A Clear Picture of Licensing in the Cloud
2020-03-12 Terry Gaul
Like many other recent conferences and exhibitions around the globe, attendance took a hit at the RSA Conference 2020 held last month in San Francisco, CA, USA due to travel concerns brought on by Coronavirus. However, the show went on for one of the largest, if not the largest industry event focused solely on security.
This year’s messaging from conference organizers focused on the Human Element in regards to the overwhelming wave of cloud / mobile digital transformations affecting people everywhere, relating to issues like privacy, ethics, usability or responsibility. Vendors showcased solutions and best-of breed technologies across a myriad of categories, addressing endpoints, edge computing, connectivity optimization, privacy, data protection, configuration management, and other areas.
Cloud cybersecurity, of course, is always top of mind at the conference and this year was no exception. The Cloud Security Alliance, a leading organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment, held its 11th annual Summit at the conference. The Summit brought together thought leaders from multi-national enterprises, government, cloud providers and the information security industry who discussed broad issues such as frameworks for Identity and Access Management, critical infrastructure, the next generation cybersecurity workforce, and the future of secure digital transformations, among a number of others.
While conferences like RSA are looking after the big picture, we at Wibu-Systems are laser focused on providing protection and licensing solutions for ISVs and developers of the new generation of connected devices and smart embedded systems. A key question that impacts these developers is how to securely store and manage/provision licenses in the cloud. There are many possibilities to consider. For example, an end user may want to access a license remotely, from anywhere, at any time, from any device; a user may want to share or transfer a license to another user; or a large company may need to manage license availability and security for a huge user base with a diverse set of license requirements and requests based on factors like time expiry and usage count.
Our solution is to make cloud licensing as simple as possible and provide our users with the confidence that the process is secure. In the most basic setup of CodeMeter License Central, the customer simply needs to enter a ticket number in their browser, pointing to the WebDepot application, to find that their application is fully licensed. The license is ultimately stored in an accessible location for the user. Traditionally, the license is stored on the user’s own hard disk (e.g. a CmActLicense) or a specially encrypted dongle (CmDongle), either locally or somewhere on the corporate network. The architecture is designed so that the end users never need to worry about where the license is: only that they can access the software they need when they need it.
The main innovation is a novel type of container, CmCloudContainer, that holds the licenses of the user. The CmCloudContainer is bound to a known user and managed on the CodeMeter Cloud server. The end user needs the right credentials to access that container. Only these credentials are stored locally. The CmCloudContainer and the licenses always remain in the cloud, where they can be updated, renewed, or withdrawn by the license owner, and the effects can be seen virtually instantly.
From a security standpoint, our CodeMeter Cloud solution makes use of certificate chains to establish trust in the cloud licensing and storage environment and protect the integrity of the service. CodeMeter Cloud holds the licenses in a secure web environment, accessible only to those who specifically need it, and manageable only by those authorized to do so.
For more details about our secure Cloud licensing solution, I invite you to read our White Paper, Silver Lining: Licensing in the Cloud.
Vice President Sales USA
Terry Gaul is a sales and business development professional with extensive experience in the software and technology sectors. He has been involved with software protection and licensing technologies for more than 20 years and currently serves as Vice President of Sales at Wibu-Systems USA. When he is not helping customers with software licensing, Terry typically can be found coaching his daughters' soccer teams or camping with his family on the Maine coast.