Software Licensing Management Tools

Whether you only own a single personal computer or manage an entire network of PCs, you are probably well aware that software licensing management for proprietary programs can present a major annual headache. However, the market has responded with plenty of software licensing management tools for just about every type of administrator out there, so it has become easier than ever to keep tabs on these vital proprietary programs that so many of us rely on from day to day. With that said, it always pays to do your research before you install any type of program to your system, and software licensing management tools are no exception.

To begin your search, get an idea of how many proprietary software programs you have in total, as well as how many workstations are in your network. Next, enter the phrase software licensing management program reviews, as well as the name and version of your OS, into a search engine query. Look through the results until you find a software licensing management program that is suitable for the scope of your particular needs and is fully compatible with the system you have. You may need more than one type of software licensing management program if there happens to be more than one type of OS on your network.

In addition, you should also look closely at the features that each software licensing management program provides. Any software licensing management program worth its salt should be able to store previous licensing keys and other pertinent history on each program you have, and the best kinds of software licensing management programs allow you to enter bank account or credit card information immediately for painless auto renewal. Choose the most reliable and feature rich software licensing management program you can find, and your administrative duties should be that much easier going forward!

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Why To Get A Microsoft Software Inventory Analyzer

If you have ever been curious as to what programs and applications may be lurking on your Windows system, downloading and installing a Microsoft software inventory analyzer tool is a great way to get a handle on what you currently have. A typical Microsoft software inventory analyzer tool does exactly what the name implies, scanning your system not only for whichever programs and applications may be on your computer, but also for license information on any proprietary software it may come across. This information can be absolutely invaluable when it comes to updates, upgrades, and other similar projects as well, assuming you have been considering adding a new program with a similar purpose to your system.

However, there are a few things that you should be aware of before downloading and installing any Microsoft software inventory analyzer in particular. First of all, any Microsoft software inventory analyzer that you find should always be known for its reliability. Your analysis is only going to be as good as the software you install, so this is of critical importance. Secondly, you should also make sure that the particular Microsoft software inventory analyzer that you download is fully compatible with the version of Windows that you run. Both of these can usually be determined with a simple online search engine query on the subject. Fire up you favorite search engine, and type in the phrase Microsoft software inventory analyzer reviews, as well as the name and version of your Windows OS. You should see plenty of reviews in the results, and make sure that you are getting the very best program possible for all aspects of your system before hitting the download button. This can help you to avoid any major system problems in the future.

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The value of accurate pc audit information

There is intrinsic value in knowing the software installed on a computer, as well as the hardware capabilities of a computer that is being used for business purposes. If there is only a few computers under your supervision, this task might be as simple as taking a pad and a pencil along to write down the programs that you see installed, as well as the memory and disk space both free and in its entirety. Even with a single computer, taking a complete pc audit can be time consuming. A person would have to identify every non-standard program installed in the add and remove programs panel, and then pursue the specific version and service pack level of each software item.

Take this level of inspection and multiply it for those managing larger deployments. Ten computers, one hundred or even a thousand all represent nearly impossible scenarios for a manual pc audit to be performed on each computer system. The results can be quite vital for several different motivating circumstances, so it may be necessary to identify a method of running a pc audit on each system to generate the results that are desired without the expectation that an administrator or other representative from IT would visit each computer individually.

The most viable solution is for the pc audit to be run by some process or program that has the capability of performing a sweep of all connected computers, whether by a service that does so on a regular basis or a one time scan to satisfy a business need for a pc audit, be it to plan an upgrade or satisfy an outside auditor. A pc audit solution in the form of a software that takes action upon your request eliminates the need for any IT personnel to inspect even a single computer that is in use within the corporate network.

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Automatic software license management

Automated software license management is a common practice in the IT industry. It may seem overkill to build a server based application just to monitor and account for software that is installed on computers on a network, but the task of keeping track of software licenses in use remarkably challenging. There are deeply rooted accuracy issues in trying to manage licensing without the use of an automatic process. The manual method of software license management has many opportunities to introduce inaccurate information. The manual method of software license management depends on a technician installing software, but the truth is not every item installed on every computer is installed through proper channels. In many companies, users have power user or even administrator level access and with those right, software can be added to their workstation by either downloading it from the internet or sharing disks among coworkers.

