How SAM helps prevent cloud pitfalls

When people apply traditional or common licensing knowledge to modern cloud solutions the organizations these people work for may end up tarnished. In this article some of the most common cloud pitfalls and how Software Asset Management helps prevent them.

Shared accounts
When you have people working part-time or in shifts it is common to use shared accounts, such as ‘reception@’ or ‘station1@’. In traditional software licensing organizations would assign a ‘per device’ client access license to the PC, laptop or thin clients used with these shared account. Óne device license, many people using the device. That’s fine and correct.
In the cloud world, there are no ‘per device’ licenses or subscriptions. Each service requires a named subscription. For example, three persons sharing a device, each during their 8 hours of a 24-hour shift, will need a subscription.
When organizations migrate from an on-premises to a cloud solution it is easy to keep the shared accounts and have them used by multiple people. Since that is not allowed and software vendors like Microsoft can look many years back – in their systems – there is a risk that in the end the software vendor might require back payment for the missed subscriptions.
With Software Asset Management organizations are able to detect these shared accounts in their Active Directory, see at which devices it is used and how many times or hours. With that information it is easy to transform these shared accounts to named accounts and assign the proper amount of cloud subscriptions.

Licensing discount
With the introduction of Azure Hybrid Benefits as part of active Software Assurance organizations don’t have to pay for the software license in the cloud because they already payed for them on-premises. Makes sense, because one would not want to pay double. Now I will brake this down into two separate issues …

Tick the box
When deploying a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure, there is a box to tick: ‘I already have a license’. That is appropriate to do so when you do have a license which can be reassigned to the cloud, such as with Hybrid Benefits. But be aware, there is no check in the back-end (yet). When you tick the box, Microsoft assumes you know what you are doing. If you tick the box and you do not have the appropriate license, this will surface during a software license review or audit and will cost you.
Good to know, when you have ticked the box, you cannot undo this in a later stage, a new VM deployment will be necessary.
Software Asset Management covers both your on-premises and cloud IT environments. Investigating the deployment and studying your software license contracts will show whether you are eligible to reassigning or not. With SAM you will be able to undertake timely action to prevent legal surprises afterwards.

Modern Software Asset Management

Renewing subscriptions
Assume you have the right for reassigning licenses under active Software Assurance, but you don’t renew your Software Assurance. With that, the reassignment rights – your Azure Hybrid Benefits – disappear. This means that from that moment on you will have to pay for the license in the cloud.
A proper Software Assurance program also covers licensing contracts and the SAM consultant will point you to a Software Assurance renewal in time.

Software Asset Management
Besides these examples, there are many more cloud-pitfalls to be aware off. It is so easy to deploy a virtual machine in the cloud. It is so easy to swipe your credit card and subscribe to any Software-as-a-Service solution. And, it is so easy to forget about the legal terms (who reads them anyway?).
Software Asset Management detects and inventories all software and cloud subscriptions. It covers the processes for deployment, authorized software and subscriptions and aligns use rights to usage. With SAM you will be able to get insights, overview and control and the ability to take measures. Don’t let the cloud pitfalls surprise you in a year or so.

May, 2019