The current hybrid work environment is helping businesses reimagine and accelerate their digital transformation journeys. At the same time, challenges around cybersecurity in today’s interconnected world are real. Businesses need to think about how they will proactively protect their organizations from the influx of new or ‘bring your own’ (BYO) connected devices. Small and medium businesses in India are exposed to 180 per cent more ransomware, 79 per cent more malware, 300 per cent more cryptocurrency mining, and 11 per cent more drive-by download attacks than the global average.

Among the common mistakes, unlicensed software can have serious ramifications for businesses. This might have viruses and inadequate security measures that leave devices exposed to cyber-threats.

These risks include, but are not limited to, identity theft, stolen credit card or bank details, data loss, business disruption, and material or reputation damage.

Ransomware attacks
Read more about Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019

Purchasing genuine software for small businesses can be tricky but small and medium businesses in India can stay real by following these simple steps below:

7 Ways to Stay Protected
To avoid becoming a victim of counterfeiters, here are 7 things to keep in mind, while purchasing genuine software:

Buy from trusted vendors and software resellers: When purchasing software, make sure it is from a credible source. A trusted reseller or the official online store are your best options. 

Use only licensed software: Ensure that the software is properly licensed, whether it is Official Windows or Office.

Be wary of prices that are too good to be true: Don’t fall into the trap of discounts and cheaper software packages. You may end up paying much more in recovering lost data or in legal damages., in case of counterfeit software.

Check the product key source: For digital downloads, make sure the product key comes from a trusted vendor and software reseller and not from any unknown online forum  or unverified email.

If you purchase through a physical store, make sure you double check the packaging: Make sure the packaging of the product includes an authentic logo, hologram and brand name. Beware of standalone product key cards without proper packaging; they don’t grant the right to use Microsoft software.

Make sure the product packaging hasn’t already been opened before: The package of authentic, new products is always sealed to ensure first-time use.

Stay up to date: Regularly updating your software helps protect you from potential hackers and viruses. 

How to Identify Counterfeits

There’s been an increase in the amount of pirated and counterfeit software being manufactured and distributed in recent years. To check if the software you are buying is genuine, keep the three P’s in mind, Packaging – look at the product packaging closely, a genuine product will not have blurry texts, spelling errors, or incorrect logos.

Product Authenticity: Before you hit the download button, check the source of the website, avoid auction sites, and peer-to-peer file sharing sites.

Product label: A genuine Microsoft software will always have a Certificate of Authenticity label, embedded hologram and a 25-character unique product key. Be wise and validate all three Ps before buying any Microsoft Software. 

When in trouble: Customers who find they were duped by counterfeit Microsoft Office software can file a Counterfeit Software Report at and share information about the software, including details about where it was purchased or offered.

You might be requested for some optional personal information to help in taking appropriate action against businesses who sell counterfeit software.

Also Read: PayPal partners with FlexiLoans to offer MSMEs collateral-free term loans

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