The demand for transparency into IT operations and infrastructure has long been an important task for businesses. This is particularly true when it comes to the visibility of networked hardware and software assets. With transparency into the network, IT professionals are able to proactively monitor application usage rates, better manage resources, optimize asset value and satisfy license compliance requirements. 
Tracking licenses and managing software compliance are particular areas of growing concern for companies today. License types are proliferating and becoming more complex, specifically with new open source licenses and user-based pricing models. Cloud and communication technologies have enabled organizations to operate remote office and branch locations, leading to a sprawled and decentralized IT. As a result, license management and monitoring has become increasingly challenging and time-consuming.

Adding to this complexity, virtualization — which mid-size companies are rapidly adopting and implementing into their data centers — has made it easy to replicate server images containing licensed software, allowing employees to utilize unlicensed software illegally.
Architect in Contemplation 
Organizations like Business Software Alliance (BSA) and Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) aggressively combat software piracy, even offering large incentives for information about compliance violators. To those perpetrators the fines can be hefty. The risk of software audits to an organization operating unlicensed applications can carry a heavy price tag.


R/x for license and compliance woes
There are ways to protect your organization from the challenges of software licensing, and it begins with IT taking a proactive stance to management rather than constantly reacting to fire drills. It all starts with the establishment of a strict licensing policy that includes all sponsored, supported, approved and prohibited software. The policy must consider the gamut of consumption models and should be explained to all existing and future employees.

Organizations must also have an up-to-date and reliable inventory of all installed software on the network. Particularly for companies with several remote locations, centralized management for this task is essential. Once IT has a clear map of the software environment, it is their duty to collect and maintain the records of all their software licenses in the event of an audit.

Since application software is frequently updated, a single title may have numerous versions within IT’s inventory. Organizations should run regular reports matching licenses to installed software, and then use the reports to monitor unused and overused licenses. This will allow IT to reallocate resources depending on usage patterns.

Dell KACE makes it easy
Monitoring software activity for every PC on the network can be a tall task for IT, even for small organizations with fewer end-points. Fortunately, Dell KACE Asset Management Appliance helps companies of all size implement software license compliance. Its proactive approach allows companies to detect issues in real-time, allowing time to remedy a situation before an audit.

Dell KACE utilizes device discovery, software inventory, compliance assessment, and software version management to ensure that unlicensed software is detected immediately and reported and that IT is notified. Along with safeguarding against piracy charges, KACE helps reallocate underutilized software applications in order for IT to achieve optimized value from software assets.

For more information on this innovative approach to license management and compliance, click on www.kace.com