Why you need to manage your license dongles


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License dongles are tiny devices that connect to a computer’s USB port to give engineers access to software in their daily workflow. Such devices are easy to carry, because of their size, and are a very important part of the flexible software security strategy and licensing solutions of vendors such as Autodesk, Siemens, MathWorks, ESRI etc.

Managing hardware-based security keys is easy when you have only one or two, and you are the only person dealing with them. But the situation becomes much more complicated in an enterprise environment with hundreds of users. Their need to access software is fulfilled by giving them license USB keys. When we add multiple departments and multiple locations into the mix, things get very complicated. It’s super easy to lose visibility of and control over the license dongles the organization owns.

Where are the dongles? Are the engineers using them?

These questions arise by mail or phone, and become a stress factor to department leaders: besides their daily tasks they also need to keep track of the hardware assets provided to end users. What can you do to at least keep track of those dongles? You might create yet another excel sheet and insert the name of the user so you know you gave it to him or her. Then come the questions of where is located and whether he or she is using it.

License dongles provided by Keylock

In hardware asset management there is no room for gray areas. These license keys are organization assets, and an IT manager needs to know where they are located and whether or not they are in use. Without visibility, it is impossible to manage company assets, including license dongles.

Lost devices

Lost dongles create a lot of headaches for IT managers for several reasons: first, it means that the engineer doesn’t have access to the software he or she needs to progress with their work; and secondly, it takes time to report the loss and obtain a replacement dongle from the vendor.

Siemens’ License Management Utility interface displays information about the vendor, key ID and key type. Image source: Siemens

Third, the lack of dongle management poses as a security risk for the company: what if is stolen by a former employee? Sometimes it takes just days, but without control over the location, IT managers may only notice the loss after months. If not reported as stolen as soon as the dongle disappeared from the radar of the IT professional, it causes monetary losses to the company: they are paying for software licenses used by other than employees.

Fourth, if a lost token is reported and replaced by the vendor, and then later is found and plugged into one of the workstations, that action creates a compliance breach.

Gain visibility of the dongle inventory

To gain visibility of the inventory, IT professionals need software that helps obtain accurate information about the hardware key, such as its type, location, and usage. This is exactly what OpenLM’s Dongle Monitoring solution provides. Available as a Cloud Portal product, our solution consolidates all USB asset details into a centralized, Web-based system of records.

Manage the organization’s hardware asset inventory

With all the license keys introduced into the system, you now just sit back and let the data flow in and gain complete visibility of

  • where the dongle is located;
  • which engineer is using it;
  • how long it has been in use.

Dongle monitoring makes it easier to identify potential security risks (e.g. dongles taken off the network) and provides you with the right set of information to help you make decisions such as reporting a dongle as lost or not. The reports feature will give visibility of dongle usage, so it will be much easier to manage the lifecycle of the license keys.

Are you ready to gain visibility of your license dongle inventory? Activate the product in the Cloud Portal.

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