Cybersecurity Strategy Must Include Software License Optimization

Software License Optimization - Essential Tool in an Effective Federal CyberSecurity Program: FlexNet Manager Suite plays a critical role in any Federal Agency cybersecurity strategy by:

  • Providing hardware inventory data in a standard interface - comprehensively understand what is ‘on the network’ and know what is “missing”
  • Collecting and processing software inventory data for Federal networks
  • Discovering and identifying unauthorized or unlicensed software installations
  • Providing management and reporting of whitelist changes and software installation actions
  • Proactively managing software maintenance contracts and renewals.

The recent spate of cybersecurity breaches underscores just how vulnerable federal agencies are to malware and hacker attacks. Federal CIO’s are therefore aggressively enacting cybersecurity measures to mitigate these risks. Implementing effective hardware and software asset management automation via a Software License Optimization solution is an essential element to any effective cybersecurity strategy.

Flexera Software’s FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises is the market leading Software License Optimization solution that provides comprehensive hardware asset management (HAM) and software asset management (SAM) capabilities. A full enterprise wide hardware and software asset inventory provides the essential “evidence” agencies use to detect unlicensed and/or unauthorized IT assets - critical to identifying potential security vulnerabilities.

Flexera Software’s App Portal, a universal enterprise app store, enables Federal agencies to have improved software governance while providing end user self-service. FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises and App Portal are integrated solutions that allow organizations to proactively maintain license compliance, mitigate security risk and reduce IT operational and software costs.

Through the extensive asset and entitlement data collection and analysis provided by FlexNet Manager Suite, agencies can reduce their security risk related to both hardware and software installed and in use in the environment. Flexera Software’s solution interoperates with and complements existing IT Service Management (ITSM) tools, inventory/deployment solutions, and endpoint management tools, such as BMC, ServiceNow, SCCM, and IBM Endpoint Manager (IEM).

Advanced Visibility, Control and Security

FlexNet Manager Suite provides visibility and control of the IT environment by collecting and analyzing comprehensive hardware and software inventory data. This data can be collected and aggregated from multiple sources, including Flexera Software’s own discovery technology as well as third party tools that may already be deployed in the IT environment. It offers extensive reporting capabilities on assets installed in the environment. This allows rationalization and consolidation of both hardware and software assets to reduce ongoing costs and mitigate risks that unused and/or non-standard assets may be misappropriated for malicious purposes.

For software assets, the FlexNet Manager Suite Management Dashboard also shows licensed and unlicensed installations. Software installations can pose security risks, as in the case where unlicensed or unauthorized software has been installed. Agencies must have processes in place to control software installations and only deploy approved software. Flexera Software App Portal, the universal app store, enforces continual software license compliance and controls software deployment, while increasing end user satisfaction and the efficiency of service delivery. End users select from the approved software and hardware in the App Portal catalog which reduces the likelihood of downloads and installations of unauthorized applications. The enterprise app store ensures that governance is in place to check license availability and obtain proper approvals. Additional processes should further mitigate the risk by ensuring that software identified by FlexNet Manager Suite as unauthorized, is removed.

Moreover, as Federal agencies seek to implement more comprehensive software tagging strategies, Flexera Software provides additional tools to create ISO-19770-2 compliant tags and insert them into proprietary software assets developed by the government, or those created without software tags by independent software vendors. FlexNet Manager Suite can also collect and read these tags, aiding in the software inventory and management process.

Discovery, Inventory and Software Identification

FlexNet Manager Suite’s software inventory capabilities leverage the most comprehensive methods available for detecting and collecting “evidence” on the network that can be used for identifying software. Those include:

  • Discovery of ISO-19770-2 Software Tags: Comprehensive software tag discovery and inventory support that adheres to the ISO 19770-2 standard.
  • Discovery of Customer-generated Software Tags: Discovery and recognition of Federal agency-created software tags (e.g. using tools such as Flexera Software’s AdminStudio) that are ISO-10770-2 Compliant.
  • Multi-platform Discovery and Inventory: agent and agentless technologies collect file, registry, package and other evidence across Windows, Linux, UNIX and Mac OS platforms, virtual machines, and hard partitions. Application usage data may also be collected.
  • Application Recognition Library: A proprietary Application Recognition Library capable of identifying more than 181,927 applications across more than 18,333 publishers, using ISO tags, file, registry, package and other evidence.

FlexNet Manager Suite provides specialized discovery and inventory capabilities not found in other solutions, including discovery and inventory of virtual environments (VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop), Oracle databases, options, management packs and more.

Hardware Asset Management

All IP addressable hardware, including desktops, laptops, servers, printers and routers can be discovered and managed using FlexNet Manager Platform. It tracks an extensive set of hardware asset properties in its asset management database (AMDB) including:

  • Identification: Serial number, asset tag, part number, manufacturer, model, parent/child relationship with other assets…
  • Purchasing data: Purchase order number, purchase order date, price, vendor, acquisition mode (purchased, leased, loaned, rented, etc.), delivery date…
  • Financial Data: Warranty, depreciation (current/residual values, depreciation method…), chargeback (monthly charge)…
  • User/group allocation: Location, cost center, business unit, user assigned to the asset…
  • Technical: Any relevant technical details associated with the asset…
  • Contractual: Relationship with contracts, vendors and payment schedules…
  • Asset status: Assets can be purchased, installed, in stock, disposed, retired…
  • Baseline tracking of assets: Identify changes for each asset over time; computers missing or changed are flagged. (supports tracking of IMAC—Installs, Moves, Adds and Changes)…

Software Asset Management and License Optimization

FlexNet Manager Suite is able to discover authorized (managed) and unauthorized (unmanaged) software on the network. Because unauthorized software is unmanaged, it is vulnerable to being exploited as a pivot to other IT assets if not removed or managed. In addition, a complete, accurate, and timely software inventory is essential to support awareness and effective control of software vulnerabilities and security configuration settings.

