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Users need a software management framework
With regard to your articles on software licensing (Computer Weekly, 25 July), we agree that software management can be complex and that something needs to be done to simplify the process.
The management of software has been a confusing process, with a huge number of suppliers having no commonality in their licensing models or product identification. The software asset management sector has for a long time remained unregulated, with no measurement for best practice. In this climate
it has been difficult for users to identify qualified asset management practitioners or measure their effectiveness.
Many types of licensing exist, and this can be daunting, but it should be noted that these mechanisms provide flexibility for using applications through a variety of platforms and devices.
While licensing will remain complex, a robust framework for effective software management is the solution. The recently launched ISO 19770-1 Software Asset Management Processes Standard provides this framework and will help organisations adopt best practice.
We are creating a certification scheme for ISO/IEC 19770-1 that will provide a guarantee that certification partners are qualified to help software users achieve ISO 19770-1 compliance.
The good news is that we are getting lots of support from the software industry to help us drive best practice and make licensing as stress-free as possible.
Zak Virdi, board member, Investors in Software
Open source can free firms from licence lock-in
Your report on the complexity of software licences (Computer Weekly, 25 July) raises another, less obvious benefit from the adoption of free open source software.
Despite the number of different open source licences, the freedom embodied in most, such as those compatible with the General Public Licence, grants unrestricted use of software. This allows IT departments to eliminate delays in negotiating or obtaining licences, and the need for audits, filing and renewal – all an increasing part of the work of IT departments but adding nothing to the business.
Organisations should be free to choose from different suppliers only those services that are beneficial, and not be locked into many years of being milked.
Leon Stringer, Stafford
Don’t overlook open source in licence debate
I find it odd that in an issue so devoted to the topic of licensing, open source/free software is not mentioned. As an alternative to all the problems presented with proprietary licences, while having its own set of challenges, you would have thought there would have at least been one article looking at open source software and where it stands in “The Licensing Debate”.
Why ‘risk’ is more user friendly than ‘security’
While agreeing with most of Ian Wylie’s views, I was intrigued by his comment, “Information security, in all its forms… still covers at best 50% of the information risk.” (Computer Weekly, 25 July).
Aren’t information risk and information security practically analogous? Surely both areas should cover the risks of compromising information assets, whether by disclosure, lack of availability or loss of integrity/quality, though I accept that security specialists tend not to concern themselves with data quality issues.
My experience is that senior management is far more receptive to a discussion of “risk” than “security”, which has too many negative connotations of stopping people doing things and excessive bureaucracy. “Risk” is less scary and implies a more holistic, pragmatic consideration of business needs.
The onus is on information security/risk/assurance professionals to present a clear business case for security, including an estimate of potential losses if it is not implemented, and of any effects that the introduction of extra security measures may have on operational effectiveness.
Where are the IT-savvy non-executive directors?
With regard to Richard Barker’s letter (Computer Weekly, 18 July), the lack of board representation goes beyond the CIO. Where are the IT non-executive directors?
IT has a profound effect on business performance, compliance and shareholder value. All of these issues are overseen by the independent non-executive directors but there are few, if any, IT non-executive directors on the boards of plcs.
Name withheld by request
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This was first published in August 2006