Technology has become an irreplaceable source of innovation, insight and operational efficiency for companies across the world. However, as new applications and platforms are released, business leaders must carefully weigh the benefits and limitations of different delivery models. Traditionally, enterprises have had to manage individual software licenses for each workstation running a particular application or program, but the rise of cloud computing has upended this dynamic. Now, organizations can equip every employee with the software, web-based applications and advanced features they need without having to juggle hundreds, even thousands of software licenses.
How do software licenses work?
As TechTarget explained, a software license is an agreement between a business and the owner of a software program that outlines specific guidelines for the use and distribution of that resource. This agreement helps prevent enterprises from infringing on the intellectual property of IT vendors — if a company were to redistribute or copy a piece of software without permission, the developer would likely take legal action to protect their intellectual property. For businesses, software licenses answer three key questions:
- Where can software programs be installed, and how often?
- Can companies copy, modify or redistribute the software?
- Are internal IT teams allowed to review the underlying code?
While every software licensing agreement is different, most major vendors allow organizations to purchase bulk licenses for proprietary products. These enterprise software licenses only come with a single activation key, which helps streamline the installation process and makes it easier to manage large workforces. But what about deploying licensed software packages and updates?
Deploying licensed software packages
No piece of software is ever completely self-sufficient. Companies rely on a patchwork of solutions to manage their customers, finances, technologies and daily operations. Of course, this can make it quite difficult to proactively manage software licenses for each workstation and end user. According to research from Blissfully, the average employee uses at least 8 different software programs and applications to complete critical work-related tasks. If these programs aren’t kept up to date, end users can experience severe performance degradation and unplanned downtime that may impact their employer’s bottom line.
As more companies move toward remote work environments, managing software updates and license agreements has become even more challenging. For one, IT administrators no longer have direct access to employee workstations, making it much harder to verify software versions and deploy important patches. This lack of visibility also introduces a variety of cybersecurity concerns: Without complete oversight and control of licensed software packages, companies can unknowingly introduce gaps into their network defenses. This is because unpatched vulnerabilities — such as those that enabled the WannaCry ransomware spree of 2017 — can be leveraged to hijack remote code execution protocols and steal sensitive information.
Software companies and large IT firms like Microsoft are constantly releasing code fixes, security updates and new features that help make their programs more efficient and secure. Staying on top of these updates is crucial, especially for companies that employ off-site workers and must adhere to strict industry regulations. In many cases, these end users work on computers that are completely off the network, meaning IT administrators won’t be able to easily monitor their activity or make necessary adjustments.
To offset the risk of zero-day exploits and unplanned downtime, companies are integrating new solutions that help streamline the installation and management of licensed software packages. These platforms are often based in the cloud, allowing IT leaders to gain a big picture view of employee hardware and the software installed on every workstation. As a result, IT administrators across industry lines have been able to automate third-party application patching and remove the need for end-user intervention.
Streamline licensed software package deployment with Faronics
Faronics’ Deploy application empowers businesses to take complete control over their evolving IT environments by making it easier to monitor, patch and manage off-network computers. Using Deploy, IT administrators can automate updates for Windows and Mac devices, popular business apps like Adobe Suite and more. Once installed, organizations can scan all devices for their current versions and send out licensed software packages in batches or to individual workstations. This can not only help cut down on low priority IT tickets related to OS or app updates, but it can also reduce the burden placed on your internal IT staff.
Thanks to Deploy’s remote control features, organizations can maintain software license compliance while providing every employee with the programs they need to get the job done. Authorized administrators can remote in over the web via RDP or VNC, making it easier to manage off-site computers. Enterprises with a global footprint also benefit from Deploy’s cloud-based architecture: No matter where your IT teams are located, they can access the centralized management console and send licensed software packages with ease.
With application-level control over essential updates, your company can also maintain a secure testing environment for new patches. Once approved, updates can be immediately pushed to select devices without end users’ direct involvement, which can help prevent human error from holding your organization back.