A comprehensive list of hardware asset data that can be tracked and managed by FlexNet Manager Suite includes:

  • Computer or device name
  • IP address
  • Ethernet MAC Address
  • Host name
  • Serial number
  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • Calculated user
  • Operating system
  • Service pack
  • Processors
  • Cores
  • Threads
  • Sockets
  • Processor type
  • Clock speed
  • RAM
  • Disk
  • Hard drives
  • Display adapters
  • Network cards
  • Master asset
  • Status
  • Category
  • Asset type
  • Asset tag
  • Part number
  • Location
  • Corporate unit
  • Cost center
  • Assigned user
  • Acquisition mode
  • Warranty type
  • Delivery date
  • End of warranty
  • Current value
  • Residual value
  • Depreciation method
  • Depreciation period
  • Depreciation rate

FlexNet Manager Suite delivers a comprehensive software asset management solution that includes:

  • Automated identification and normalization of software titles, versions and editions installed and/or in use in the IT environment. It utilizes its Application Recognition Library and support for many complex license models to streamline this process.
  • Fully automated purchase order processing— imported purchase orders (‘POs’) can update existing licenses or generate new licenses in the asset management repository, as necessary, without any operator interaction.
  • Accurate reconciliation of software inventory and purchases to generate a license compliance position using its Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Library.

FlexNet Manager Suite includes a full contract management module that allows Federal agencies to keep track of contract renewal and expiration dates. This helps agencies ensure that software maintenance doesn’t lapse so that the latest version of software and security patches are available, minimizing the security risk.

Moreover, FlexNet Manager Suite license optimization solutions leverage software license entitlements (product use rights) and detailed usage data to determine an optimized license position. This reduces license consumption and ongoing software costs.

A comprehensive list of software asset data that can be tracked and managed by FlexNet Manager Suite includes:

  • Vendor/Publisher
  • Purchase order number
  • Purchase date
  • Description
  • Quantity
  • Part number/SKU
  • Agreement date
  • Contract Expiry date
  • Invoice number
  • Invoice date
  • Cost
  • Shipping date
  • Shipping location
  • Location
  • Corporate unit
  • Cost center
  • Request number
  • Request date
  • Requestor
  • Authorized by
  • Processed by
  • License keys

FlexNet Manager Suite allows Federal agencies to:

  • • Mitigate security risks associated with unauthorized software
  • • Identify software with lapsed maintenance contracts, minimizing unpatched software • Maintain continuous license compliance to reduce software audit risk and avoid unbudgeted expenses • Provide a ‘single source of truth’ for purposes of negotiating Enterprise License Agreements • Consolidate vendors and applications • Reduce maintenance on unused software and/or versions that are no longer covered by vendor support • Reharvest unused or under used application licenses to defer new license purchases • Optimize license consumption to reduce ongoing software spend • Accurately charge back costs to individual cost centers • More effectively negotiate software contracts including Enterprise License Agreements • Proactively manage software licenses throughout the product lifecycle

FlexNet Manager Suite for Enterprises

The foundation of FlexNet Manager Suite is FlexNet Manager Platform which provides scalable hardware and software asset management functionality across more than 18,333 software publishers and 181,927 applications. The Platform provides insight into installed hardware, software and application usage while delivering purchased versus installed license reconciliation and software license compliance. The Platform also provides Software License Optimization for desktop applications. FlexNet Manager Suite server product license optimization solutions include:

  • FlexNet Manager for IBM
  • FlexNet Manager for Microsoft
  • FlexNet Manager for Oracle
  • FlexNet Manager for SAP Applications
  • FlexNet Manager for Symantec
  • FlexNet Manager for VMware
  • FlexNet Manager for Engineering Applications

These Optimization solutions are built on top of FlexNet Manager Platform and enable organizations to implement comprehensive software license management and contract optimization strategies that save time, enable continuous license compliance and reduce ongoing software costs.

Additional Controls to Further Tighten Security

Application sprawl and poorly managed applications increase cybersecurity risks. For instance, the ability of employees to circumvent IT processes and download applications directly from the web increases the possibility that unauthorized software containing malware or other vulnerabilities can find its way to the network. Flexera Software App Portal, a universal enterprise app store, helps eliminate employee end-runs around IT by providing an employee-friendly app store environment as the sole source for requesting and downloading agencyapproved and licensed enterprise applications.

Moreover, the more expansive the application estate, the more IT resources needed to manage those applications and ensure they are up to date and all security patches applied. Accordingly, Application Readiness best practices dictate that the Federal government’s application estate should be rationalized on a continual basis to retire software from the estate that is not being used or that is duplicative. The AdminStudio Inventory and Rationalization solution is another critical tool in the cybersecurity arsenal. It helps agencies discover, assess, and consolidate their application portfolio, enabling them to retire software assets that are no longer needed or used, and instead focus their limited IT resources supporting and securing only those applications that remain strategic to the agency’s mission.

About Flexera Software

Flexera Software helps application producers and enterprises increase application usage and the value they derive from their software. Our next-generation software licensing, compliance and installation solutions are essential to ensure continuous licensing compliance, optimized software investments and to future-proof businesses against the risks and costs of constantly changing technology. Over 80,000 customers turn to Flexera Software as a trusted and neutral source for the knowledge and expertise we have gained as the marketplace leader for over 25 years and for the automation and intelligence designed into our products. For more information, please go to: www.flexerasoftware.com