5 Must-Ask Questions When Licensing

Virtual Teams

5 Must-Ask Questions When Licensing Virtual Teams

Teamwork in hermetic office complexes is a thing of the past. The future of international collaboration lies in virtual teams. So flexible IT equipment and software are needed to support requisite employee mobility. But how does this impact product licensing? Is standard on-premises licensing even up-to-date? Frank Brünger explains which five licensing questions need to be on your lips in an age of digitization and globalization.

Why Rethinking Licenses is Imperative for Virtual Teams

Virtual teams, some of which communicate and work across national borders and time zones, present fresh challenges for the IT environment. Mobile devices like notebooks, tablets and smartphones are taken for granted as work equipment in many companies.

It is advisable to provide an identical user interface, a uniform operating system and the same programs for all devices in order to prevent friction due to inaccessible data or programs when switching between devices. Besides ubiquitous Office programs like the Microsoft products Word, Excel, Outlook & co., inter-team cooperation will frequently require modern communication and collaboration tools as well. But how are these shape shifts in the world of work reflected in the licenses?

Licenses for Virtual Teams: Ask Yourself these 5 Questions

1. Are all devices covered by an operating system license?

An operating system license that definitely covers all of the devices is needed for employees to work efficiently in virtual teams. It should be irrelevant whether they use a PC, notebook, tablet or smartphone, or whether the system installation is local or virtual.

Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5 satisfies these requirements with Enterprise Data Protection, Windows Hello, Credential Guard, Device Guard and App Locker. The E5 plan even provides security features like Windows Defender and Advanced Threat Protection.

2. Does every employee need the full Office suite?

Classic Office applications like Word, Excel and Outlook are absolutely indispensable, of course. But the question is whether each employee actually needs the full whack. Rudimentary functions can also be provided in a browser-based solution. This means that a full license does not have to be bought for each employee.

3. Which applications are available to maintain communication in virtual teams?

No matter whether they are browser-based or installed locally: applications that maintain and foster communication in virtual teams are vital. It is strongly advisable to take a good look at where there is room for improvement.

The Office 365 E3/E5 suites accommodate this aspect perfectly. Besides social media platforms like Yammer or cloud-based solutions such as One-Drive for Business, the plans also include Skype for Business as a broadcasting solution with chat features. The E5 plan, its premium expansion, even provides telephone services or can completely replace telecommunication systems.

4. Do the employees have sufficient numbers of access licenses for on-premises and cloud environments?

You need to ask whether users have sufficient access licenses (Client Access Licenses – CAL) for the worlds of on-premises or cloud solutions, no matter whether the data is stored in a virtual environment or a data center.

Microsoft caters to hybrid scenarios with its dual access rights for the Office 365 plans E1, E3 and E5. Missing components like System Center, Rights Management or Windows Server CAL can be added by assigning bridge CALs for exclusively on-premises rights on the one hand, and additionally with dual access rights on the other, which are included in Enterprise Mobility+Security E3/E5.

5. Which security features are available for the mobile devices?

Mobile devices are ubiquitous features of virtual collaboration in our modern world. Nonetheless, the security of tablets, smart phones and co must not be neglected.

The latest development by Microsoft goes by the name of Enterprise Mobility+Security E3/E5. It provides security features for mobile devices, for instance by incorporating single sign-on, multi-factor authentication using Active Directory Premium or the mobile device management tool InTune.

Cloud-based file tracking, encryption and additional document protection are made available in Azure Information Protection Premium.

Of course these tools can also be procured individually from third-party vendors. But in this respect I advocate a ‘best of suite’ approach instead of ‘best of breed’. Its benefits are evident in the lower management workload and in better prices by purchasing premium services as a bundle.

Is There a 360° Carefree Package With the Easiest Licensing Deal?

In a nutshell: yes, there is! I endorse Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) E3/E5, which contains:

  • Windows Enterprise E3/E5
  • Office 365 Professional Plus E3/E5
  • Enterprise Mobility+Security E3/E5
Secure Productive Enterprise E5 at a glance, Source: Microsoft

The major advantage

... is simplification of licensing, as only one SKU (stock keeping unit) exists for each suite. It is made available in a user subscription license that comes with hybrid rights of use. The Secure Productive Enterprise package even includes unlimited rights of installation for the on-premises productivity servers like Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business. Users can also fall back on Windows Enterprise E3/E5, Office 365 Professional Plus E3/E5 and Enterprise Mobility+Security E3/E5.

Which Volume License Agreements include Secure Productive Enterprise E3/E5?

There is no doubt that the price is an important criterion when selecting a plan. But I believe the issue of maximum user flexibility is immensely significant as well. Especially these days, when companies are purchased at home and abroad and need to have access to the entire corporate communication processes on short notice.

The following volume license agreements are suitable for the acquisition of Secure Productive Enterprise E3/E5:

What Licensing Factors Must I Consider?

Last but not least, I’d like to mention a few important criteria that should tip the balance when selecting the right license agreement.

  • Long-term price commitment
  • Unlimited contractual term
  • No compulsory standardization
  • Increase in license volumes

Any Questions Left?

No problem! We have put together all the information you need about Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) on the following page. Feel free to contact our specialists if you have any other questions.

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Frank Brünger

License & Contract Consultant

License & Contract Consultant

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