Software License Management

Software License Management or SLM refers to the process of tracking and documenting software deployments within an organization, as well as where and how they are used.

Why Every Business Needs a Robust Software License Management Capability

Just like film, music, and books, software development is considered creative work and is protected by copyright law under Title 17 of the US Code. Therefore, users must obtain a software license to use the application. Software licensing allows end-users to gain access to software, while ownership rights remain with the software developer.

In the digital age, nearly every organization is supported by software one way or another. To ensure legal, compliant use of software in on-premises, cloud, and mobile settings, IT teams must actively track software license agreements and software deployments across the entire organization. This practice can also help businesses keep software costs under control.

If you are a small business, you may get away with using an Excel spreadsheet to maintain an up-to-date inventory of software licenses manually for a while. However, as the business grows and the purchase of software is spread across multiple parties, managing and keeping track of software licenses gradually gets more complex. A more robust solution is needed.

What is Software License Management?

Simply put, Software License Management or SLM refers to the process of tracking and documenting software deployments within an organization, as well as where and how they are used. SLM is aimed at helping organizations monitor and maintain software licenses. It helps businesses maximize software use and ensure they are complying with the terms and conditions of each license.

SLM is one of the most important functions performed by IT. Your IT team tracks license use according to user or service, ensures compliance with licensing terms, and maintains registration fees. Most importantly, your IT team determines the relevance for each license to help the business remain efficient and avoid wasting company money on unnecessary software.

Every piece of software comes with a license attached to it. The license spells out what you can and cannot do with the software. A typical enterprise license or End-User License Agreement (EULA) specifies the number of licenses a company has purchased, how they translate into allowed installations, and what happens if the business consumes more licenses than it pays for.

Why Software License Management Is Important

For as long as software has been in existence, there has been the need for a support system that can help manage the software through its lifecycle. Software License Management provides that support system. Effective Software License Management delivers a wide range of benefits to IT teams and the organization as a whole. Some of these benefits include:

Cost Optimization

Cost optimization is one of the key benefits of software license management. SML gives you a clear, consolidated view of your software licenses and how they are being used within the organization. When you know who’s using what license — along with when, why, and how — you’ll know when resources are being wasted.

You may find that certain aspects of the license are unused, meaning that you are paying for underutilized software. One of the most effective ways for organizations of all sizes to avoid the cost of unused software is to have a robust Software License Management capability.

Software license management gives you complete visibility into your software use, allowing you to drive spending and cost reduction while maximizing value.

Efficiency

In addition to cutting costs and increasing profits, software license management can also help organizations improve operational efficiency. Software license management automates software lifecycles, freeing up time and valuable resources for everyone involved. Employees get more time to focus on strategic goals.

Additionally, software license management provides raw data, making it easier for managers to gather the information they need to make essential business decisions. Overall, SML makes your business more efficient.

Compliance

The ins and outs of an organization’s various software license agreements and ensuring enterprise-wide compliance can be a headache for IT professionals. Ensuring software compliance and getting ready for potential audits will be particularly challenging if you don’t have the entire lay of the land vis-à-vis your organization’s software estate.

That’s where software license management tools step in. With a clear view of the company’s various licenses, you always tell when some licenses are being used improperly. SML can help you ensure that software is used as intended and as allowed by the vendor.

Having a strong software licenses management capability is key to ensuring that all the applications and services you use comply with software licenses. Your organization can avoid crippling fines and potential legal trouble associated with non-compliance.

Cybersecurity

In the age of the internet, cybersecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses all over the world. Organizations, large and small, have to take every measure to mitigate risks and avert threats. Software licenses management can help organizations reduce threats and protect themselves from cyberattacks.

Out-of-date software comes with a host of security vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Old software and outdated security features create entry points for ransomware and other threats. Effective software license management can help you identify, reduce, or even eliminate inadequately protected software from your system.

Consequences of Poor Software License Management

The lack of a proper Software License Management system can have detrimental effects on any organization, large or small. The risk of failing software audits due to improper use of the software is by far the most damaging. Misuse of software may expose an organization to potential fines to the tune of several million dollars.

As you can see, Software License Management is key to running an efficient business. SLM can help your organization optimize costs, improve operational efficiency, mitigate risks, and increase visibility into your software deployments / digital assets. Without a proper Software License Management system, though, the consequences can be pretty devastating.

Wrapping Up

License management is becoming increasingly complex as software use proliferates throughout businesses and moves from on-premises to the cloud. Using unlicensed software, or not adhering to stipulations set by the EULA, can lead to huge fines or even legal problems. Effective software license management can help make sure that all software products are used in compliance with corresponding software licenses.

Need help with managing license agreements or compliance? Contact us today or give us a call at (301) 664-6800 to speak to one of our software license management experts.