The automatic method of software license management will account for and capture any rogue software that might end up on a workstation regardless of the source. There are also times when a legitimate installation will go unrecorded due to human error, and with an automatic software license management system, all those random installs that slip through the crack will be added to the software license management database and can help to make sure that the company is not at risk of being out of compliance. There are legal risks associated with unlicensed software that can be easily mitigated with a software license management system that actively probes all the computers that it has access to and provides an exact inventory of the software and the versions of that software that can be referenced when purchasing licenses or comparing to existing, allowing administrators to give definitive counts if demanded to do so by an auditor.

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Approach software license tracking before it is too late

At one time or another, every IT department has fought the battle of software license tracking. Keeping track of installed software is challenging at almost every level and no software license tracking system is perfect or has exact results that are guaranteed to be perfect. The effort is the part that counts for some value, though. If it can be shown that a software license tracking policy is in place and that a software license tracking system exists to try to automatically generate reports and associate the installations of software packages with the licenses that are physically owned by the company, then it is clear and evident that the company stance on software license tracking is a conscientious one and that every attempt is made to stay within full compliance.

IT departments who send technicians out to desktop computers with untracked installation disks and shared license keys and make no attempt to truly tie the deployment with a license purchase are blatantly avoiding any for of software license tracking and may fall under scrutiny. There are audits that can take place. Sometimes these audits are part of normal internal corporate housekeeping, but other times audits can come from regulation entities and actually result in penalties or fines for misuse of software. These fines, when compared to the cost for purchasing a license up front, are quite disproportionate and should discourage most IT departments from taking a nonchalant approach to software license tracking.

Keeping software license tracking might be inconvenient, it might not be fun or what anyone wants to do with their time, but it is a serious legal matter and the repercussions of not closely monitoring software license tracking are potentially grim and costly. A moderate effort to establish a solid software license tracking system now can alleviate a great deal of potential grief in the future.

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Tackle software license management issues

One of the biggest challenges in IT lies in accurate software license management. There are many bumps in the proverbial road that can interfere with the accuracy of records that attempt to indicate what software is installed and on what systems. There are commonly used programs out there that profess the ability to do these easily and without regular human intervention. The idea behind software license management system that automate this process is simple: Input the licenses you own for each application and the versions each license authorizes the use of. Then, the software license management server contacts each machine connected to your network and polls the registry for certain data that will then be reported back to the software license management system where it is compared to the actual licenses owned by the company.

This information can be tracked by spreadsheet or by graph, and the software license management system results try to provide exact counts of the amount of software that you are running that is unlicensed. There are some challenges in getting the most accurate data. Due to the fact that there is no standard or requirement for how a program must identify itself and its version, some applications may not report back the version that has been installed. In a situation where end users have the rights necessary to install their own software, trials and timeout versions of software may be installed and be identified as the fully licensed version, incorrectly flagging the machine as consuming a license for that application.

Because of reasons that are out of the control of any software license management system, there may be a small percentage of the data results that is incorrect. However, the risks associated with not keeping up with software license management or trying to do it manually far outweigh the occasional inconsistencies found by running a software license management server.

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Monitoring counts for software licensing

Maintaining accurate software licensing counts depends on a well-maintained software licensing database. This database needs to count all the software in use in a corporate setting regardless of the type or brand of software being tracked. The information will ideally be stored and assigned to the user whose computer it is installed on, so the software licensing can be assigned to the proper department for proper ownership and billing purposes. Departments that purchase software licensing for an application generally like to keep that purchase within their own people.

Interdepartmental software use issues aside, the two primary concerns regarding software licensing reside within the corporate legal department. It may seem that an extra copy of a program installed here or there is not a big deal, but it creates a situation where the company is out of compliance, even if it is a single copy that does not have proper software licensing. One copy here or there can build up over time and exacerbate the issue, so it is best to keep up on software licensing as best as possible.

The database by which software licensing is tracked is best suited when populated by an automated service that is employed by resources on your network. This automation is elemental in keeping exacting levels of software licensing tracking so that there is no chance of an unintentional drift from compliance. If a software suite were to be added to a computer without proper license, the gap would be quickly detected by the software licensing audit program and present to you for correction. The software that was unlicensed could then be removed from the computer on which it was installed. Conversely, the software could be allowed to remain and a license could be purchased to make up for the lack of sufficient software licensing.

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Choosing Software License Tracking Programs

When it comes to choosing software license tracking programs to keep your business on top of annual proprietary license renewals and related tasks, you should first delineate a few basic standards that your software license tracking program of choice has to meet before downloading it to your system. First, you should always make sure that your software license tracking solution is widely known and highly regarded for its consistently high performance and excellent degree of efficacy and reliability. Secondly, your software license tracking program should be fully compatible with your particular operating system. Ignoring this particular point can potentially cause massive system trouble down the line, negating any benefits that the software license tracking software may have afforded you in the first place. Thirdly, your software license tracking program should work effortlessly with each of the various types of proprietary software you plan to have it manage for you. And finally, your software license tracking solution of choice should fit your budget.

Luckily, these qualities can usually be easily determined via a little bit of preliminary research, and a search engine query or two on the subject. First, enter the phrase software license tracking program reviews, as well as the exact version of the OS you plan to use said program on, into your favorite search engine. Look over as many reviews as you can, and choose the best software license tracking solution for your system, needs, and budget. As with any new program, make sure that any software license tracking solution you download meets a high standard before adding it to your system. Doing otherwise can create far more problems than it solves. Once you have installed your software license tracking program of choice to your system, start entering the relevant data into your new program for each piece of proprietary software you need to track. You should be more organized in no time!

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Using PC Audit Software

Many computer end users find themselves a bit lost when it comes to exactly what is on their PC. Even for professional computer techs, it can be a pain to individually check each and every hardware and software component on a given computer, so both end users and pros alike often end up turning to PC audit software in order to get a fast, thorough, and accurate analysis of exactly what is on a given computer. Designed to give you the full specs of the hardware on your system, such as memory and hard drive space left, as well as software specs, such as the particulars of your OS and aftermarket programs you have installed, PC software gives you a readout of it all, and can often make useful suggestions.

For example, after your PC audit is through with its report on your system, many such programs will alert you to missing updates, security patches, et cetera that you might want to download for your protection. PC audit software can also, due to the immense detail that such programs usually return, give you a good idea of which programs you might be able to remove from your system in order to free up memory and hard drive space. Keeping your system as light and unencumbered as possible also helps to speed up processing and boot times considerably.

If it sounds like PC audit software is something you would like to try out on your own system, start the search right away for a program that is thorough, reliable, and compatible with your particular OS. To do this, start a search engine query that includes the full name and version of the OS you run, as well as the phrase PC audit software reviews. Read the reviews thoroughly until you find a PC audit software that works for you and your system, and download your program of choice immediately. Run a PC audit as soon as your new program is installed, and you just might be surprised at what you find!

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Maintain compliance through an accurate software inventory

Keeping an accurate software inventory is part of a well run help desk. A software inventory used to consist of physical media, floppy disks and CD or DVD-ROMs that were used as the source for all the software applications in use in a company. As internet connection speeds have evolved into the monstrously fast things they are now, media has been gradually been becoming more and more obsolete as any new software is simply downloaded from a web site as needed.

This presents challenges for maintaining an up to date software inventory. Mainly, because licenses and disks do not rest in your hands, it becomes more difficult to know how many you have to install. Downloaded software installers are kept on shared network drive space and while this makes it convenient to install the software from any location in the company, it makes it too easy to install a copy of a software title without verifying the ownership of a proper license.

Over time, this practice can cause your software inventory to balloon well beyond the legal ownership of your applications, putting unlicensed copies on machines. While this may not be intentional piracy, it is an undesirable practice and is illegal regardless of intent. A method of maintaining an accurate software inventory should be established and followed closely by help desk staff that are in charge of adding applications and software to end user machines. By creating a policy and sticking to it, the software inventory can more closely represent the software in use and will go a long way toward keeping your company in compliance. An audit can and will reveal clerical errors in your software inventory, and avoiding such complications can prevent you from having to scramble to remove unlicensed software following an audit that indicates you are out of compliance and running unlicensed software.

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