One thing many of you who bypass these restrictions don't understand is that it is also opening the company up to liability every time you install unauthorized software. I am one of those "techies" that won't install the software and it has nothing to do with the user or the support time/cost involved. Let's face it, if that were the case, many enterprising support personnel would try to add as much as possible to actually make/keep business friends and at the same time guarantee their jobs. At work we lost 40% of our staff due to layoffs because the standardization of the desktops made us too efficient. Business people understand the efficiency and layoffs contribute to a healthier bottom-line, but few if any understand how that is achieved. Further, if you tell them that they can't have such and such software anymore to achieve that efficiency, many complain. And the higher that goes, the more loudly they complain.
Getting back to the point, the reason no deskside tech in their right mind will install software is due to the liability in 1) Licensing, 2) Malware, & 3) Productivity, in roughly that order. I can not begin to tell you the number of times people asked me to install software because of any number of reasons, most of which are NOT legal. Mostly it was simply they had it installed before and want it again. While this MAY be okay, in one case in particular, it was not. This case is with SnagIt and is a fairly indicative example. They would have a version of SnagIt which was Shareware (version 4 I think, but don't quote me). Then they would want me to install version 8 because it was the latest version. However, not only did they not purchase the shareware in violation of the license, but the newer version was not even offered under the same license. The version they were requesting was not even shareware, and they wanted it without a license or corporate approval.
Other examples include software that is licensed for personal use, but used for business use. Admittedly, as a tech, I have done that with at least one piece of software, but I specifically got written authorization from the company themselves and kept that proof. However, most people don't even take that little step. If I, as the tech, can't verify that it can be on any corporate machine (either through corporate licenses, or written declairation of legal free use for commercial purposes), I won't touch that software on a corporate computer, much less install and allow use of it. What happens when the software company comes knocking asking for proof of licensing? Do you think the individuals like yourself are going to say, "Yeah, I authorized it knowing that the company didn't pay for it"? Not on your life. When Attachemate came to our company looking for that kind of proof, it cost us dearly. The end result was nearly a million dollar settlement agreement not including the costs of legal proceedings, negotiations, discovery costs, and lost productivity due to changing of software. While no $$$ estimate was made, I would be surprised if the overall costs were under $10 Million. And, of course, that does not include the defamation costs that may have occurred.
While many people can understand the issues with tracking and maintaining hundreds of machines as a reason for standardization, this is only secondary to the more amorphous, but also more hazardous reason for these policies. And yet it amazes me to see how far people will go out of their way to try and get around them.
Without making this (unintentional) missive too much longer, I only have this to say: If the software is good and worth while, make a use case for the software proving it's utility in monetary form. Compare that to the cost of the software. Break all this down with various prices already gathered (corporate site license, corporate volume license, corporate individual license, etc.) and provide it to your manager, your purchasing group, and your tech group all together. If it is freeware in any form, make sure you get a letter from the software author or from their website specifically marking it as free for commercial use. Make the tech group's job of shutting you down as difficult as possible, such that the only justification they can make is to prove it conflicts with other, more important software. I know it is a slow process, but that is the best way to get software onto your system and it would release you and the "techies" from any liability from use of the software.