It goes without saying that keeping a business compliant with the law is a big responsibility for any owner. But, despite their best efforts, many business owners fall on the wrong side of the law by failing to adhere to legal agreements after purchasing licensed software.
Without a robust software license management policy in place, it’s easy to forget which of your software is legally licensed and which isn’t. Being caught using unlicensed software typically results in heavy fines and could even end with your company getting dragged into a lawsuit.
With a clear process, software license management becomes far easier to stay on top of and will enable your business to maintain its compliance obligations at all times. Take a look at our guide to learn how you can implement your own software license policy or head over to our Tech page to find more of our recent articles there.
What you’ll need before implementing a software license policy
Software asset management tool – Being able to accurately keep track of your software and the licenses that go with them is going to make or break your entire policy. Thankfully, there’s a wide range of software asset management tools on the market with some free options available too. Some popular choices include: Flexera Software’s FlexNet Manager and Microsoft’s Software Asset Management.
Software license auditor tool – An auditor tool makes identifying deployed licenses across your entire network a quick and easy process. The tool will branch out across your network before reporting back on how many installed licenses they are on your network as a whole. However, it’s important that you aim to find an auditor tool that’s capable of connecting through APIs with your chosen software management tool if possible.
Asset inventory – It’s extremely important that you have a complete overview of your asset inventory before you start moving into license management. You’ll need to create an inventory that accounts for every system at your company and identify the ‘owner’ of each system (the person who is accountable for software installations).
Compliance process – To make sure your software license policy move along smoothly you’ll need to establish a process and hire experienced license managers. The whole point of your software license policy is to stay one step ahead of your license expiration dates, no matter how complex your business’s operations may be.
How to create your policy
Stage 1 – Catalogue the details of your licenses
To kick things off, you’re going to need to precisely identify exactly what software you have legally licensed to your company. However, it’s important to note that this stage could be challenging as there are a number of different license types to take into account.
Some common license types include:
- Named user license – A license that’s tied to a particular name.
- Volume license – A license that allows software to be installed across X systems in relation to the volume amount.
- License under enterprise agreement (EA) – Microsoft-specific software terminology that relates to agreements in excess of 250 licenses.
- Concurrent licenses – Licenses that can be installed on an unlimited amount of systems but only used on a specific number concurrently.
- OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) – A software license that is included with hardware.
Stage 2 – Establish where each license is deployed
After building a better understanding of the licenses that your company owns, you’ll be able to start identifying where each license is deployed. This is where your software license auditor tool will be a great help by speeding up the process.
Stage 3 – Make comparisons with your license data
Once you’ve compiled all the license information from stages one and two you’ll be in a position to evaluate whether your company is legally compliant or not. Carefully compare all of your purchased licenses against what is currently deployed across your company,
Stage 4 – Uninstall software or purchase licenses
It’s entirely possible that you’ll find no breaches in compliance after implementing your software license policy. However, should you find any license that’s not legally purchased you’ll need to either buy a new one or uninstall the offending software immediately.
Creating a robust software license policy and then having the expertise to execute it flawlessly is no easy task. At Saxons, we have years of experience in license policy management and have the skills to help you stay legally compliant at all times. For further information, please contact Saxons today.