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Proper storage and cataloging of your software media and licenses will prove invaluable to your organization. Establishing policies and best practices in this area is an important tool in helping your company control cost and business risks, and optimize your existing assets.  As your company grows, you can stay organized by having accurate records on hand and keeping all licenses and agreements in one central location.

Storing Your Software and Documentation

Setting up libraries, inventories, databases, and storage for your software media and licenses is relatively easy—and it's crucial to minimizing your company's legal and business risks. With a good system in place, you will have ready access to all of your company's software, installation media, proof of ownership, and backup copies. All this will be at hand in the event of an audit, a system crash, fire, or any other unforeseen emergency.

As you set up your software inventory and storage system, make sure that you:

  • Create a centralized library of all proof-of-ownership documents for your entire software library. Maintain a second set of copies of all documentation offsite and make frequent updates. Keep this documentation in a fireproof, waterproof, lockable cabinet.

  • Create a centralized inventory of all software titles owned, and keep a copy offsite. Be sure to perform frequent and thorough updates.

  • Create a set of backup copies of all installation media. Be sure to establish and maintain a second set of copies offsite, and update it regularly. Store your copies in a fireproof, waterproof, lockable cabinet. You should also perform regular system backups and send copies of the backup tapes offsite.

Software Disaster Recovery

To minimize risks that face your company, it is important to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) contains the procedures your company can follow in the event of an emergency or disaster. If you followed the guidelines for implementing policies for checking in, cataloging, and storing your software, you are already in a good position to protect and restore your systems and software.

Learn about SAM and disaster protection

By establishing procedures to recover software after an unforeseen tragedy, you will know exactly how to respond if the unthinkable happens. It’s an important precautionary step that will prove invaluable if the need arises.

Software Assurance customers have access to "Cold" Backups for Disaster Recovery rights for their covered servers at no additional charge.

Learn more about Cold Backups

Getting Started on your Software DRP

Establish a set of goals you would like to achieve with your Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). Your DRP should include information about protecting and restoring your systems and software.

Consider the following:

  • Create ways to recover from any type of loss, including inventory data, installation media, and loss of proof of ownership.

  • Determine how you will keep your system up to date.

  • Decide what steps you will take to restore onsite media and information to its previous state in the event of a disaster.

Establish a centralized set of backup copies of all installation media. Be sure to create and maintain a second set of copies offsite and update it regularly. Store your copies in a fireproof, waterproof, lockable cabinet.

Create a centralized library of all proof-of-ownership documents for all your software titles. As with everything else, maintain a second set of copies of all documentation offsite, and make frequent updates. Keep this documentation in a fireproof, waterproof, lockable cabinet.

Perform regular system backups, and send copies of the backup tapes offsite.

Taking Inventory

Establish and maintain a central inventory of all software licensed by your company, and keep this data up to date by entering all new acquisitions into the system upon arrival. Keep a full copy of your inventory data offsite, and update it regularly. This step will help you maintain and protect all proof-of-ownership documentation and installation media.

Perform regular audits to maintain the integrity of your inventory, and make quarterly spot checks. Conduct a full inventory annually and compare the results to your existing inventory data. Keep a copy of this data offsite in the event your onsite records are compromised. The offsite copy should be housed at a safe location that several people at the company have access to. This will prevent dependence on any one person for access in the event of an emergency.

Read more about conducting a software inventory

Proof of Ownership

Storing and protecting your proof-of-ownership documentation is an important part of a DRP. Remove and retain all proof-of-ownership documentation before any software is installed. All originals should be sent to an offsite repository, and copies should be kept on hand for day to day reference.

This documentation may consist of any or all of the following:

  • Retail Software License Terms (also known as End User License Agreements), or similar records

  • Certificates of Authenticity

  • Purchase orders and invoices (including any returns), software boxes

  • Record of transfer (where allowed)

Software boxes and all original documentation should be kept in your offsite storage facility. As always, make copies of the documentation, and keep them readily available onsite.

Installation Media

Store one copy of the installation media, including CDs and users’ manuals, for all software in an offsite repository. You should check and inventory the offsite repository on a regular basis (at least every quarter) as part of your broader ongoing SAM efforts.

You may also want to create a central library that is readily accessible to authorized support staff. If the manufacturer permits making backups, keep at least one copy in this library. If copies aren’t allowed, you will need to have additional original media. You can often obtain additional copies of installation media from the manufacturer for a nominal fee.

Software is a physical asset and should be protected as such. Preparing and implementing a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) as part of your SAM plan will enable your business to continue to operate should a disaster occur—thus minimizing your business risks and providing greater agility and responsiveness.

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Establish standards for all phases of the software life cycle: