Best License Management Software

The use and re-distribution of software come with a certain grant or permission. There are different forms of Software licenses like permissive, GNU, Reciprocal, Proprietary, and so on. Generally, Software Licenses are based on the number of users, network, subscription, consumption, features, etc.  A license management tool is very critical for an organization that deals with multiple software solutions.  Software License management system can help companies to monitor and manage all types of licenses attached to the usage of different software. By using a licence management solution, companies can avoid legal complications. Have a look at the following list of best license management software;

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List of License Management System Software

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Buyer’s Guide

Introduction to Buyer’s Guide For License Management Software

Software programs have a profound impact on business enterprises.  Whether a software is used in the office for administrative work or at the manufacturing site for controlling the production, under whatever application,  it has enabled businesses to excel in all respects. However, to utilize these software programs securely, businesses need to use the licensed version of the software. They have to abide by the software copyright agreement and guidelines mentioned by the software publisher. It helps software proprietors to protect their rights to copy, sell, distribute, and modify the software product.  From users’ perspective, an illegitimate copy of the software can create problems such as performance issues and cybersecurity threats.  Besides that, the copyright owners can take legal action against the violation of their software rights. Even the users who are using the licensed version and do not upgrade to the latest version are prone to penalties and legal actions.  It is essential that businesses follow software license management best practices to avoid legal action or penalties. 

The conventional approach for license management does not give a clear view of software utilization. In such circumstances, license management software provides the perfect solution to tap on every detail of the software license. During the entire life cycle of the software solution, the license management ensures that users access the software’s authenticated copy and receive regular updates. However, selecting the right license management software is quite challenging as the budget and business requirements may not be the same for all organizations.

This buyer guide on license management software is designed to help business owners select the right software for the organization. It emphasizes some key points about the license management software, which could help users understand the software capabilities on a broader spectrum and decide on the top license management software. 

Why is License Management Essential For an Organization?

Software vendors have become more conscious about their intellectual property and want to ensure that nobody misuses their software solutions. Software with a licensed version is beneficial not only for the software vendors but also for the customers. It helps them to secure their system from cyber threats and malware. However, business enterprises that use many software solutions usually face difficulties in tracking software licenses. A concrete license management system can make it a lot easier for the organization to manage various software licenses.

License management can help users monitor all the details about the software, such as its expiry date or software version. It helps users to avoid the penalties and keep their organization upto date about the software inventory. The license management process optimizes the software usage and allows an organization to smoothly run its regular business activities. Eventually, it helps in boosting the company’s revenue and working efficiency.

What Are the Different Types of Software License Models?

For most organizations, maintaining compliance with the software license agreement is a critical issue. By understanding various software license models, it becomes quite easy to maintain software compliance and reduce the company’s IT costs.

  • Device License (Node-locked license): Some software vendors offer their services on a per-device basis. It means the software provider grants the user permission to install and operate on a specific device such as a computer, laptop, or data center device.
  • Network License (Floating license): This software license type is quite popular, especially in the organization with more employees. Network licensing gives access to all the users and devices connected to the specific network.   
  • Public domain license: This type of license is free to use by the public and can be distributed freely without payment.
  • Permissive License: Permissive license is somewhat similar to a public domain license, but it may have few restrictions on how the end-users modify and distribute the software.
  • LGPL (Lesser General Public License): Lesser General Public License is a free software licensed created by Free Software Foundation (FSF). The license allows developers and companies to use the software released under LGPL into their own components.  However, the developer who modifies the LGPL covered component has to make the modified version available under the same LGPL license.
  • Restrictive (Copyleft/ Reciprocal): Restrictive license, also known as copyleft or reciprocal licenses. The copyleft or restrictive license grants the right to change, modify or distribute other people’s work just like open source software.  However, in the copyleft license, the modified product must be distributed with the same copyleft license attached to the original software.  
  • Proprietary (Subscription/ Perpetual licensing): Proprietary software is referred to any software that has a copyright, and it does not allow modification or distribution of the software.  It is also known as commercial or closed source software.   Generally, there are two types of proprietary software- subscription or perpetual type. Perpetual software license grants permission to use the software for an indefinite period, but a subscription-based software license is purchased on a monthly or yearly basis.
  • Metered license: In a metered-based license, the software vendor collects licensing fees based on how frequently users access specific application features or resources.  The software vendor measures variables such as number of database queries, number of CPU cycles consumed, total use time, etc.
  • Named user:  A named user license is bound to a specific user.  This type of software can be installed on multiple systems, but only the named user can use the software.
  • Concurrent User:  In a concurrent user license, the organization purchases the software licenses for a particular number of users. For instance, the organization buys concurrent licenses and registers 5 users on them; it means that at a given time, only 5 users can access the software and denies access to any other users until a license becomes available.  
Based on their size and budget, organizations choose software license models, and managing them efficiently could make a huge difference in enhancing the business revenue.  However, the traditional approach for license management has got few barriers that limit the usage of these software solutions. 

