Licensing.  Not an easy topic.  The Support for Small Business (SSB) portal strives to make complex topics like licensing easier to understand.  Read on to de-mystify some of the complexity around licensing as we provide you with some online resources to help with your specific business needs.

So Licensing.  What does that actually mean? 

The definition from an online business dictionary tells us that it's the "Contractual agreement between two business entities in which the licensor permits the licensee to use a brand name, patent, or other proprietary right, in exchange for a fee or royalty". 

Aaargh, jargon!

To put it simply and in the context of Microsoft products, to use a program on a device, you need a license for that program. Software and services that come preinstalled on your device have a license for use on that device. When you buy packaged software, the package usually includes the license to use the software on one device. This is generally the way it works with Microsoft products.  You buy a copy of Office from PC World, you're licensed to use it on your pc.

Easy right?  However, sometimes a license lets you install the software or service on more than one device. So, always read the license agreement to see how many different devices you can use the product on at the same time. If you are already using all the licenses, you must buy another license before you install the program on another device.

And this is where it starts to get complex.  When you're talking about more than one license for more than one product as your small business grows, you need to make sure that you remain compliant from a licensing perspective, but that you're also getting the best out of the possible licensing options available. 

If you plan to install a product on more than five devices, i.e. you have more than 5 staff members, Microsoft Volume Licensing might be the way to go.  You might have heard of Volume licensing and thought it was just for large companies or enterprises but actually it's great for Small Business' too for the following reasons. 

  • It provides customised purchasing options to meet your business needs
  • It is more convenient than individual licensing and improves your ability to manage the software within your business
  • Most importantly in this current economic climate, it saves you money!

If your brow is already furrowed, fear not, our online resources are here to help. The guided walkthrough on the SSB portal describes all the options available to you and helps determine the best way to manage your software licensing.  One tool that is particularly useful is the Microsoft License Advisor tool which you can use to research Microsoft Volume Licensing products, programs and pricing and enables you to get a quote which you can conveniently share with colleagues or your Microsoft product reseller.  

As always, the SSB site is full of useful information so don't forget to have a look today.  http://smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com/en-gb/

Posted by Nic Davie.

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