2024 Resolution

New Year’s resolution for engineering firm CEOs: Proactively address cyber and safety risks by using only licensed software on public works, infrastructure 

Over the past year, a concerning trend has persisted among the engineering and design sectors, in which the use of unlicensed software by large companies continues unabated.

Recent law enforcement actions across the region revealed that some of these companies are involved in the design and engineering of critical public infrastructure projects. This has prompted BSA | The Software Alliance to sound the alarm, emphasizing that using outdated and unsecured software in such projects may put public safety at risk.

“Every CEO and business leader in the engineering and design industry should make it a New Year’s resolution to carefully manage their software assets,” said BSA Senior Director Tarun Sawney.

“Governments across the region are looking closely at the software used in public works projects, ensuring that all taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects are designed using only safe, secure, licensed software.” 

Unlicensed software is highly susceptible to malicious cyber threats, which are on the rise around the globe. In Southeast Asia, the cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high of more than $3 million in 2023, marking a 6% year-on-year increase.

With the onset of the new year, it’s imperative for businesses, particularly those engaged in critical infrastructure projects, to adopt best practices aimed at combating the prevalent use of unlicensed software. In light of this, BSA has prepared a five-step plan to guide organizations in ensuring software compliance and boosting cybersecurity and safety.

1) Make licensed software your first line of defense against cybercrime

Using licensed software is not just a matter of compliance; it serves as the first line of defense against cybercrime for any organization. Licensed software providers regularly release updates to address newly discovered vulnerabilities, ensuring users are equipped with the latest security measures against potential threats.

Unlicensed software, on the other hand, creates a significant level of risk for organizations. These unauthorized programs are often missing essential security updates, meaning they introduce potential system vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals.

The use of unlicensed software might expose engineering and design firms to malware, ransomware, and other threats that can compromise the integrity of their projects, expose their data, and disrupt their business operations. 

Enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for unlicensed software is crucial for these organizations, as it requires every member to understand the risks associated with illegal software use. At the same time, business leaders must emphasize the role of licensed software in bolstering the organization’s cybersecurity defenses. 

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