January 8, 2021

Licensing Management

Broadly, “software license management” refers to the processes and tools your business uses to control and document the software products your business uses, and where and how they are used. SLM is essential to ensure your business complies with every relevant enterprise license and end-user license agreement (EULA). If you are unsure about your needs, a licensing audit can be done.

More specifically, software licenses lay down the contractual particulars and specifics that govern how software may be used and how its provider is to be compensated. A typical agreement specifies the number of licenses purchased, how those purchases translate into permitted installations, and what happens if licenses consumed exceeds those purchased. Effective SLM tracks all of this and delivers features that can help your business avoid non-compliance with your software licenses, and the penalties that accompany each compliance breach.

Virtually all software has some type of license attached, whether the program is installed directly on the desktop or digital device, is part of an expensive enterprise license suite, or part of the complex data center eco-system. One of the first steps you must take in license management is to understand your contractual terms related to the type of software licenses your company is using. License types vary by platform and are somewhat standardized, though vary by an organization’s and vendor’s negotiated contracts.

Typical types include:

* Per device or CPU: only intended for a single machine whether it is an end user or data center device
* Per user: restricted to one specific user who can use it on multiple devices (like their desktop and laptop), requires the user to log in to confirm their identity
* Per network: covers all machines that are on a single specific network
* Per subscription: managed by a subscription for user or device, usually has an expiration date
* General Public License (GPL): covers software that comes with no charge and can be used, shared, copied, and modified for free (freeware)
* Database: While often aligned to device, database licensing types demand special consideration due to the high cost and complex licensing constructs that differ by vendor and may include number of servers or cores, running versus installed databases, all you can consume licensing and others. Compliance and true-ups are also complicated by the deployed models that include high availability, fail-over and pluggable databases. Vendors change their models frequently and staying in tune with the marketplace to ensuring ongoing compliance can be time an arduous, ongoing task. Patch Management may also be needed.

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