Offline use for Adobe

Adobe Feature Restricted Licensing for public service customers

Offline use for Adobe – Adobe Feature Restricted Licensing for public service customers

The introduction of the Creative Cloud and later the Document Cloud Adobe changed the activation and authentication of the users. With the disappearance of the serial number for creative products and now also for Acrobat products, new challenges had to be faced. This has prevented many customers, especially public service customers, from using the new products. Adobe now offers Feature Restricted Licensing (FRL), an offline licensing program for the public sector. We explain how it works, and what speaks for and against current subscription licensing (NUL)?

Subscription licensing models: Good reasons against online use

  • increased effort due to additional authentication step
  • switch from Device Licensing to Named User Licensing
  • the naming of personal data -GDPR
  • the control of the cloud
  • services provided are subject to license restrictions, which must be controlled


Named User Licensing (NUL): Reasons to use the subscription model

If you take the time to delve deeper into the NUL, you will notice that some of the obstacles mentioned above are no longer justified.

  • with Single-Sign-On, the effort for managing the licenses can be kept to a minimum
  • changing from Device Licensing to Named User Licensing even brings advantages in today's world of multiple end user devices. Those who worked in the old world on a laptop and desktop PC needed two licenses according to the license law. With Named User Licensing, only the user is actually licensed.
  • through the introduction of the company ID, called Enterprise ID and Federated ID, one can even regain control of the data.

However, the remaining challenges mentioned above remain. If you are unable to use it online, only the Restricted Licensing feature remains. Now let's take a look at how it works.


Feature Restricted Licensing (FRL): For those who can only work offline

With FRL, the manufacturer Adobe has supplied a new technology in which the end device is authenticated and thus released for use without having to name any users. All remaining reasons not to use Named Users are eliminated. However, it should be noted that this new form may present you with new challenges.

If you have no problems with the following restrictions (hence the name "Restricted"), FRL is your solution:

  • no use of cloud storage and online services
  • no access to applications such as Adobe Sign, Adobe Rush, Adobe XD, Adobe Dimension, Adobe Lightroom CC
  • no right of secondary use
  • no use of Adobe Stock
  • print and publishing products, such as Adobe Presenter or Adobe Captivate are not yet available as FRL licenses
  • this variant is currently available in the Value Incentive Plan (VIP) license program in two variants exclusively for public sector customers.

Feature Restricted Licensing - Connected

This is the easiest licensing method customers can use. Computers must have access to the Internet, but this access can be controlled by a firewall that can intercept and unpack all network traffic from Adobe to verify the content. 

In this method, each application launched on a customer's computer creates a license request that is sent over https through the customer's firewall to the Adobe Admin Console, which provides a specially signed Adobe license for the requesting computer. The application will then be licensed on that computer for a period specified by the customer (up to the term of the contract). The only information submitted to Adobe is the MachineID, a SHA-256 hash generated from various computer features. 

Feature Restricted Licensing - Isoliert 

This method is for customers who have isolated computers that are not on a network and therefore need to deploy the package with the licenses on that computer right away.  The customer must run the Adobe Licensing Toolkit on each computer to be licensed. This creates a device ID that the customer can upload individually or collectively in a CSV file to the Admin Console to create a license package. The computers are also licensed here for the duration of the contract.

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Tobias Hübner

Business Development Manager

Adobe and other graphic and PDF vendors

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