Software audits: What can go wrong – 4?

28 Feb 2017 | SAM/SLO

Proving license entitlement and the cloud

In the final blog article on what can cause problems during a software audit we look at proving your license entitlement and the impact of the cloud. If you missed articles 1, 2 or 3 you can find them below.

Proving license entitlement

Understanding the licenses you own and what you are entitled to use sounds simple enough. This can be a significant challenge particularly in complex organizations where license procurement may not be centralized. Evidence of a license purchase could be an email in somebody’s inbox, it could be an electronic record held on a website, or it could be a license certificate. Internal records are often patchy and missing vital information such as Part Number, Description, Quantity Purchased, Agreement information, Maintenance start and end dates etc.

In our experience, you should use several sources of information to reconcile license purchases into a single source of entitlement. Good sources of data include:

• Vendor consumption reports
• Reseller sales order history reports
• Internal procurement data

Once you have an understanding of what licenses you own, this needs to be used to find out which versions of a particular product you are entitled to use. This involves applying upgrades, cross grades, understanding product release dates and maintenance information, to provide a single source of license entitlement.

Many organizations have no, or a fragmented, repository for their entitlements. This, coupled with their being no Definitive Media Library (DML) in place, means that you cannot prove your entitlement to use the software when challenged during an audit.

Obviously, this is very much an issue that can be solved internally. Collecting and collating all entitlements into a central repository that incorporates a DML, will enable you to more fully understand any licensing shortfalls and be able to better react when informed of an audit.

To combat this issue you need a software license management solution which allows you to store all of your license entitlement inside the tool. This allows for a central location for software licensing meaning when an audit strikes your prepared. AssetStudio for Enterprise SAM is one example of a SAM tool which have such capability.

The cloud and software asset management

Many software vendors will sell to you based on the benefits of moving your software to the cloud to reduce the management overhead as well as remove the threat of noncompliance. While this is true, as a user will not be able to access software unless they have a valid license, it does not remove the problem of managing licenses overall.

This is because, to ensure that their employees are never faced with not being able to access the critical software they need to do their job, many organizations over license. While this will make you very popular with the software vendors, it is not good needlessly using your budget this way.

You can rest assured, if during an audit it was found that you had over licensed a particular software title whilst underlicensing another, no accommodation would be made for the over licensed spend and you will still be presented with a full bill for the under licensed title. You therefore need a software asset management tool to optimize on your existing spend.

One final thing to consider in relation to the cloud: not all your software will actually reside there. This means you still have on premise software that needs identifying, managing and correctly licensing.