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From a Mess to a Model Program: Setting Things Straight (Part II)

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Note: The identity of the company featured in this customer snapshot has been concealed to protect the non-compliant.

Part II: Setting Things Straight

The health insurance company’s license compliance status prior to deploying Express Software Manager could only be described as murky. As a first step toward achieving clarity, the IT manager performed a comprehensive and detailed inventory of all the software installed across the organization, at both on-site and remote offices. It was a simple matter to accomplish this task through Express Software Manager’s automatic discovery capabilities and the configuration of thousands of files into recognized software titles, or “license units.”

More importantly, the product analyzed and presented inventory data from a licensing perspective so decisive action could be taken. After collecting, consolidating and importing all of the organization’s purchasing information, the IT manager was able to run a single, quick report, entitled “Am I Compliant,” which compared actual installations with licenses purchased to reveal the company’s license shortfall. (Had this shortfall been discovered during the course of a BSA audit, the company likely would have been fined an estimated $400,000 in copyright infringement penalties.)

After truing up its licenses to correct the gap, the organization centralized its purchasing processes so that any new software request would be subject to approval. Software installations are now tracked via Express Software Manager, and alerts have been configured to notify staff members when unlicensed copies show up on the network.

Reducing Software Costs by Purging Unused Licenses

Previously, when people left the company or old machines were retired, maintenance contracts for licenses on the newly-idle desktops had only rarely been terminated. Because each desktop shared a standard image, employees routinely had software on their desktops that was unnecessary to their jobs. As a result, a great deal of money was being wasted.

When Express Software Manager revealed the true extent of the problem, the IT Manager was able terminate maintenance contracts on the unused licenses, saving over $100,000 annually as a result.

The company now performs a usage audit every three months. Any application that hasn’t been used for six months or more are sent into a license pool to be reallocated to other users, thereby avoiding the purchase of new licenses. Moreover, because software installations and usage data are linked to purchasing information stored within Express Software Manager, the organization now has a centralized method for tracking, managing and reducing their software expenditures.

Supporting Security via Application Control

As a provider of medical insurance, the company is held to uncompromising security standards and faces frequent government audits to ensure that confidential medical data remains protected.

To help combat potential IT security threats, the organization has developed an “application matrix” comprised of software titles that have been tested, validated, approved, and documented; employees are prohibited from using software that’s not part of the matrix. The “application control” functionality in Express Software Manager is used to remotely shut down unauthorized software until it has been thoroughly investigated and, if appropriate, added to the application matrix.

The End Result

With carefully crafted processes and the right technology, the organization’s software status was transformed from a mess to a model program. Not only has the company realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings associated with unused licenses, but its software compliance risk has been virtually erased. And after implementing new policies surrounding the acquisition, approval, and deployment of software, along with robust reporting capabilities that alert them to potential security or legal risks, the company’s regulatory posture has been immeasurably strengthened. All in all, no small accomplishment for one IT manager and one unclaimed copy of Express Software Manager, which turned out to be an invaluable partner for the effort.