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SoftwareMedia Blog | August 21, 2014

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How Shifting To A Cloud-Based Licensing Model Can Ease Asset Management

How Shifting To A Cloud-Based Licensing Model Can Ease Asset Management

Businesses are required to maintain licenses for each software installation. For organizations with multiple employees, this can often be a daunting task, especially since installations are done by one group while purchasing and budgeting are done by another. Since businesses can install an unlimited number of copies of a piece of software from a CD or installation files stored on a server, this means an entire business could technically run on one set of licenses.

The Audit

So what stops businesses from doing this? Software manufacturers are very clear about the penalties for software piracy, whether intentional or unintentional. On its website, Microsoft states that illegally installing its software can result in fines and potential jail time, although the most severe penalties are reserved for those who are distributing illegal copies of software on a widespread basis. However, the company does investigate reports of piracy and collect fines. Often those reports come from disgruntled ex-employees.

In addition to being reported by unhappy former workers, businesses also face threats from random software audits. Manufacturers have found that surprise software audits are a great way to generate revenue during tough economic times. Considering the fact that a 2012 study found that 57 percent of users admit to pirating software, it’s surprising these audits aren’t even more common.

Adobe’s Solution

Adobe has always had a strict approach to software licensing, but with its new Creative Cloud, the company is harnessing the power of the cloud to prevent piracy. While the software is downloaded and installed on machines, licensing is handled from the cloud, with each use monitored carefully to avoid abuses.

Unlike Microsoft, which provides businesses the option of set licenses or a subscription model, Adobe is launching Creative Cloud on a subscription-only plan. In other words, businesses are now forced to pay a monthly or annual fee to use Adobe products. Failure to pay cuts off access to the software.

Preventing Accidental Piracy

Of course, no method is foolproof. Adobe’s new Creative Cloud was reportedly pirated within days of release. But there will likely always be a way for hackers to provide illegal copies to the small group of customers who are actively looking for it. This type of illegal behavior is the exception, not the rule.

What Adobe is providing its business users is convenience. Tech staff no longer has to track every installation and report it back to management. Companies no longer have to worry about routine software licensing audits to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. And Adobe can save potentially thousands per year on accidental piracy–where software installs easily spin out of control as team members rush to deploy new PCs or get a new team up and running.

Major manufacturer Microsoft has tried to make things easier through its Volume Licensing program. However, workers are still tasked with keeping up with installations. By managing licensing from the cloud, Adobe shows that manufacturers can reduce accidental piracy instances while reducing the burden on business owners, who are pressed for time and resources, especially as IT is increasingly being outsourced.

Kirill Bensonoff



Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at, helping small business executives get the most out of their technology investment.

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