NetLicensing Journal

Software Licensing & Protection made simple

Understanding Freemium

You may well have heard the term ‘Freemium’ or in the context of mobile or online gaming ‘Free to Play’. It is becoming ever more common as a method of distribution for software and web services and it is likely that you will have taken advantage of ‘freemium’ product even if you have not previously heard the term.

Internet of Things – Part III

In our last article we briefly looked at the question of how the ‘Internet of Things’ could be set to drastically change the world of licensing. Until now most of us have been familiar with the process of licensing software; and how that model is changing. Significantly, in the past 2 years there has been a noticeable shift away from ‘one-off’ license payments to a ‘subscription’ model. This has made it more affordable for many customers, as it has also seen a shift in the way that the software is distributed. Rather than having annual releases with a two-tiered price model (Upgrade or Buy) with a large amount of software you now pay a fixed monthly fee and receive all updates for as long as you continue to pay the fee.

NetLicensing Can Save Lives

We have always known that NetLicensing is a great product. With the ability to save vendors of all sizes; time, money and effort. Now, it would seem NetLicensing can even save actual lives! We recently received this story in an email from one of our customers, and thought that we would share it with you – maybe NetLicensing could save your (work)life?

Internet of Things – Part II

In our last article we looked at how the internet has become an integral part of our lives, rather than simply being a resource where we find information and a tool that we use to communicate. It is now at the centre of our lives. We are reliant upon it to carry out everyday tasks and for our numerous devices to work properly.

Internet of Things – Part I

It’s a little over thirty years since the first internet domain name was registered, and although a lot has happened to the internet since then. It is still a fairly young technology. It is in this short time that the internet has become a central part of our lives.

Licensing in the Cloud

A topic that we have covered on repeated occasions has been the perpetual increase in the number of devices which can access the internet. We have looked at this from a number of perspectives but one that has so far eluded us is the subject of licensing and license activation.

Services Can Add Automatic Image Attribution for Your Website

Stock and custom photos and images can add a nice final touch to your website and blog when making a point. The prevalence of photo sharing services and new digital technologies has made photos more common across the Web, so your content needs to secure stunning images to keep up with the competition.

The benefits of LaaS for software development, deployment and customer service

The movement of infrastructure, processing and networks to the cloud often involves the emulation of software and services that run these cloud-based platforms. Software running in the ether still requires a license, but managing the licensing for virtual machines can become a complex task, especially when a single server or machine may run multiple instances of your software.

Who’s Watching You?

It is undeniable that one of the largest technology stories of 2013 was not a new range of televisions, or a revolutionary smartphone. Although these were both technologies that emerged in this year, the story which saw a UK newspaper destroy computer hard disk drives in the presence of members of the Security Forces and a well-documented man-hunt across half of the world was the revelations released by a former employee of the American National Security Agency that millions of people had had their personal emails and mobile phone records accessed by agencies in both America and Europe.

Is there a decline in personal device usage?

The change in application use is reflective of a broader shift in the way that people interact with the technology around them. Even five years ago, people were not as ‘connected’ as they are now. Increasing broadband connection speeds, wider availability of free Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G mobile networks has meant that we are hardly ever away from the multitude of computers that we now carry with us, wherever we go.

The New Way to Pay

The defining aspect of the success of Smartphones over the last five years has been the ability that they have given us to literally do anything we want in practically any place. The phrase ‘there is an app for everything’ has now become common parlance amongst both industry members and consumers alike. We carry in our pockets mini-computers with more power and potential than those which we used in offices just 10 years ago.

Think outside the Box (and your wallet)

You are an inventor, you have a great idea for a new piece of technology but you don’t have the resources to properly explore your ideas and bring them to fruition. You don’t have any great amount of disposable income and there is no one willing to back you. You don’t want to do a half hearted job as you’re worried that if you don’t get it right first time, then you will have lost your chance and your dreams will be over.

‘Specific Use’ Applications

It might seem strange to think that it is now ten years since the largest social network every created was first dreamt up in the dormitory of an American University. It’s uniquely recognisable symbol is everywhere and can be used to access almost everything. It is undeniable that social networking has completely changed the way in which we interact with people as well as how we approach our day to day communications with one another.

Working with Canvas – The new technology of vector animation

Use of HTML5 gives developers new horizons in animation implement for their websites. There is no need to use outdated Flash technology or to overload traffic with large images, you can simply familiarize with a few norms of creation of motion interpretation by canvas redraw.

Application Security: The Essentials – Insufficient Transport Layer Protection

In this, our final article in our series on the essentials of Application Security, we will be looking at Insufficient Transport Layer Protection. This occurs when an application has failed to properly encrypt network traffic, which means that confidentiality and overall integrity has been compromised. ITLP also covers the times when applications network level security is weakened; this can be because of flaws in algorithms, improper use of certificates and use of security certificates which have expired.

