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Software license management is continuing to become an important subject. Companies have to conduct audits to ensure compliance, but that takes a lot of time and effort. To avoid potential fines and productivity pitfalls, all organizations have to implement a series of best practices.
10 Best Practices for Successful Software License Management
Software license management is easier with software. If you’re interested in the top 10 tools for managing software licenses, you can learn more at Zluri. For now, here are 10 best practices.
1. Define a Software Management Policy
Defining a software management policy is critical for every organization to successfully manage software licenses. The policy should include guidelines for software acquisitions, authorizations, installation, maintenance, and disposal to ensure full compliance with all licensing regulations.
It is essential to establish clear communication lines as to who is responsible for enforcing the policies within your organization. This policy provides a framework that empowers your employees to take responsibility and make well-informed decisions on software management.
2. Inform Management and Employees
Informing management and employees about your software license management policies is necessary for creating a culture of compliance in your workplace. Providing comprehensive training on licensing agreements and the proper use of licensed software is essential.
Developing strong relationships between IT teams and other departments responsible for software usage also ensures that everyone understands the importance of compliance. Educating employees on how to identify unauthorized software can limit security breaches.
3. Create an Inventory of Your Software
Creating an inventory of software assets helps businesses determine what licenses are needed, what applications are outdated or unused, and where licensing costs can be reduced. A comprehensive inventory that documents all of the software installed is vital for compliance.
Not only that, but underutilized licenses may suggest software training isn’t tailored to its users. By maintaining proper software asset management, companies avoid duplicate purchasing and wasted spending with upgrade fees and reduce the risk of being accidentally non-compliant.
4. Uninstall Any Old or Outdated Applications
Uninstalling old or outdated software applications is an essential aspect of managing software licenses. Companies that continue to operate under obsolete versions run the risk of becoming non-compliant with licensing agreements and paying higher fees due to heavier usage metrics.
Without proper upgrades, businesses may be liable for increased security risks as unsupported software often lack overall patch management, including critical vulnerabilities. Understanding this risk, it’s recommended that IT teams have the latest available version of licensed software.
5. File Software Licensing Agreements
Filing software licensing agreements will help companies maintain proper documentation of licenses and compliance with contractual obligations. These documents should specify the number of licenses purchased, where they can be installed, authorized users, and more.
Filing in a centralized location helps IT teams keep track of licenses across various vendors and avoid overspending on challenges related to maintaining a comprehensive inventory. In addition to this, businesses need to continually review these agreements against current licensing needs.
6. Perform Checks for Audit Compliance
Checking software licensing compliance requires regular monitoring, tracking, and auditing to ensure that the policies are adhered to. IT teams must regularly review the current license inventory for any discrepancies or gaps between actual usage vs. purchased licenses.
Regular compliance auditing helps to uncover breaches in license agreements, which can result in penalties or legal fines, leading to loss of productivity and income. It’s recommended to invest in automatic license monitoring so you know the instant your license agreements are expired.
7. Only Use the Latest Approved Versions
Using only the latest approved versions is another way to maintain compliance with licensing agreements, optimize functionality, and reduce technical issues. Outdated versions can lead to vulnerabilities, malfunctions, and other security concerns in applications that are unsupported.
By keeping software updates current and carefully selecting which upgrades are needed, organizations can save money. Not only that, but they can also avoid running under-budgeted configurations that might lead to an audit non-compliance issue or even a cybersecurity attack.
8. Implement Compliance-Based Policies
Implementing compliance-based policies ensures that your organization conforms to licensing agreements and industry standards by managing software asset management. After all, running a non-compliant organization can expose your business to both legal and operational risks.
Adopting proactive measures that prioritize license ownership within the organization ensures continuous awareness of security threats. It also helps you adhere to software configuration baseline procedures and allows you to centralize configurations for quick identification.
9. Make License Compliance a Business Strategy
Making license compliance a business strategy allows companies to take control of their software inventory management, reduce licensing costs, and avoid legal penalties. Rather than being reactive, organizations should add license compliance as part of their overall IT strategy.
Managing license ownership holistically empowers startups with quick risk identification by predicting potential breaches in advance of audits and proactively addressing them. This ensures that all stakeholders sign off on the organization’s compliance policies effectively.
10. Adapt to User Requirements (like BYOD)
Adapting to user requirements, like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), introduces complexities to software license management. Still, IT teams need to put flexible systems in place for long-term success. In the end, they need to find a balance between compliance risk and user convenience.
Usage patterns of licensed software vary across a wide range of devices and operating systems. This means that your business should have policies that permit users’ work devices, even if they don’t own them, as long as the same license is not installed on multiple devices.
Implementing a successful software license management policy isn’t an easy task, but with these 10 best practices, you’ll be on your way to a more compliant company. Just be sure to utilize the best software license management tools out there to support your business.