What is software license management?

Home » Blog » What is software license management?

2 jun, 2023

All software, whether installed on a phone, laptop, server, or used in the cloud, requires a license. Even software that is considered “free” (that is, software that can be freely distributed and modified) comes with a license agreement. A license sets the terms for using the software, including who can use the software, for how long, what levels of access users have to the source code, and more. These license agreements are displayed when a user first launches the application (often in the form of an EULA, End User License Agreement) or are included with the distribution medium, such as in the downloaded archive file.

What is Software License Management?

Typically, software license management platforms include several elements, including but not limited to auditing, compliance checks, and reporting to decision makers or, in some cases, regulatory authorities.

Software license management platforms can also serve as a central source of information that outlines the differences between different software licensing models. These differences are especially large in open-source software and cloud services.

For example, certain cloud services may charge based on data throughput, bandwidth to an application, processor usage, or (more commonly) the number of end users accessing the service.

In open-source software (more on this subject below), some licenses allow the free use of any element of the provided code without recourse to the developers, while others are more restrictive and, for example, prohibit the disclosure of may require changes to be made. to the code.

Why is software license management important?

Effective management of software licenses ensures that organizations comply with license terms and avoids legal problems. In addition, it helps optimize costs, as companies do not overspend on software licenses and avoid illegal use.

In the case of cloud services, license management is critical to get the most out of the monthly costs of external applications or services. It ensures that the usage of the cloud service remains within the set limits, thus avoiding unexpected costs at the end of the month.

The complexity of software licensing

It’s easy enough for most people to imagine what a piece of software represents: an app on a phone, an icon on the desktop that is double-clicked, or a web-based service that you log into to get work done.

However, the detailed picture is much more complex. For example, on an Android phone, the operating system (Android) is licensed, as is the virtualized Java machine within the operating system. In addition, each app will likely contain several components (often called libraries or frameworks), each with its own licenses.

While it’s seldom necessary to keep track of every single component in minute detail, organizations should be aware that macOS, for example, comes as licensed software, just like the different versions of Windows that run on their desktops. Servers hosted internally or on virtual private servers in the cloud will also be licensed under the various terms commonly associated with Linux-based software.

On a larger scale, software license management platforms will clearly demonstrate their value as they are able to conduct in-depth assessments across an organization’s networks to determine what is running where, what is being used, and facilitate effective management accordingly.

Managing software licenses

There are three basic elements of software license management. The first is the discovery of assets across the vast network. In today’s organizations, that network extends from the LAN to the cloud and includes BYOD devices that appear on the LAN, assuming the devices brought into the company are used for work purposes in some way.

IIoT and IoT devices should also be checked. In fact, everything connected to the corporate network must be cataloged. Cataloging should include both OS and application layers (if separate) and any extensions or add-ons for apps and services deployed across the business.

The second part of the software license management suite compares installed copies of software and hardware against purchased licenses and ensures that the terms of licenses (even the so-called “free” versions) are not violated.

The third element is the continuation of these processes as the activities of the organization continue. As new cloud services are launched or subscribed to, they must be added to the software license catalog. Similarly, license information must be added to or removed from the running registry when personnel leave or join the organization or when hardware devices are retired or acquired. Continued compliance is essential despite the many twists and turns today’s businesses will take as they deploy, operate and change their overall IT stack.

Vidasoft’s specialists support companies in the field of software license management. We map out your licenses, take care of purchasing the necessary licenses and then monitor the licenses.