How can you ensure that your company is complying with its contractual obligations around the use of third-party software? Moreover, how can you be sure that those software assets are being properly utilized? It all starts by understanding the fundamental difference between the terms ‘software license’ (or licensing) and ‘entitlement’ (or entitlement management).

What Is Licensing?

As we explained in our previous blog post, a license is what grants a customer the right to use a particular piece of software. It contains a set of terms and conditions that define to what extent you may legally use that software. When taken on its own, however, a license only provides enforcement via legal recourse.

So how do you ensure that the rights defined in a software license are being used by the right people, in the right places, at the right time?

Entitlements and Entitlement Management

Say, for example, that a company purchases a software license for the right to use 50 seats of a software product. The software entitlement specifies the machines and/or users to which those 50 licensed seats are assigned.

Licenses vs. Entitlements
Entitlement management is a system by which rights are assigned to their intended recipients and subsequently managed. It provides fine-grained control over the rights to use the license and, therefore, the software. The system enables you to grant, resolve, enforce, and revoke access entitlements, as well as enforce access policies for data, devices, and services.

Effective entitlement management gives you the peace of mind that license owners will never operate outside the bounds of their licenses. It also ensures that all the rights within those licenses are being optimally utilized.

This blog post is part of our Software Monetization 101 series, which examines commonly misunderstood terminology in the software protection, licensing, and entitlement management space.

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