Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Saving Money with IT Security Processes. Example 11/26: Avoid a Technology SPOF with License Management

Article number 11 in a series dedicated to giving examples of the way IT security processes can help your company save money.

What's License Management got to do with SPOFs?

It's got to do with the Technology SPOF.  "Technology SPOF" is the name I gave to all incidents that trigger a failure on all systems of a similar technology. For instance, if two redundant servers share a single storage bay that's full, both servers will suffer the same disk full failure.

Licences are a major source of technology SPOFs. Many products, once their paying period is expired, just stop functioning at all. For instance, antivirus software suites. Many products, once reached their usage limit, also just stop functioning at all. For instance, a dedicated appliance that can host 100 concurrent users.
That's the time when you'd wish you had a sound License Management process.

The License Management process does the following:
  • It inventories all current licenses and their limitations.
  • It monitors their use so that they don't reach limitations.
  • It purchases new licenses in time and quantity.
  • It installs new licenses and updates the inventory.
The Licence Management could be seen as a part of a larger Procurement process, however I see fit to put it in Security and not Procurement, because it requires active monitoring, capacity planning and some administation, which are more IT related.