Software Assurance overview
Every day, your business must respond to change, meet challenges, and maintain growth. And whatever your business, large or small, you rely on an effective and efficient IT infrastructure to help drive success.
How can Software Assurance help you?
Software Assurance benefits help you take full advantage of your investments in IT. A comprehensive program that includes a unique set of technologies, services, and rights to help deploy, manage, and use Microsoft products efficiently, Software Assurance helps keep your business up to date and ready to respond quickly to change and opportunity.
Why Software Assurance?
Take full advantage of your investments in IT.
Why Software Assurance?
You make significant investments in IT, and Software Assurance from Microsoft helps you take fullest advantage of the value your investments can bring. Save time and money with the right tools, training, and support to help empower your people, optimize your technology, and unlock the full potential of your investments in Microsoft technologies. Software Assurance helps you with the following:
- Reduce software and services costs with rights to new software releases and cost-efficient upgrades.
- Use consulting services to plan new, on-premises and cloud-based deployments.
- Improve operational efficiency through access to unique technologies and licensing rights.
- Increase overall user productivity with instructor-led technical training and online end-user training.
- Maintain an available and responsive IT infrastructure with around-the-clock support.
To learn more about the advantages of Software Assurance, download the Software Assurance at a glance (PDF, 326 KB).
Discover the unique benefits and value that Software Assurance can provide for your business.
Software Assurance spans a broad range of Microsoft software and services products, including the Windows operating system, Microsoft Office, Exchange, System Center, SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, and many others. Learn more about the specific benefits available for the products you license.
Software Assurance benefits include new product version rights, deployment planning, technical and end-user training, support, and a unique set of technologies and services. Learn more about Software Assurance benefits and how each can contribute to your business needs.
Learn how to buy
Software Assurance is included with some Volume Licensing programs and is an optional purchase with others.
Getting Software Assurance
Microsoft Volume Licensing is the most cost-effective, flexible, and manageable way to acquire Microsoft software and cloud services. Software Assurance is only available through Volume Licensing and is purchased when you buy or renew a Volume Licensing agreement. It is included with some agreements and is an optional purchase with others. The Software Assurance benefits chart (PDF, 768) provides a summary of the benefits available by Volume Licensing agreement.
Volume Licensing programs are tailored to the needs of different types and sizes of business.
Open Value/ Subscription
Microsoft Products and Services Agreement
Enterprise Agreement/ Subscription
Number of users or devices required
|5 or more||250 or more|
|VAR/distributor/reseller||Licensing Solution Provider (LSP)|
*Select Plus commercial agreements will no longer be sold starting July 1, 2015.
Software Assurance is also available through Volume Licensing for government, academic, health, and nonprofit organizations.
Find a Microsoft Partner or visit Microsoft Volume Licensing to learn more about how to buy through Volume Licensing.
Get started now!
Manage and use your Software Assurance benefits.
Managing Software Assurance
Get to know which benefits your organization is entitled to through your Volume Licensing agreement, and develop an action plan for activating and using them. Here are some basic guidelines to get you started.
- Check your benefits
Your Software Assurance benefits are determined by your Volume Licensing agreement, such as the Enterprise Agreement (EA), Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), or Open Value agreement, and the qualifying license purchases you have with Software Assurance.
Depending on which agreement your organization has, you use one of two tools to manage your available Software Assurance benefits.
Use the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) to view and activate your Software Assurance benefits. You must be registered to use the VLSC. To learn more about registration, view how-to videos or download the VLSC Software Assurance Guide at VLSC Training and Resources. You can also contact your Microsoft Partner for more information.
If you are a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) customer, the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC) is your destination for easy management of your Software Assurance benefits. Sign in to the MVLC to view and start using your available Software Assurance benefits. Learn more about Software Assurance and the MPSA.
- Get ready
A consideration when choosing whether to have one or more individuals manage your organization’s Software Assurance benefits is the size of your organization and the scope of benefits that are available to you. A large enterprise that will access multiple benefits across multiple organizations may find decentralized benefits management most effective. A small or midsize organization may find it more efficient to centralize benefits management with one individual or department. Here are some typical manager recommendations for Software Assurance benefit management.
- New products and unique license rights (for example New Version Rights, Windows Virtual Desktop Access Rights, Microsoft Office Multi-language Pack)
- Deployment resources and tools (for example Planning Services, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), License Mobility through Software Assurance)
- Technical training and learning resources (for example Training Vouchers, E-Learning)
- Support (for example, 24x7 Problem Resolution Support, Extended Hotfix Support, Back-up for Disaster Recovery)
Training Manager/HR Manager/IT Manager
- Home Use Program (HUP)
- Online learning for end users (E-Learning)
- Technical training for IT staff (Training Vouchers)
- Activate and use
Your Software Assurance benefits are activated in the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Before you can activate your Software Assurance benefits in the VLSC, your organization needs to provide you with Software Assurance Manager permissions. After you are signed in, you’ll find a complete list of your available Software Assurance benefits. Getting started and using each individual benefit may differ slightly, but the processes are similar for most. Review the VLSC Software Assurance Guide for steps to activate, download, and use your benefits. Sign in to the VLSC.
Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)
If your organization has a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), go to Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC) to access and start using your benefits. Your Software Assurance benefits are ready to view and use once you sign in to the MVLC. When you are signed in, you’ll find instructions to get started with each benefit, links to more detailed information about each benefit, and sample communications to send to your users. Sign in to the MVLC.
