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How do you manage software licenses?

By jdclyde ·
What do you guys do to manage software licenses?

Is there documentation you give your employees explaining the company policy?

We're doing a software audit for the site right now and I need to put something together to "educate" the staff on why we're doing this and the ramifications of this not being done.

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Okay JD

by Tig2 In reply to How do you manage softwar ...

Sorry dear, I was busy with other things when you started this. It must have fallen off my Contacts board before I got back to it.

I use an Access database to manage both software licenses and assets when the location is small. Where I have had a tool like Tivoli available, I use it.

Educating your staff is the thornier side of the problem. What is the knowledge level of the staff you are educating? Is this audit being driven by SOX? Are you validating back to a vendor? Does this staff have technical knowledge or are thy more business end users? Those things will impact how you want to educate.

I can give you an example of the database structure I have used in the past. I will warn you- I am a "third normal form" kind of girl.

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Thanks Tig

by jdclyde In reply to Okay JD

but just general ideas and policies are the goal at this point, and maybe a software package that automates the process some.

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AuditWiz

by prendergasta In reply to Okay JD

AuditWiz makes a very nice collecting and reporting tool. The unlimited version is about $1000.

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Nasty, awful, hope it's good enough...

by wallowamichael In reply to How do you manage softwar ...

The software comes in.<BR><BR>
The software gets copied and logged. Original requestor, how many licenses, serial numbers, etc.<BR><BR>
After that, I just hope it doesn't get installed in more locations than were originally purchased.<BR><BR>
We do have policies stating nothing can be installed without prior approval and proper licensing, etc, but we don't have in place any type of monitoring to see how many copies of a particular software are actually running/installed.

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good enough

by jdclyde In reply to Nasty, awful, hope it's g ...

until it's not?

Sounds like a lot of wishing and hoping going on in more places than I though. Here I thought we were some kind of freaks for not having this down better! ;\

Thanks to everyone that has posted, I realize that it isn't our organizational skill that is making us freaks! Must be something else. Maybe something in the water? B-)

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And the topic was ...

by tesvencorp In reply to good enough

The originating question seemed to be about how to monitor or inventory the licenses of programs being used on your IT system, which is an issue we have (probably as do many people). So, is there any comment re that? Like, is there a program I can run from the server that will go out and "inventory" all the connected stations to tell me what programs each station has on it and what license info each has? I've heard there is, even shareware, and would appreciate an insight into how to make this successful (without indicting everyone for some sort of license crime).

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That was the general idea

by jdclyde In reply to And the topic was ...

find out how other people are doing this, and take the best for yourself.

As for software, we currently use TrackIT, but it is horrible for doing any sorting on the data, and it is currently unusable because my co-worker followed tech supports advice and ended up corrputing the whole database. Oh yeah, it takes them about two days to get back to us for support, so a week later, we still can not get into the database. Not sure exactly what it is we are paying them for afterall......

I am recommending to the PTB that we move to something different. Don't know WHAT yet.

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GASP

by aborders In reply to That was the general idea

For purly software audits you could use GASP from attest software (http://www.attest.com/public/common/index.aspx). They seem to be a small shop but the product is not that expensive and is easy to setup. I found them by researching vendors the the old BSA used in there audits.

It seems to work well for us.

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Altiris is supposed to do exactly that

by Tig2 In reply to And the topic was ...

I haven't used it in some time so don't know all of the bells and whistles it currently has.

The best system I have seen was using Tivoli and a barcode. The new asset was read into the system, the serial associated with a location/user, load defined- could be one of three. Box locked down and all approved requests for software were entered into the system to reflect the change and then implemented.

A report from the system told you what was out there. Random audits were done periodically. If your system wasn't what we thought it should be, it was investigated. Didn't happen often.

Maintaining a good system is better than having to start from scratch. Unfortunately, there is a cost asosciated to it and many companies don't want to pay it.

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SiteKeeper is a great solution to automate licensing compliance

by gdh19701 In reply to And the topic was ...

I use a program at work called SiteKeeper (the same company
that makes DiskKeeper [automatic scheduled defrags]) to track
all workstations, software, and versions installed. It's also a
good tool to use for patch management when you want to make
sure everybody is using the same version and don't want to use
a patch management Group Policy. Sitekeeper is run from a
server that connect to a SQL database, but I'm sure it can be
configured to use MSDE if you do not have a SQL server.

They have a trial version available, and licensing isn't TERRIBLY
expensive. We started out with 54 client licenses, added 17 last
year, and now I need to purchase about another 30 licenses
because of growth this year due to expansion in our HQ and the
addition of a new office.

Note for XP SP2: There are some special considerations to make
for computers that are using XP Pro SP2, due to the "advanced"
firewall differences compare to SP1, but that can be fixed using
Group Policy to make sure everyone's SP2 firewall allows the
correct ports to be open for Sitekeeper to recognize the
computer.

Reporting in SiteKeeper is pretty straightforward; you can print
out reports by machine, by software on each machine, and
named software vendors or products which will list all the
machines a specific software title is installed on.

All in all, it is worth the money, especially if you use a lot of
high-risk license software packages (like Office and AutoCAD,
for example - where you know you could get busted if you are
not in relative compliance). It's also a good tool to use to make
sure "unauthorized" software (like the many versions if IM
programs and file-sharing programs out there) gets noticed,
allowing help desk/support people to UNINSTALL the software
from those specific machines. I've done this countless times,
and employees are normally willing to let it be removed, or
claim ignorance saying they didn't know it was against company
policy {yeah right!}.

I know it sounds ****, but I send out our Internet / Email /
Acceptable Use policy about 2-3 times per year, reminding
everybody that they agreed to comply when they signed the
paperwork during their entrance interview, by NOT installing
unauthorized software. This is a good way to let management
know that I really am "just doing my job," and they enjoy the
reduced exposure and financial risk by my doing this.

I normally do my Audits 2-4 times per year, just to make sure
that I am up-to-date on software installed relative to the
number of active machines on our network. However, I normally
bring the company licensing in to compliance once or twice per
year, mostly during renewals, to make up the difference in
licensing shortfalls.

Hope this helps!
Gordon

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