Understand your software license data to ensure you are reporting correctly
A software license comes in a multitude of forms and from a multitude of suppliers. Proving your entitlement to use this software and understanding the license granted is key to drawing a license compliance position. From Original Equipment Manufacturer licenses (OEM) granted with a hardware purchase, through to Full Packaged Product (FPP) and Site licenses. When confronted with a vendor audit you will need to have a good understanding of your license entitlement, not just in terms of the quantity of licenses you are authorised to use, but also the terms and conditions around the use of those licenses.
The devil’s in the detail
FPP licenses (aka shrink wrapped software) and also software downloaded via the web, is generally governed by a standard end user license agreement and seen more frequently within small and medium sized enterprises. However, if your install base is dated or has been upgraded it is likely that this license type is in place or could be required. Vendors have typically improved their licensing records over the years, but software purchased some time ago, or via a reseller, could be missing from their records and therefore from any audit position delivered. Not only is it then important to prove your purchase, but it is also important if your more current software licenses have been purchased as upgrades to these older licenses. Without proof of a base license your upgrade license may not be valid. Proof of purchase in some cases will be the packaging of the product itself, which includes the certificate of authentication / license agreement.
Software as a Service must be managed
Utilizing Software as a Service (SaaS) may be seen as a way around having to manage your software to such a level, but actually this type of contract still requires you to ensure that the agreement signed is fit for purpose and you understand and abide by the type of use permitted. A vendor will not necessarily exclude this software from an audit scope due to it being hosted elsewhere.
A central repository for software licensing data
Preparation is key when it comes to a software vendor audit. Proof of a software license purchase is often as simple as an email confirmation from the vendor, but can be as complex as a master agreement with subsequent addendums and appendices spanning multiple countries. It is this complete set of information that you need when being audited, without it you do not have the full picture. License Manager, License Dashboard’s software management solution, can be used as a central repository for this data, or simply to reflect quantities of entitlement. Rules can be set around how a license can be utilized within License Manager (which helps managing the intricacies of some software). Reconciling your deployment data / usage within License Manager can then be governed more easily. Processes to manage this information are becoming part of an ongoing software asset management program for most companies, however should you need any help or wish to discuss utilizing License Manager, please get in touch.Tags: software licensing