What Are Some Common Challenges In Managing Software Licenses Manually?

  • More administrative work: Keeping a record of software licenses manually, such as software renewal, software expiration date, payment, etc., could be a daunting task.  It requires more documentation and administrative work.   
  • Compliance issues:  It is a challenging task to track software compliance with a manual approach. Software vendors offer various compliance rules for their products, and for users, it would be difficult to check all the software compliances with the manual method.
  • Limited visibility: In large enterprises, the employees subscribe to various software solutions and agree to a license agreement without taking the IT department in the loop. In such a scenario, it is impossible for the organization to keep an eye on all software and subscription licenses.     
  • Inaccurate data:  Managing software licenses manually can be a tiresome job and inaccurate.  There is always room for human errors and risks of logging wrong information about the software details such as expiry date or renewal. Any minor error can add extra costs to the organization.
  • Node-locked: Software licensing model like node-locked is restricted to particular hardware devices. It means if someone wants to access the software from a different location, then he has to physically move the device to that place.

These challenges of the conventional approach for license management restrict the complete utilization of licenses already purchased and minimizes the ROI on software solutions. Business enterprises can eliminate these roadblocks by adopting the best software license management tools.

What Is License Management Software?

License management software is a tool that facilitates easy and safe management of software licenses during the entire software life cycle.  During each stage of the software life cycle - purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal the license management software ensures that there are no issues in utilizing the software services.  It determines how software needs to be procured and deployed in the organization.

SLM (Software License Management) software is an essential part of IT asset management and offers features to help business enterprises to avoid problems associated with software non-compliance.  License management software solutions can be very productive for businesses managing multiple software solutions. It holds important details about the software, such as date of purchase, invoices, software warranty details, costs, and license expiration dates. License management software not only protects the software copyrights but also helps customers to use the secure version of the software.    

Software license management solutions can be just like any other software solution in the organization, but it plays a major role in managing other software solutions. Before considering any software for business, the organization should first invest in the top license management software and analyze their benefits in-depth.

What Are the Benefits of License Management Software?

  • Cost Saving: Best software license management tools keep watch on the underutilized software licenses and suggest reducing the subscription on such software products.  The license management system is also efficient in tracking software usage and determines which licensing model can give higher ROI.
  • Minimizes risk of noncompliance:  When software users agree to terms and conditions, they also agree to their compliance policies.  Business license management software performs regular audits to track whether the organization adheres to regulatory compliance.  It helps to avoid noncompliance penalties.
  • Strong security: Usually, hackers target the area that is weak and have aging assets.  It gives them easy access to the system rather than hacking the system with firewalls. Software that is not upgraded or outdated can be an easy access point for hackers and pose a security threat to the organization. Best software license management tools track the license for all the software in the organization and inform users about the aging software. 
  • Better visibility of IT infrastructure:  Business license management software can give better visibility to IT staff on the software license renewal whenever an employee raises requests for a new software installation.  Software license management system helps IT staff to review all the details of software license quickly and decide on buying new software licenses.

Essential Features of License Management Software

  • License tracking and license inventory
  • License entitlement management
  • Alerts and notification
  • Dashboard/reporting
  • Automated discovery
  • Payment services
  • Technical support
  • Product activation
  • Copy protection
  • Renewal management

How to Select the Best License Management Software?

  • Third-party integration: Support for the third-party tool is necessary for software license management solutions. For instance, it should support a payment provider or e-commerce engine.
  • Reporting:  The best license management software should have the reporting features and give users details about the metrics such as usage, software renewal, performance, etc.
  • Strong security: Security is paramount when considering software license management solutions.  Weak security can become an access point for hackers to software products.  It is necessary that there are strong security features embedded with the license management tool.  
  • Customer support: Using software license management tools could be tricky sometimes and requires technical support.  The users should ensure the license management software features also include strong technical support.   
  • Pricing: Before buying a software license management solution, it is advisable to see whether the software price is within the budget. There are both paid and free versions available in the market, and based on business requirements, users should decide to buy the software.  
  • Software deployment options:  While considering the top license management software, users must determine the best deployment option based on their organization’s requirements.

How Effective Is SaaS-Based License Management Software?

Yes, SaaS-based license management software is effective, as it is a centrally hosted model and is a subscription-based facility. Saas-based licenses are cloud offering which allows the users to use all the cloud-based software from the Vendor. SaaS-based license management software is cost-effective, saves time, is scalable, enables easy upgrades, integrates with other cloud software from the vendor, and above all, it is easy-to-use.

What Are the Best Practices For Software License Management?

