The Business Software Alliance, the leading advocate for the global software industry, is building on its Legalize and Protect campaign by launching the ASEAN Safeguard initiative, a program offering free consultation to 40,000 companies across Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, in collaboration with respective government bodies.
The companies BSA is reaching out to are those it has identified as high risk and particularly vulnerable to cyber threats. The ASEAN Safeguard is designed to support them on their journey towards full software legalization.
Data from BSA members, including IBM and McAfee, show that cybersecurity threats in Southeast Asia are exacerbated by the widespread use of unlicensed software, which are often packaged with malware or contain security vulnerabilities that leave devices open to attack. According to the BSA, 64% of companies in the Philippines are estimated to be using unlicensed software.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically changed how people work, BSA has made cybersecurity our primary focus in the ASEAN region,” said Tarun Sawney, senior director, BSA. “With the rise in teleworking via online platforms and the normalization of work-from-home policies, businesses are exposed to higher risks of cyber fraud than ever before, and these online attacks have become more complex and damaging. The ASEAN Safeguard initiative seeks to promote the use of licensed software among businesses, support them throughout the software licensing process, and help them prevent cyberattack damage.”
BSA has launched a landing page that displays randomized fact cards that describe the dangers of using unlicensed software. Visitors to the page can choose to learn more, prompting another fact card, or book an appointment with a consultant. The landing page is available in English, Thai, Vietnamese, and Bahasa Indonesia, and consultations will be conducted with local BSA representatives using the local language.
The consultations will begin with an introduction to the program, after which the organization’s representative will be asked to fill in a confidential software inventory survey detailing the software and licenses that are currently installed on their company’s devices. Following the survey, BSA will check the validity of the provided license keys to determine the organization’s “licensing gap” and connect them with official suppliers from whom they can buy the appropriate licenses.
Last July, BSA released an informative ebook designed to educate ASEAN businesses on how the crisis has made them more vulnerable to online threats and offer advice on the best ways to combat those threats. In addition to recommendations on best practices and employee training, the ebook describes using fully licensed software as “a crucial step in protecting against malware attacks.”
Government representatives in each target country have also given their support to the ebook and the broader Legalize and Protect campaign’s efforts to aid economic recovery while encouraging businesses to comply with intellectual property laws. This support continues for ASEAN Safeguard. In the Philippines, BSA is working together with the Optical Media Board (OMB) to ensure businesses are using only legal software.
“Right now, in the middle of this chaos, I assure you that OMB remains unwavering in its conviction to protect and promote intellectual property rights,” said Atty. Anselmo Adriano, OMB Chairman and CEO. “Together with our partners, especially BSA, we are hopeful that our message will be heard, and our call will be heeded.”