Application Security: The Essentials – Failure to Restrict URL Access

It is often the case that applications will contain URL references to its separate pages through the use of protected links and buttons. The content to which you link depends entirely upon the application and its function; however, you should consider every link to be a potential gateway for an attack. Within an application, there is likely to be references to pages which contain confidential or sensitive data and unless you have correctly configured the restrictions; anyone with network access could potentially access private pages.

Apps for Business

In this next article in our ongoing series on the future for application developers, we now turn to applications which are commissioned and made for business. The stereotypical image of a businessman with both his suitcase and email-enabled phone hastiled checking, reading and replying whilst on the go.

Apps in Education

In our recent article, we looked at the question of whether or not an increasingly saturated application market is leading towards an application ‘crash’. There is a strong argument to be made that developing for niche markets is the way forward if companies and developers are to be successful.

Application Security: The Essentials – Cross Site Request Forgery

We have already looked at how applications which use external references to a browser can be vulnerable to attacks (see Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards). With Cross Site Request Forgery you are dealing specifically with an application which sends HTTP requests to the user’s browser, as a part of its day to day functionality. External URL requests are, as we have previously discussed, a risk because they take the user outside of the boundaries of the application. This means that the level of control which you as a developer have is immediately impeded. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to prevent cross site request forgery.

Application Security: The Essentials – Insecure Direct Object References

In the articles which we have already published on the topic of application security, there has been a recurring topic of proper authentication within the application. Applications are built in layers, with different degrees of access being granted to different users; depending upon whether their credentials have been correctly authenticated. Obviously the primary access to the application should be as secure as possible, with timeouts, secure password policies etc. This article will look at the need for secure references within the application.

Future trends in mobile payments

Mobile payment systems are taking root around the globe, reaching major retailers and coffee shops as well as the single-store small and mid-sized boutiques that dot the landscape.

QR Codes are everywhere

Quick Response (QR) Codes are everywhere we go. They are on adverts, in newspapers, on the backs of books and appearing on television screens. They make use of a technology which has been in existence for some time, but that until now has been more common in supermarkets than out on the street.

Application Security: The Essentials – Insecure Cryptographic Storage

In the past few years there has been an exponential increase in the volume of sensitive and confidential data which is being stored by applications and other software. The reason for this change has been a particular drive towards a need for immediacy and ease of use amongst consumers. In short; people now want to do things even faster and with less effort that before. This means that they are entrusting a larger amount of personal data to automated processes within software and applications.

Application Security: The Essentials – Broken Authentication and Session Management

Modern applications frequently handle sensitive data and as such it is common practice for developers to implement varying layers of authentication to access the application. This also means that as a developer you can gather more detailed information about your users i.e. through their email address, which can be used as a marketing tool.

Technology in 2014: Top Emerging Trends

At the start of every new year, there is always a great deal written about what industry experts and writers alike; expect to be the ‘top’ trends for that year. What will be the next big thing? Everyone tries to predict it, and few people often get it exactly right.

Application Security: The Essentials – Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross Site Scripting, or XSS as it is also known, is when the data which is taken by an application and sent to a web browser is done so without proper validation and authentication being carried out first. It leaves the user open to attacking scripts from hackers and hijackers; the effect of this being that they can potentially hijack the user’s session and obtain a vast amount of data.

How to Safely Implement BYOD

The age of the Internet is coming to your employees’ pockets as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend continues to sweep across industries all over the world. Employees already use their smartphones to check email, send out company updates and schedule meetings. Allowing employees to conduct these and other company business on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops can be dangerous when left unchecked, but proper BYOD policies and software can keep your mobile operations safe.

Application Security: The Essentials – Injection

In this next series of articles we will be looking in some detail at some of the major risks which present themselves to creators and users of applications. We will not be targeting developers themselves, but those of you who either run a business or are looking to get started in the world of application development this is good place to start. You will often be dealing with large amounts of highly sensitive data and security is there absolute paramount to your operation.

Trends in Application Development – Stay Ahead

If your company is to stay ahead in the highly competitive market of application development it is imperative that you stay on top of all of the latest trends, as the consumer will likely already be several steps ahead of you. You should also bear in mind that every single one of your competitors will be pouring as much, if not more, time and money researching the latest trends and seeking out new ways to be innovative.

Paywall – making users pay for what they see online

A question which has often presented itself to the producers of News and Media content for the internet is how to make their work pay in an environment where the expectation is that all content can be easily accessed and most of the time for free. Consumers are naturally drawn to the content which is readily available and free. If they can find a free alternative, then they will stop paying for a service. That is, unless the quality of the paid service is of a good enough value, and a high enough quality that the consumer will be prepared to pay.

