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Unlocking New Revenue and Increasing Customer Satisfaction With a Broader Approach to Licensing

June 06, 2012

When SafeNet (News - Alert) first entered the software monetization and licensing business nearly thirty years ago, the one and only solution to prevent piracy of software was the dongle, or hardware key. But in the three decades the company has been in business, quite a bit has changed, and SafeNet has continuously adapted its offerings to meet those evolving marketplace needs.

Recently, I spoke with Michelle Nerlinger, director of product marketing for software monetization solutions at SafeNet, who explained how a hardware key works. “When you purchase a piece of software, you get a license with that software, and that license is tied to a physical token… If you plug the dongle into the device, the software can run; if the dongle is not plugged into the device, the software won’t run.” But, Nerlinger explained, as customer expectations and behaviors changed, so did the licensing solutions. “As the market started evolving, and people had laptops at the home and the office and were more mobile, people expected their access to their software applications to be more mobile and more flexible.”

In order to meet the varying needs of its customers, SafeNet expanded its award-winning Sentinel HASP licensing solution to include support for both hardware- and software-based enforcement mechanisms, all from a single set of APIs. Simply put, this means that an ISV can select Sentinel HASP, implement the APIs into their products and then choose on a case by case basis moving forward when to utilize software-based enforcement and when to utilize hardware-based enforcement. This is a benefit because it allows the ISV to adapt to a variety of end-user demands on-the-fly without ever having to worry about licensing. As a result SafeNet has seen a large number of customers build software-based licensing into their software monetization strategies – whether a company decides to migrate completely to software or just wishes to supplement their hardware-based business models with software-based options is totally up to each ISV. This transition to software keys provided flexibility for customers such as:

  • TechSmith, a provider of screen capture software
  • DIP Tech, a supplier of printing systems for the glass industry
  • Key Traffic systems, a UK-based traffic management software provider
  • Orbograph, a provider of recognition software and services for the check processing industry
  • Tiltan, a provider of simulation and modeling software.

These companies have transitioned some or all of their product portfolios to the software-based solution.

These customers have found both the hardware and software versions of the Sentinel solution to be well-suited to their needs. “The combination of Sentinel HASP HL and SL provided us with a secure, flexible solution that merged seamlessly with our back-end systems,” said Dorit Regev, head of software research and development at DIP Tech. “Implementation was a snap, support was excellent, and the automated solution not only reduced mistakes but also enhanced our business by enabling us to offer trials to potential customers and create more enticing feature-based pricing. The switch to automated, software-based license keys saves us time and money.”

SafeNet recently hosted a webinar on this topic, “How to Supplement your Dongle-based Product Licensing Strategy with Software-based Licensing Models.” The session featured members of the SafeNet team as well as a technical marketing engineer from Cisco (News - Alert), all of whom helped explain how to migrate from hardware dongles to software-based form factors.

For more information about SafeNet’s software rights management solutions, visit

Edited by Stefanie Mosca
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