The Vietnam Intellectual Property Association (VIPA) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), in co-operation with the Software Alliance (BSA), held a workshop titled “Opportunities for businesses to explore legally and efficiently using software” in Hanoi on August 29.
In his opening remarks, VIPA Chairman Mai Ha said that "As Vietnam integrates internationally, compliance with international laws becomes more imperative".
"This requires businesses, in particular, to closely adhere to laws and observe fair competition rules," he added.
On having a workshop gathering both software corporate users and software companies, Nguyen Thi Thu Hang, VCCI General Secretary, said that actually, many businesses were unaware that most current software companies like PTC, Microsoft, Autodesk, Siemens and others have various policies in place to help businesses use software efficiently.
As cybersecurity attacks targeting major Vietnamese organisations and businesses are increasing, Gary Gan, director of the Compliance program for Asia-Pacific, BSA, underscored that there was strong connection between the use of illegal or unlicensed software and malware attacks or cyberattacks.
“The first advice for Vietnamese businesses is to use licensed software. This enables you to have the latest patches from the software companies, regardless of which ones you use whether it is Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, etc. This will allow you to first of all be quick in identifying a cyberattack when it happens and able to deal with it effectively.”
The director also detailed the Software Asset Management toolkit that allows companies or businesses to conduct an assessment of the software they have.
“What that means is traditionally, when people think of software, they think it is the responsibility of the management or IT manager. But I would say that now with everyone using mobile phones, laptops and the internet, everyone has access to different types of software, so everyone needs to know what they’re using, how they’re using it, what risks they’re exposing themselves to, and when there’s an instance of an attack, how to identify it quickly and again, be able to deal with it effectively,” he said.
Addressing the workshop, Tran Van Minh, Deputy Inspector General, Ministry of Culture-Sports-Tourism, said that inspection efforts indicated that violation of ownership rights and related rights was still going on, abusing the rights and interests of both domestic and foreign rightful owners, and compromising innovation, economic-cultural-social development of the nation, and its progress of global integration.
“The causes of this mostly come from a lack of awareness, understanding, and particularly a culture of adherence to ownership rights and related rights by relevant organisations and individuals, or inability to recognise the gravity of the problem,” he added.
Minh also said that in 10 years of the Intellectual Property Law being in effect, from 2006 to 2016, the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Culture-Sports-Tourism audited 541 businesses, inspected 27,602 computers, and imposed administrative fines worth VND8.61 billion (US$377.7 million).
Inspection activities took place at 55 businesses, with VND1.38 billion in administrative fines levied in the first eight months of this year alone.
“Enforcement and protection of ownerships and related rights, and ownership rights for computer software in particular, are one of the biggest concerns that require special attention from businesses. Without adequate awareness, businesses may face adverse implications on their operations and challenges in their integration attempts,” Minh accentuated.
In addition to being able to steer clear of legal risks, probably the most important benefit of using licensed software is that it can improve efficiency and information security for businesses.
Reports from the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team from 2016 show a total of 134,375 cyberattacks, 4.2 times higher than in 2015. In the first half of 2017 alone, Vietnamese websites were victims to more than 6,000 instances of cyberattacks.