The Ins and Outs of Outsourcing

If you run a medium to large sized business you will likely have considered outsourcing at some step along the way to building your successful company. Even if you have only recently started out as a small business with just a handful of employees you may well have built outsourcing into your five or ten year plan for the company’s infrastructure.

Thinking big about small business data backups

One hazard of operating a small business is thinking that your data backup plans have to be small too. Data backups are essential to maintaining your business, especially as databases grow and press the limits of your hardware.

Software Licensing Metrics – Physical Machine

In this series of articles on software licensing metrics we have so far covered a range of different metric types which measure the process or task carried out by the software in a variety of ways. In these two final articles in the series, we will be looking at Physical Machine and Machine Compute Capacity as metrics.

Software Licensing Metrics – Concurrent User

In our last article on software licensing metrics we discussed ‘Named User’ as a unit of measurement. In this article we will be looking at ‘Concurrent Users’ which is easily confused with Named User as they both rely on measuring the usage level according to the number of users. The crucial difference, which we will elaborate on more in a moment, is that where the Named User uses either the number of logins, Users with access or the actual CPU usage by each user – Concurrent users relies on the number of simultaneous uses. A seemingly minor, but still important distinction.

Software Licensing Metrics – Performance

In our most recent article on software licensing metrics, we looked at the Managed Capacity metric which enables you to distribute different types of software to a wide range of customers of different sizes and charge them accordingly. In this article we will be looking at the Performance metric, which is a little harder to define, but is still worth considering as it comes under the same banner as Managed Capacity metric  – namely a metric which does not measure the individual aspects of the software’s use but rather the overall service which it provides to the customer.

Lifecycle of a Website

The lifecycle of a website consists of various phases. It starts from information gathering, design and development of the website and finally the maintenance phase makes it a constant attention seeking process.

Software Licensing Metrics – Managed Capacity

The common theme which has run through all of our previous articles on software licensing metrics is how to find the best metric for your product and customer base. Acknowledging that every use of the software will be different and hopefully providing you with some information which will help you to make the right decision. The three types of metric which we have covered so far have been reliant upon a pre-determined installation or permissive use of the software by a user. This article is about a metric which fits into a rather different category, it is a metric which does not measure individual uses or installations of the software but rather measures the size of the overall task which the software is used to perform.

The Consumerization of IT – Introducing Bring Your Own Device

The modern world is a minefield of potential lawsuits, with every turn we are faced with more and more pitfalls and traps presented by the ever increasing availability of technology. If you are a business owner you will be all too aware of the ongoing ‘Consumerisation of IT’: namely the increased use within the business environment of personal devices. Whether this be tablets, mobile phones or in an increasingly rare case – laptops.

Correct Use of Stock Images on your Website and Publications

The effective use of images and photography on your website and blog can have a massive impact upon the message which you convey to your customers. A phrase which is well known and perhaps now a little too often used – a picture speaks a thousand words – is actually truer now than ever before. The advent of ever smaller technology and a greater degree of reading ‘on the go’ it has become absolutely paramount to make you website content as eye-catching as possible. If you have strong title and header image people are more likely to bookmark any blog posts of yours which they are linked to by friends and colleagues, than those which are pure text.

Software Licensing Metrics – Named User / Role

Hello and welcome to this next article in our ongoing series on Software Licensing Metrics. In this article we will be looking at what is considered by some companies to be the most cost-effective of all metrics – ‘Named User’. It is, in principle a very straightforward metric to understand. If your customers business operates using a Group Policy where each user is assigned a unique login then a Named User can be an easy to implement means of managing their license costs.

SaaS vs. Traditional Software Licensing Model

Software as a Service has been instrumental in harnessing benefits of productivity of man and organization in working environment by delivering a diverse range of remotely maintained applications over the Internet. Unlike Traditional Software Licensing Model, SaaS strives to resolve the inflexibility of software that arises during maintenance and evolution. Software as a Service model is user friendly and incurs comparatively lower cost.

Software Licensing Metrics – Instance / Installation

Hello and welcome to this next article on Licensing Metrics, we’ve already covered some more general points about Licensing Metrics in two previous articles which it would be worth reading if you are new to the topic of Licensing Metrics. In this next stage of articles on Licensing Metrics we will be looking more specifically at different types of metrics, usually one per article, the different pros and cons of each and how they work in real-world use. If you are familiar with our previous series on Software Licensing Types then you will know how we structure these articles and what you can expect from them.

Software Licensing Metrics – Know Your Rights

Hello and welcome to our third article on Software Licensing Metrics. You’ll need to have read the first two articles in order if you’re going to get the most out of this one which will cover the importance of the definition of rights in an agreement over license metrics. We will look at the common problems which vendors encounter; the common disagreements which often occur, some possible methods which you can use to avoid those, management methods for when disagreements do happen and the best course of action which you can take to avoid losing business.

