Software compliance

Software License - A Brief Introduction

A software license is a legal document produced by the software publishers or distributors that provides rules and guidelines on the usage and distribution of the software. This document usually contains terms and conditions, restrictions, limitations, and disclaimers. Software license management is part of software asset management, which involves tracking, documenting, and controlling how and where software is used in your organization. A license management tool can assist you in complying with license agreements, i.e., end-user license agreements (EULA).

Software Compliance - How important is it to an enterprise?

According to this study, 69 percent of IT executives are not confident in their compliance with their software licensing agreements. With software compliance rules getting more strict, it's become crucial to ensure unlicensed software is not part of your organization. This can be achieved by following these steps:

  • Maintaining an up-to-date software inventory: Having complete visibility over the software installed within your network is imperative for achieving software compliance. To monitor and gain visibility on all software installations within the network, you need to run software inventory scans regularly.
  • Real-time alerts for non-compliance: Set up real-time alerts for when you're under-licensed, so you can take action right away.
  • Prohibit non-business applications: You can block non-business applications within your network to avoid running into surprises.
  • Perform internal software license audits: With frequent internal audits, you can be confident that you are adequately licensed and avoid unexpected fines.

Achieving software license compliance is just one aspect of software license management. Managing software licenses also entails optimizing license usage to reduce IT expenditure. This can be achieved by:

  • Monitoring the use of commercial applications to determine whether the licenses are being used efficiently.
  • Cutting down costs by uninstalling applications from systems where they're not being used.
  • Renewing licenses based on software usage statistics.

How does Desktop Central help in software license management?

Desktop Central's Software License Management tool, a part of IT asset management, empowers you to carry out all the above mentioned activities in just a few clicks and helps keep software licensing issues in your company at bay.

Up To Date Software Inventory

Software inventory report table with the license information

Desktop Central's IT Asset Management software scans the network periodically to detect new software installed/uninstalled within your network. This is done via differential asset scanning and hence allows you to stay up-to-date at all times without utilizing excessive bandwidth within your network.

Software License Compliance Reports

Desktop Central helps simplify software license management using the following built-in reports:

  1. Software License Compliance Report: This report gives you details on the commercial software with their software license compliance status. The software license compliance status is determined based on the input provided in the Manage Software Licenses section.
  2. Table with number of units of software purchased and their corresponding license compliance status.
  3. Software Licenses to be Renewed Report: This report provides the list of software whose licenses have to be renewed soon (you can specify the time period). You can also view the software licenses that have already expired by selecting appropriate options.
  4. Based on the software metering and the usage statistics, you can decide whether or not to renew the licenses.

Software License Compliance Alerts

You can configure email alerts and stay informed on the Inventory dynamics in your organization. Alerts can be generated to notify:

  1. Non-compliance of software licensing policy (over licensed or under licensed).
  2. When software is being used post its license validity.
  3. When the software license usage falls below a specified limit.

Why do businesses need to be software license compliant?

While purchasing a software, every enterprise agrees to the licensing agreement provided by the software publishers. Software compliance is following those rules and regulations while using the software. Software publishers (such as Adobe, Microsoft) periodically audit their clients' environments to detect, control and prevent piracy, copyright infringement and illegal use of software. To fail one of these audits might mean irreversible damage to a business' reputation, hefty fines, and potential legal action. Hence, to avoid the consequences of failing a compliance audit, enterprises need to ensure software license compliance at all times. This can be achieved with the help of license management software.

Software license management - Best Practices

  1. Discover installed software - The first step to software license management is to identify all the software applications installed in your network. Run an inventory scan on all the endpoints in your network, with the help of an Inventory tool. This will provide a clear view of all the commercial and non-commercial software installed.
  2. Software license management - A software license management tool can help you maintain and store the expiry details, proof of purchase, invoice and other important details associated with the licenses purchased. Although it is a time-consuming process, it will save you in the time of an audit.
  3. Input and store - It is recommended to update the entirety of the licensed software across a network periodically. An easy way to do this is by uploading the license details in the form of CSV files containing the Product Name, Manufacturer, Version, License Owner, No. of licenses purchased, License Name, Licensed To, Purchased Date, Expired Date, License Key fields separated by comma. This can reduce the time and effort involved.
  4. Schedule reports - Using the software license management tool, configure and schedule reports to manage licensed software usage. This feature will provide a clear view of the number of used and unused licenses. This will assist you in utilizing the purchased licenses in a better fashion. By monitoring the usage metrics, the cost spent on unused licenses can be reduced.
  5. Group software - When you have different versions of a software installed in a network, you can group them together and add the license details for that particular group. This makes it easier to manage software licenses purchased and view the versions of that software that are in use in the network.

Learn more about software license management and software license compliance here.