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.
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 Web site, 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.
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.
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.
This article (and the 3 preceding ones) are taken from our white paper: The Certero guide to software audits. To obtain a copy of this white paper