New Year's resolutions IT departments should make...

06 Jan 14

Reducing risk and cost could help make your company more profitable, and the impact on the bottom line may result in an impact on your salary or bonus – in the current economic climate it may not mean an increase, but it may prevent more drastic cost-cutting measures.

There are lots of very simple things that IT departments can do to make the Software Asset Manager’s life easier.

Here are my top ten:

1. Clean up directory services data: If you really need to keep a record of every device or user that has ever accessed your network, at least have organisational units for retired devices and users who have left.

2. Control software media: this is not an infringement of your employees’ human rights. It’s making sure that their software has come from a reputable source and is being used by authorised individuals for authorised business purposes. So create a Definitive Media Library for physical and electronic media, and use access and change controls to manage it.

3. If you can’t segregate Development, Test and Production environments, put change and release management controls in place to ensure that licences are reassigned appropriately and records can be produced to prove compliance. Make the named holders of Development licences accountable for getting it right.

4. Include licensing in your business continuity planning, including clearly defined disaster recovery sites and test plans.

5. Authenticate devices as well as users. Not only is much of your software likely to be licensed by device, so user authentication is only part of the picture, but you don’t know where your users’ personal devices have been…

6. Carry out regular housekeeping: if people leave delete or archive their accounts and recover and reuse their devices (cleaning them up first please). If accounts aren’t being used, ask why – if people don’t use software and systems then reassign the licences to other users if licensing allows.

7. Keep configuration data up to date: as licensing attempts to keep up with changing technologies the relationships between devices, licences and users become even more important to keep track of.

8. Review licence terms and conditions as part of product approval before carrying out technical testing so that if appropriate terms can’t be negotiated, time isn’t wasted on testing (or on everyone complaining that the solution is technically perfect even though licensing is unsuitable).

9. Don’t ignore freeware: Just because something is free doesn’t mean there aren’t terms and conditions attached – for example, the version of Adobe Reader that you can use at home isn’t necessarily suitable for use in the workplace if you deploy remotely or provide access via a central server.

10. Manage OEM software: it’s not just the desktop OS that is linked to hardware. There are third party components that may be installed with it, and there is also software licensed with printers, scanners, cameras and other hardware that is installed on PCs that needs to be managed.

So what New Year SAM resolutions could your IT department make to help cut software costs and risks?

By Victoria Barber - Gartner

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