Get an email similar to this?
While there are a significant number of phishing scams out there right now pretending to be Microsoft, that email and follow-up phone call you got about auditing your Microsoft licenses may actually be legitimate. Your initial reaction to “not trust, verify, and never open” an email with a link and an Excel spreadsheet attached is still correct, so if you got an email from someone that claims to be from Microsoft and you’re not sure if it’s spam or not, email us and we’ll let you know.
If it is legit, the links provided below should match what you received and can be used instead as verification of the username and password provided in the email:
Microsoft License Baseline Certification:
Microsoft Online Deployment Summary:
Why Does Microsoft Want to Know?
Microsoft is on an ongoing mission to crack down on pirated and unverifiable ownership of software licensing, and no business is too small to avoid scrutiny. They are more than happy for you to buy new licensing, especially subscriptions to Office products to replace those licenses you can’t find or verify.
What Does Microsoft Want to Know?
Essentially, Microsoft wants to know if you’re squared up with them. The Microsoft audit team wants you to report back on how many instances of Windows, Office, and server products you have installed and what their corresponding licenses are. This is how you can prove you legally acquired your software and that the licenses are still active. Microsoft wants you to locate all this information and load it into a web portal. If you acquired any Microsoft licensing through Volume Licensing, that may prepopulate in the portal.
How Do I Find My Microsoft Licensing Information?
Well, this is the tricky part, and usually why our clients call us.
If you worked with a Microsoft authorized reseller like Mirazon, you probably got your critical server licensing and Client Access Licenses (CALs) through the Volume Licensing program or similar, and it’ll prepopulate for you. That licensing should also be visible to you on the Volume Licensing Service Center.
Your workstations, however, are more likely OEM licenses that were preinstalled on the systems when you purchased them. Those will require showing purchase history or physical license keys. Whether that was a local Microsoft authorized reseller, your local big box PC retailer, or the neighborhood mom-and-pop PC shop, no matter where you bought it. There should be paperwork included in the box with the license keys you need and supporting proof of purchase. Unfortunately, that typically means digging into that drawer full of licenses you thought you may never need or worse — realizing someone threw all of that away.
Here are a few examples of what your proof of licensing may have looked like:
I Need Help
The first step to resolving a problem is admitting you have one. If you didn’t keep good track of your licensing or you don’t know how to begin, we’re not new to this. We can get into your network and run reports to pull information on your Office, Windows, and server products. The reports include versioning and even installed license keys.
From there, we can act as a liaison with Microsoft, fill out your paperwork and guide you through the process – even if that means getting you up to compliance with Microsoft. If our analysis finds that you are using Microsoft’s software without proper licensing, we can easily help you get the licenses you need.
So, don’t fret. And for the love of Microsoft, hold onto your license keys!
Here is a more in-depth walkthrough of how we engage with a client for Microsoft self-audits.