Software license management
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Written by IT-Man
Updated over a week ago

The Panorama9 system allows you track software installations and usage, making it possible to determine if the number of bought licenses actually covers what's installed. For even a small organization the number of applications installed on computers throughout their network may amount to several thousands. Keeping track is notoriously difficult โ€“ serial keys, upgrade paths, OEM licenses, usage and installation limits. You may just have finished doing an inventory and have to start over again if the information must be up-to-date.

Panorama9 helps you automate the process and ensures that you have a clear picture about applications installed and in use. All you have to do is install the Panorama9 agent on computers that should be monitored and let the Panorama9 cloud analyze the received information. Through the Panorama9 dashboard you enter how many licenses you have bought and how the system should react if too many copies has been installed.

Configure installation limits and license types

The Panorama9 agent will regularly send a list with the software installed on the computers being monitored. The complete overview of all applications installed and used throughout your IT environment is then compiled by the Panorama9 cloud and can be viewed using the dashboard under "Assets" -> "Software". You may also configure each detected application "License type" - set it to either "Free", "Paid" or "Unknown". When configured the Panorama9 system can notify you if the number of installations exceeds the limit set for software that requires you to pay a fee to the vendor.

To configure the Panorama9 system to track the number of installations, simply create software groups and then add the appropriate applications to the group. You configure the group with applications and their limit under "Manage" -> "License management". The limit should be the number of licenses you've bought.

For each group with applications you must also configure how the limit applies to the members of the group. You can select between two limit types - "Group Total" or "Per member". When limit type is set to "Group Total" then applications in the group may not be installed on more computers than the configured number. Limit type "Per member" makes is possible to group software where each application that is a member of the group may be installed up to the set limit. If the number of installations is above the limit set you're considered to be in breach with software license compliance and an issue will be shown in the dashboard under "Compliance" -> "Software license".

The Panorama9 system can also be used to detect and track Microsoft keys used in your network. The Panorama9 agent automatically extract Microsoft keys found on the computer it monitors and send the information to the Panorama9 cloud. You may then configure which keys are acceptable and optionally set a limit of allowed number of installations. If you decide not to configure a limit then the Panorama9 system will not create an issue regardless of how many times you've installed the application. You will continue to be warned about Microsoft keys discovered in your network that you haven't authorized. You just configure which keys are valid and optionally set a limit under "Manage" -> "Software keys" by moving them from the right box to the left box. Any key that remains in the right box will be considered invalid.

Note that Microsoft keys which has been activated through the Internet are shown as "BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB-BBBBB" since the real key is, once activated, not stored on the machine and thus not possible for the Panorama9 agent to extract.

Automatically detect applications that costs money

The Panorama9 system will automatically detect applications that you are required to pay a fee for, so you don't have to browse through a long list of software and find application that costs money. Should there be applications that isn't automatically detected you can manually change the "License type" to "Paid" and then have the Panorama9 system track installations and usage.

Note that only when software has "License type" set to "Unknown" it may be automatically changed by the Panorama9 system to "Paid". If you decide that Panorama9 has wrongly determined that an application is "Paid" you should set "License type" to "Free" to avoid it being changed back to "Paid".

Software with too many installations

Once you've configured the Panorama9 system with information about installation limits and license types, you can use the software asset list to find applications that has been installed on more machines than allowed. Navigate to "Assets" -> "Software" and the column "License balance" will reveal applications that is installed on more machines than allowed.

If an applications license continues to be overused for more than 30 days the Panorama9 system will create a "Software license" issue. The issue will be cleared once you've either updated the number of allowed installations or uninstalled the software on a sufficient number of computers.

Get the big picture

Generate a license report and you'll get a complete overview of software installations, over- and underused licenses throughout your organization. Navigate to "Reports", choose report type "Assets" and select "Software licenses". You may subscribe to the license report and get it emailed to your inbox, e.g. each month.

The license reports makes it easy to audit software installations and document if you have license issues or not.

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