What is the difference between a license and a license key?

Software key

IT has become an essential part of the company and whatever the activity, it is a guarantee of performance in hyper-competitive environments. The software part is the essential brick of your IT infrastructure. Your gains in competitiveness are directly linked to the software or software packages with which your employees work. Beyond their functional and technical dimensions, the software you use on a daily basis is associated with legal provisions such as user licences and license key. These elements guarantee their conformity and the durability of your infrastructure, and they secure your investment.


A software is not only an application 

A software package includes elements of different nature: 


An application 

This application can be developed by an editor such as Microsoft for a specific use. We speak of an operating system for Windows for example, of office suite for Office Pro, ERP for Sap... 


A software license 

The use and ownership of this software are governed by license agreements that specify the rights and obligations of users vis-à-vis the publishers (copyright, context of use, limits of use, rights of use, etc.) and the nature of the license (full version, update, etc.). This license agreement is nowadays mostly digital. The acceptance of the clauses allows you to obtain all the ordered software components and to proceed to their installation. 


A license key or activation key

The license is associated with a license key which is used to activate the software once it is installed. This license key The license number is made up of alphanumeric characters and is inseparable from the license. It is generated according to an algorithm that takes into account the license number, the technical characteristics (number of workstations or authorized simultaneous users, etc.) and the functional scope of the software package (functionalities, parameterization, interfacing, etc.).        


Security of your software park 

The management of licenses and license keys is an important issue for the operation of the company and its security. From a technical point of view, the legality of licenses attests to the right to use the installed software versions. This allows users of complex and connected applications to benefit from the publisher's support and regular updates (bug fixes, security features, evolution of technical platforms according to hardware updates, OS, etc.).


Importance of license / license key compliance


The compliance of your software park with the functional perimeters established during the analysis of your needs is essential so that each employee can use IT tools adapted to their missions. The user licenses and license keys must correspond to the needs of each department and user group.


Business continuity guaranteed by the availability of software resources


Whether it is for the installation of a workstation or the reinstallation of a server following a technical problem, you must be in possession of the software, the user licenses and the license activation keys. The workstation will then benefit from all the functions and rights linked to the user profile, and the server will recover its initial configuration.       


Do not weaken the company with non-compliant software installations


From a legal point of view, the conformity of the configurations compared to the inventory of the licenses and the license keys is essential to avoid being sanctioned by the editors if they notice a fraudulent use of their software. This infraction can cost you between 49 and 80 % of the initial purchase price of the software.      


Used software, an economical and reliable solution

The high cost of software can sometimes be a barrier to purchase, although it is an essential tool. To deploy a less expensive software architecture that meets the needs of users, or to regularize your software park, go through the second-hand market and choose the reuse of the software license. It is a perfectly adapted and rational solution in a context where the optimization of resources is paramount. The transfer of license and license key is legal, but it is important to choose a reputable platform over a broker who may be less rigorous. Your B2B platform Softcorner, leader on the secondary software market in Europe, guarantees the conformity of its used software licences. It is committed to offering you complete licenses (unique license number, executables, documentation, license keys, etc.), competitive rates (up to 80 % discount) and secure 100 % transactions.

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