How software asset management needs to adapt to changing cloud conditions

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A new report issued today by Flexera Software argues that software asset management (SAM) needs to evolve to keep up with software as a service (SaaS) and virtualisation moving into the mainstream.

The study, which polled almost 500 respondents answering questions on enterprise and application production, found that for 20% of respondents, more than a quarter of their software is SaaS-based, while 39% say more than a quarter is virtualised. Interestingly, while three quarters say 80% or more of their desktop apps run on Microsoft Windows, that number is expected to go down to 64% within two years.

This shift causes problems for the relatively long-standing SAM solutions in place, the report argues. “Organisations wrongly believe that if they move to the cloud, their SAM challenges disappear,” it explains. “In reality, the opposite is true – they become more complicated.”

“The definition of enterprise software has changed drastically – from an IT asset running on a local physical device to an asset that is exposed to the risks inherent in the Internet, and is often virtualised or running remotely from a cloud, leveraging cloud infrastructures that carry their own costs and risks,” said R ‘Ray’ Wang, principal analyst and founder at Constellation Research. “The old definitions of SAM are too limited and must expand to allow businesses to manage costs and risk in this new IT framework.”

Only 29% of organisations polled say they continually monitor their systems to identify unlicensed and unauthorised software – and the report argues that next generation SAM tools need to integrate with security initiatives such as software vulnerability management.

“SAM has moved from the fringes to the mainstream,” the report concludes. “Enterprises have experienced the pain and risk that occurs when their software assets are not managed properly, and SAM people, processes and technology are being implemented across organisations of all sizes to address the problem.

“But the software landscape is constantly evolving,” it adds. “SAM must evolve to redefine how software is managed in these new environments. And as software becomes the primary attack vector by which hackers invade corporate networks and threaten corporate security – SAM must also evolve to play its important role in corporate security.”

Some organisations are expanding their portfolio in line with this; Snow Software, traditionally a SAM player, is moving further into enterprise mobility management (EMM), as exemplified by its placing in the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant on the topic. Alan Giles, business unit manager of Snow’s mobility arm, told this reporter that he was happy the company was in a “niche space populated by one.”

You can find out more about the Flexera report here (registration required).

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