Make the most of your benefits
See Software Assurance benefits in action.
Using Software Assurance
Software Assurance benefits help organizations and industries like yours get the most from their Microsoft technology investments. The following scenarios are just a few examples of how your organization might take advantage of your Software Assurance benefits to maximize the value of your investments in Microsoft technology. To learn more about how Software Assurance can help, download the Software Assurance Program Guide (PDF, 6.12 MB).
- Plan, use, and support—smarter
IT investments are at the core of your organization; they help keep it efficient, agile, and responsive to customer demands. To maximize their contribution to your success, those investments must be smartly deployed, managed, and operated.
Software Assurance Planning Services can help with that. Expert consultants help you plan a custom deployment tailored to your organization and to the requirements of your customers. Then to complement your plan, IT staff can use Training Vouchers at no additional cost for in-depth classroom training to help enhance current skills and master new technologies.
Once your deployment is up and running, help your end users increase their knowledge and their productivity with E-Learning courses that allow them to learn at their own pace. Finally, for added peace of mind, 24x7 Problem Resolution Support provides around-the-clock web and phone support to help keep your updated IT environment efficient and available.
- Optimize and enhance work styles
Your company is growing quickly, and you have a diverse mix of existing employees, new employees, temporary staff, and mobile workers. Employees need to use a variety of company-owned and personal devices in order to work effectively in the office and on the road.
Your Software Assurance Windows To Go Use Rights help your employees work where they choose and on a broad range of licensed devices, using your preconfigured Windows image that can be loaded on the fly from a USB storage device.
In addition, Office Roaming Use Rights allow remote access to Microsoft Office via a virtual environment from a variety of public and private devices — with no additional licenses to buy, and without installing any additional software. The Roaming Use Rights for Windows benefit helps further support your team through remote and secure access to virtual desktops that run in your data center, working with your IT security policy to help you maintain a secure IT environment even when employees access it from unmanaged devices.
For each of your employees in their various roles, you can personalize their experience, simplify application deployment, and improve application compatibility with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). MDOP is a suite of technologies that help manage, secure, and monitor your devices, while simplifying and accelerating the deployment of key Windows features. You get greater control of the software your employees are using, less downtime, and support that is more streamlined.
- A boost for efficiency and productivity
You’ve given your employees the technology they need; now you’re looking to help them take full advantage of those tools to be as effective as they can.
Productive employees are a key ingredient in an agile business. When they use the same software at home and at work, they can gain skills more quickly and make a greater contribution. The Home Use Program (HUP) benefit offers your employees a way to buy the latest version of Microsoft Office for their home devices via a low-cost download. Also, with self-paced, online training at no additional cost, Software Assurance E-Learning courses can help your employees gain skills and become more productive with Microsoft software.
To support growing multilingual business requirements, you can deploy a single Office image with support for 40 user interface languages by using the Office Multi-Language Pack.* In addition, your New Version Rights benefit helps ensure that your employees are always using the latest versions of the software they need.
*For Office 2016, the Office Multi-Language Pack is now included as part of the product. Customers with prior versions covered with Software Assurance will continue to receive this benefit as part of their Software Assurance coverage.
- On-premises, off-premises, in the cloud—on plan
Organizations around the world are excited about the potential they see in cloud computing. You may already be considering the benefits of using outsourced or cloud-based services for one or more of your server-based applications. Whether off-premises or in your own environment, Software Assurance helps you prepare for cloud migrations with a powerful combination of consultancy and innovative server licensing opportunities.
Lower-cost off-premises deployments can prove easier to scale and take less effort to manage. License Mobility Through Software Assurance helps you retain the value of your existing server license investments by extending their use to the cloud when you assign eligible server licenses to an authorized hosting partner—no need to buy additional licenses.
If you decide to take advantage of opportunities offered by the cloud, Planning Services partners can help you build a deployment, upgrade, or migration plan tailored for your organization. With flexible offerings, Planning Services help extend your internal expertise by incorporating best practices for deploying an array of Microsoft solutions on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments.
Additionally, to help keep track of your organization’s on-premises and off-premises applications and services, System Center Global Service Monitor provides a cloud service that simplifies monitoring the availability of external web-based applications from multiple locations around the world.
- Power up your IT investments
Microsoft Volume Licensing is the most cost-effective, flexible, and manageable way to acquire Microsoft software and cloud services. As a Volume Licensing customer, you can enhance your IT investments further with Software Assurance benefits, which apply across a broad range of licensing agreements. Software Assurance provides you with the tools and training you need to do more with your Microsoft IT investments.
Among the many ways that Software Assurance helps you spend less and do more with your IT investments, Planning Services provide on-site consultants to collaborate with your IT staff and help you evaluate how you can efficiently deploy a range of Microsoft solutions. Flexible licensing rights and use options help you empower your office and mobile workers on a broad range of devices and reduce support costs. In addition, your employees can access technical and end-user training without affecting your training budget.
Along with technical cost-savers, you also get help with budgeting. The Software Assurance Spread Payments benefit works with your budget and helps lower your initial licensing costs. Instead of one up-front payment, you spread the costs of your Volume Licensing and Software Assurance purchase across three equal, annual sums, helping you forecast your technology budget up to three years in advance.