In our last blog post, we looked at how schools can build a “future-proof” solution for managing software licenses. The three tips provided were to move away from spreadsheet-based systems, automate and offload work, and centralize the management and distribution of licenses.
But those are not the only steps schools can take toward this goal. Here are three more ways for academic institutions to future-proof how they manage software licenses.
Prioritize Scalability and Flexibility
Software’s prevalence in education has exploded over the past decade. The quantity of software titles licensed by higher-ed institutions has skyrocketed – and will only continue to rise as we progress further into the digital age.
On top of that, new compliance requirements and licensing models have emerged (most notably the cloud). The complexities of these new models are straining legacy systems that were never built to support them and complicating the never-simple task of distributing licenses and ensuring compliance with terms and conditions.
Universities and colleges and universities should carefully consider whether updating existing systems as the need arises will cut it, or whether those systems may be fundamentally ill-equipped to meet modern (and future) requirements. A ground-up rethink of how your institution licenses, manages, and distributes software may seem daunting. But it might be necessary to develop the most future-proof solution possible.
Incorporate Security and Privacy by Design
Academic institutions are among the most popular and vulnerable cyberattack targets. And according to WatchGuard’s Internet Security Report for Q2 2021, ransomware and malware attacks are expected to increase by over 150% by the end of 2021 compared to the previous year.
At the same time, strict new privacy laws are proliferating around the world. This includes the EU’s infamous GDPR and the CCPA in California, among others. These laws place a great deal of responsibility on organizations to protect private data and impose potentially devastating financial penalties for noncompliance. Certain clauses within some of them make managing cloud software in an academic setting especially complicated – and risky.
These are not temporary trends. Cybersecurity threats will continue to rise, and laws like the GDPR and CCPA are almost sure to serve as models for future legislation all around the world. This makes it essential for schools to incorporate privacy and security by design into all solutions they hope to future-proof – including their system for managing and distributing software licenses.
Sadly, there is no such thing as a truly, 100% “future-proof” solution for managing and distributing software. Licensing models and compliance requirements will continue to evolve, creating new challenges that schools will need to solve. Stakeholders in academic IT will always need to remain vigilant for potential disruptions, regularly reassess their needs, and adjust course as required.
However, the tips provided in this blog post can help create solutions that are as resilient to future changes as possible. And if schools adopt an organized and comprehensive review process in which all key stakeholders have a voice, they’ll be better positioned to spot potential disruptions in advance and avoid the ‘whack-a-mole’ approach of scrambling for stopgap solutions to problems as they arise.