienced resources, identifying any gaps in documentation or reporting capabilities, and ensuring the license grants cover all of the licensee's use cases can greatly reduce the potential exposure that may result from a Oracle license review.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions