The Software Alliance (a.k.a the “BSA”) has published an interesting paper on the importance of Software Asset Management (SAM) in Cloud Computing. In summary, Cloud computing does not exempt an organization from their need for SAM but rather, the cloud requires its own additional management policies and procedures. Fortunately, usage and entitlement optimization reporting for many of the still evolving cloud computing technologies fits neatly within the K2-KeyServer interface – alongside management information for physical and virtual computing assets.
The BSA paper points out some commonly held misunderstandings: some believe that subscribing to a cloud services means “No hassle. No confusion. No inadvertent piracy. And no legal jeopardy”. “Service providers simply provision the computing resources needed from remote servers” and the customer organizations are “charged accordingly”.
But it is too simplistic to believe that Cloud means “the end for license compliance worries”. As Cloud computing technologies have emerged, it has become evident that the model is not so simple after all. Just as organizations have had to adapt to managing software assets in virtual computing environments, so they must also adapt their SAM practices to Cloud computing.
Companies must continue to:
- know which software assets they are entitled to
- track the usage of those software assets
- understand the impact that software from the cloud has on compliance and costs
Adopting cloud architecture without properly addressing SAM-related considerations can result in serious errors associated with cost and risk analysis.
The section on “SAM as a Cloud Enabler” may be of particular interest to many readers. Understanding a company’s current computing environment can “provide vital insights” on whether and how to best migrate to the Cloud. Sassafras K2 provides exactly this sort of insight for software used on both physical and virtual computers as well as in various cloud environments.
A related topic mentioned briefly in the BSA cloud paper is security – this probably deserves a broader discussion, especially in light of Adobe’s recent breach involving of 150,000,000 user account records. There is an interesting (and sobering) dissection of this breach in the detailed article by Sophos, Anatomy of a Password Disaster… A more general discussion and a chart showing current encryption protocols on common websites may also provide food for thought when contemplating cloud computing.
We encourage you to read the report on “Navigating the Cloud – Why Software Asset Management Is More Important Than Ever“. It covers many other topics such as BYOD, SOX, and HIPPA.
Feel free to drop us an email if you have questions about how Sassafras K2 can help with software license compliance and software cost reduction in Cloud Computing.