April 19, 2011

Disadvantages of dongles

Posted in License management and virtual systems, Product activation at 7:56 am by agilissoftware

The disadvantages of dongles (USB-based hardware keys) for copy protection of software are well known, but recently a software vendor described an additional problem.

Some familiar issues are that:

– the software vendor has to buy, store and deliver a piece of hardware to each customer (adding operations costs)
– customers have to wait to run their license, but today users expect near-instant delivery of software
– customers have to keep a USB device inserted in their machine (either sticking out at the front or side, where it can be damaged, or they have to get to the back of the system to insert the dongle and, of course, take up a USB port that may be needed for something else)
– if a customer wishes to move the license to another machine, which may be in a different location or a different country, they have to ship the dongle, whereas with a capable software-based product activation system the license can be securely relocated anywhere instantly, as permitted by the software vendor.

For all these reasons customers generally don’t like dongles.

The further issue this vendor observed arises with applications such as web apps that run in the local intranet. These customers quite often want to deploy the application on blade servers or even virtual servers…. which do not have USB ports!

If you’re interested in how Agilis’s Orion product activation solution provides secure licensing without dongles, do please contact us at sales@agilis-sw.com.


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