Software Licensing Metrics – The Value of Simplicity

At the heart of an effective software metric system is its inherent simplicity and the ease of explanation granted to the vendor. The key to selling a product well is the first impression it makes on the customer. Although every salesperson will always say when they are talking to a potential customer they want to keep as far away from discussion of the price as possible; it is often the deciding factor in the decision by a business or individual about whether or not to purchase a piece of software or a service.

Software Licensing Metrics – What are they?

As a company who distributes software to both domestic and business customers, it is important to ensure that you are charging the right amount for the products which you are distributing. In order to give your customers the best value possible, you need to make sure that your price is competitive and that it reflects the usage of the software.

Software Licensing Models – OEM, Time Limited and Upgrade Licenses

In this, our last article in our series on Software Licensing types, we will be looking at three final licensing types: OEM, Time Limited and Upgrade. The reason that these have been left to our last post that that they do not easily ‘fit’ within a certain group of license types and their uses are arguably esoteric. They have a limited field of use and are only useful to a small selection of end-users.

Software Licensing Models – Cross License and Duplicate grouping

This is now our seventh article, in our ongoing series on different software licensing models, their benefits and uses. We are now nearing the end of this particular series and as a result, the final couple of articles will see us cover those license models which we haven’t found space for previously. Rather than focusing on a specific type of licensing model in each article we will be covering a variety of types which link back to those which have already been discussed.

Software Licensing Models – Feature and Exclusive Software Licenses

Hello and welcome to this next article in our ongoing series on Software Licensing Types. If you are new to this series it would be worthwhile reading the previous articles which you can find on our blog. The first post has more detail about what it is that these articles are doing and you will also find our discussion in this article more useful if you have read those which come before it.

Software Licensing Models – Usage and Performance Licenses

It is likely that when they are investigating a new piece of software in which they are considering investing, your customers will want to be sure that they get the absolute best value for their money. In your position as a vendor, it is worthwhile building strong relationships with your customers by always helping them to get the best deal possible. This will save them money in the short term and help build stronger relationships in the long term.

Software Licensing Models – Personal, Node-locked

Hello and welcome to this next article in our ongoing series on software licensing types. It would be worthwhile reading the first post in this series before any others – but after that it doesn’t really matter in which order you read them! This article does follow on from the types of licenses discussed in the previous one, namely licenses which are likely to be used by your business customers.

Software Licensing Models – Floating and Group

In this third article of our ongoing series about Software Licensing Types (see here for the first and second articles) we will be looking at Floating (concurrent) network licenses, Floating (concurrent) host list licenses and Group Licenses. These are best applied in medium to large businesses; however they may also hold some benefits for smaller businesses. This is particularly true where we are dealing with a piece of software that will be used by a large number of people.

Software Licensing Models – Beta and Development

In this second article in our series on software licensing models, we’ll be looking at two more types of software license: Beta and Development. If you haven’t already done so, then we’d suggest you read the first article in the series as it has more detail about what software licenses are, how they are relevant to you and your business and it also covers the four ‘main’ types of software licenses which are available to you.

Software Licensing Models – Types, Sizes and Uses

If you’ve ever purchased a piece of software you’ll have been given a software license key by the manufacturer. This would either have come in the case or have been sent out in the software documentation. The Software License Key is the unique string of numbers and letters which identifies the software as legitimate and which enables you to use all of the features it has to offer.

SVN / Git : side-by-side command reference

In our projects we use both SVN and Git and know how difficult sometimes it can be to mentally switch from one version control to another. As an aid, we created for you this hands-on SVN / Git side-by-side command reference:

Operating as a Service: Different Choices from SaaS to LaaS

The cloud has become an integral part of our daily lives. For business cases, we typically refer to the connection and all of our data interactions as taking place in the cloud. This has led to a rise of many new terms starting with the ever-present Software as a Service (SaaS).

Set environment variables in windows shortcut

I faced this problem when installed Inkscape (GNU GPL licensed SVG editor) with multiple language packs. Once I started the Inkscape for the first time, I got the UI in German language. Not nice, I wanted it in English. So, I started to look where can I switch the language, and surprisingly I didn’t find this option. Also there appeared to be no command-line switch for it. Brief search through the Web revealed, that the Inkscape shows its UI in default system locale (which is German in my case), unless locale is overridden by the LANG environment variable. Tested from the command line – worked like a charm. So far so good, but I don’t like to start Inkscape from the command line each time.

DNS provider comparison

In general, there are many providers where you can get DNS hosting services for free. This, however, is not always the best choice as you only get a basic service.

Recommended Agile Books

Let us begin with some good Agile Book recommendations! Here is a short list of titles that I really found helpful…

The Agile Principles

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.