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Software IP Protection

Whether installed on a PC or embedded in high-value hardware, software applications contain sensitive information and intellectual property (IP) that defines how an application or device functions. 

Intellectual property refers to “creations of the mind,” such as any inventions, designs and any names and images used in commerce. Software IP includes code, algorithms and proprietary data that must be protected from attack. Having the right software IP protection in place protects this proprietary information from manipulation and theft that could pose a risk to the security, and ultimately, the profitability of your business. 

Failing to understand how to protect software intellectual property could cause irreparable damage to your brand, your ability to compete, your revenue, and the service you provide to your customers.

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Protection from Cyber Attacks and Property Theft

Before discussing other ways software IP protection can be used, it is worth distinguishing between software IP protection vs. software protection - two terms that are often confused.

Software protection is typically used to refer to the protection of software against piracy and overuse. It protects the commercial value of the software, regardless of whether any of the intellectual property it contains has been compromised.

Software IP protection refers only to security against the loss of intellectual property.

There are many types of losses of intellectual property software IP protection must defend against. Software piracy is an obvious example, but there are others to consider. They include reverse engineering, code tampering, and gray market activity.

In its most basic form, gray market activity is any activity in which products are distributed through channels that are legal, but unintended by the original manufacturer. Examples of gray market activity include selling products through unauthorized vendors or distributing them in certain countries or regions without authorization.

The problem is that each item sold on the gray market diverts profits away from the business. Gray market activity can also cause huge problems for a brand’s reputation since companies cannot ensure the products being sold are authentic or undamaged. Nor can they provide the correct support information, which can lead to serious problems for a client who runs into trouble, with faulty software, for example.

    • Reverse Engineering - Reverse engineering is used to discover the source code used to create proprietary software. It is done to recreate the program, to develop a similar product or to discover the software weak points, which can then be exploited or, in certain cases, strengthened. .
    • Code Tampering - Code tampering refers to any unauthorized modification of a piece of software that alters the program code and behavior and changes how it functions. This can be done to bypass authentication, data theft or counterfeiting. Preventing code tampering is an ongoing battle in knowing how to protect software intellectual property since software is vulnerable to attack even when it has been deployed and is in full operation.
    • Gray Market Activity - Gray market activity may be a lesser-known problem facing developers and intelligent device manufacturers, but it must be taken seriously and proper software intellectual property protection put in place.

Advantages of Protecting Intellectual Property

Software IP protection uses techniques related to data loss prevention (DLP), prevention of source code leakage, physical security/logical security, obfuscation of executables or data, to name just a few examples.

So, to prevent everything from reverse engineering to grey market activity, make sure you have the best IP protection software in place to protect your intellectual property.

Doing so gives clear financial and security benefits. Having the best software intellectual property protection in place allows you to increase the market value of your product. Software IP protection means you can generate income through the licensing or sale of your products. Licensing a particular product can give you a constant injection of income that will benefit your bottom line.

Software IP protection can be beneficial in other ways. While you may not have plans to sell your business at the moment, that could change. Having identifiable protected IP assets can add extra value to the total worth of your business or company.

Start to Protect your Intellectual Property with Sentinel

Any software-licensing solution that provides software IP protection should deliver intellectual property protection for your embedded software applications and application data files. This is to ensure that algorithms, trade secrets, and any professional know-how embedded in the software are secured against hackers.

It will also put high-level security and access control in place for your entire product suite. While it may not always be necessary to implement anti-piracy and licensing in your product, in almost every case you will need software IP protection. 

All Sentinel solutions use a secure envelope - Sentinel Envelope - to ensure that software code is safe from exposure while en-route to its end-user destination.  

Sentinel Envelope is an automatic file wrapper that provides robust software intellectual property protection against reverse engineering through file encryption, code obfuscation, and system-level anti-debugging.

Sentinel Envelope also creates multiple random layers of protection for each file it protects, making it complex and time-consuming for hackers to remove and giving users the best IP protection software.

To protect data files, the Sentinel Envelope tool wraps the application, encrypting and controlling access to the software data files so that only authorized users and the hosting software can decrypt and upload them.

Want to Learn More About the Various Sentinel IP Protection Solutions?

Sentinel offers the best IP protection software with Sentinel LDK, an out-of-the-box software protection, licensing, and entitlement management system. This system allows you to implement flexible licensing and distribution models that increase the inherent value of your software.

Sentinel LDK also enables you to turn trial users into paying customers, let them pay per use or give them the option to only purchase the features and capabilities of your product that they need. Sentinel LDK also allows you to reduce revenue loss due to piracy loss and offers optimal software IP protection to protect the intellectual property that provides your competitive edge.

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