  • Use license management software: Previously, users have to search manually to discover software installed on the server but software license management tools offer a feature such as "automated discovery." It helps business owners to automatically find software used by the employees and track all the details about its license. A license management software offers many other features that could make license management tasks very easy.
  • Update inventory:  A list of all the installed software should be maintained with easy updates whenever new software is added.
  • Track software usage: Track software usage to get a better idea of its adoption rate. It helps business owners decide on the renewal of the software or opt for a lighter version.
  • Internal audit:  Business owners can conduct an internal audit regularly and perform regular checks on software updates.
  • Implement strong policy: A strong policy on software procurement is necessary to avoid the risks of installing the wrong software or expensive software that has minimum use. The policy should ensure that organization employees do not download software from the Internet without approval.
  • Software compliance:  Use license management software to ensure that the software has license compliance.
  • Uninstall old applications: Remove all the old applications to save the organization from licensing costs.

Future Trends In License Management Software

  • Blockchain technology:  Blockchain technology has dramatically influenced sectors such as financial services, insurance, supply chain, and logistics, etc.  The decentralized mechanism of blockchain also has wide application in software license management.  It can enhance the traceability of the software and prevent the installation of the software when it expires. It can also reduce the risk of the system being corrupted with the use of duplicate or non-valid keys.  Many companies are already using blockchain technology for asset management, and there is massive scope in license management too.
  • AI and ML:  AI and ML are intelligent in their approach, and they can change how users can track the software licenses.  For instance,  ML can learn by itself from the manual processes and determine the right number of licenses the organization requires for carrying out business.  It can save the organization’s time and costs involved in short-listing software solutions.

What Is the Average Cost of License Management Software?

The average cost of license management software could be anywhere around $10/month to $97/month or plus. The pricing can vary based on the number of users or number of active licenses; the prices also differ depending on the type of deployment (on-cloud or on-premise). Some license management software providers also offer a hybrid version that allows users to take advantage of both cloud and on-premise. License management software comes as a standalone solution or bundled with enterprise license management software.

  • License management software for small businesses and startups:  Small businesses and startups usually consider low-budget tools as they have to operate the business with limited resources.  License management software such as Cryptolens at a price of $10/month offers some outstanding license management software features with a low pricing.   The other tool that is a good alternative for startups and small businesses is Solarwinds Service Desk which comes at a starting price of $19/month.  The software covers a range of features such as IT asset management, problem management, change management, etc., including software license management.  The user-friendly interface and interactive dashboard give a complete insight into the software licenses. With such pricing and features, the software certainly stands out as one of the best license management tools. Both these tools offer a free trial. The other tools that could fall in the same slab include Labs64 NetLicensing, Apptivo, and Fossology.
  • License management software for mid-size and large scale businesses:  Mid-size and large-scale businesses often use multiple software solutions, and managing licenses for each software solution requires a robust license management software solution.  It should be able to handle multiple software licenses as well as automate periodic scans to keep track of software inventory. Softwarekey System is the best tool for mid-size and large-scale businesses at a starting price of $49/month. Their extensive features and their support for countless licensing models make it the most eligible tool for license management.  For those users who are interested in a complete IT asset management tool, AssetSonar at a price of $69.99 is an ideal choice.  The tool also supports third-party tool integration and detail reporting ability. In case if users want a particular feature for their tool, they can even send a request to the software vendor. The other tools that more or less fall in the same category include LicenseWatch, Soraco, Softinventive Lab, and FlexNet Code Insight.  The users can also opt for premium license management software that provides strong industry-leading security and flexible software licensing models. Crypkey SDK is a popular license management solution in a premium range at a starting price of $97/month.  The tool supports a wide range of licensing models and implements intelligent network license management.
  • Free and open source license management software: Free and open source license management software gives users the flexibility to customize software features without exceeding their budget.  The users can discover the capabilities of the software without bearing any software development cost, which makes free and open source license management software ideal for small businesses and startups.

Why Refer to Goodfirms' List of Best License Management Software?

GoodFirms today stands as a robust review and rating platform for IT solutions.  The platform has a well-analyzed listing of software solutions spanning various industries and sectors.  Users can pick up the software filtering on various factors and select a reliable IT product to enhance the efficiency of the business processes.  They can compare software products on pricing, features, services, etc., to ensure that they select the right software solution and maximize the ROI.


In order to get the maximum benefits from any software, accessing them in a safe, and legal way is more important.  It is essential that users follow all the licensing guidelines and agreements for secure deployment of the software in their IT infrastructure.  Any negligence in implementing the software licensing rules could bring penalties to the users as well as the risk of cyber threats. In order to avoid these risks, organizations can opt for license management software. License management software features such as license inventory tracking, renewable management, alerts and notifications, etc., makes software bearers’ job quite easy.

Shortlisting the top license management software could be an overwhelming process but with GoodFirms,  the process becomes quite easy. Do not miss to check the list of top license management software exclusively prepared by the GoodFirms’ expert team.

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