With IT departments being pressed to both adopt new technology and be more streamlined, there are some clear tools available to them. Chief among them are updating legacy technology solutions to be more efficient, as well as taking advantage of cloud-based subscription pricing models for IT.
However, another tool in the toolkit is software asset management (SAM), which gives organizations a clear picture of their overall application environment and software spending practices.
“SAM solutions first discover, and then track, PCs, servers and other hardware solutions where software is installed,” says Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, a technology research firm.
This capability helps organizations ensure that they’re paying for the correct number of software licenses. “At the same time, organizations can follow up on those discovered systems and make certain the employees using them have the software they need,” King says.
SAM tools also help organizations ensure that they’re not wasting money on shelfware — software that goes unused or perhaps is never even installed.
“When unused software is reclaimed off of the endpoint, it can be reallocated to another user who needs it,” says Patricia Adams, IT asset management evangelist at LANDESK Software. “This can avoid the expense associated with purchasing a new instance.”
Other strategic benefits are SAM’s ability to help organizations discover potentially dangerous shadow IT software and maximize the value of software license terms, such as provisions for support and training. A SAM solution can also smooth the path to Software as a Service deployments, which can be less expensive and easier to manage than onsite solutions.
SAM solutions are also designed to ensure complete lifecycle management, helping organizations to weed out obsolete applications. “Many times, organizations will continue to renew maintenance on apps without validating that they are still strategic to the organization or that they are still widely used,” Adams explains.
Although software asset management is most often viewed as a cost-reduction tool, SAM also has the ability to strengthen IT security, potentially preventing a costly data breach.
By helping organizations gain control over their software environment — determining where applications reside, who needs access to them and if they are being used — SAM solutions can play a major role in keeping attackers and other cybercriminals at bay.
SAM technology complements and strengthens existing security tools and processes, enhancing an organization’s ability to safeguard its systems and data, reducing operational risk.
“SAM tools are effective for tracking the regular distribution and installation of applications and patches, including security solutions,” King says.
Another way that SAM technology improves security is by identifying out-of-date software. “If the application is strategic to the organization, it will need to retain third-party support to ensure that the application is patched and maintained to reduce security risk,” Adams adds. “It is not unusual to hear of companies that have been hacked through old instances of software that have vulnerabilities.”
For more on software asset management tools, visit CDW.com/SAM.