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Licenses vs. Entitlements: Know your rights

October 20, 2021

Thales Thales | Cloud Protection & Licensing Solutions More About This Author >

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.

Building internally seems to have its advantages, however it is actually more complicated that you might think. A robust licensing entitlement platform can help you:

  • Stay flexible according to market demands
  • Focus on developing your software instead of a developing a licensing platform

Learn how you can leave the complex development and maintenance of licensing and entitlements to the experts in this white paper about building vs buying software licensing and entitlement platform.