Offline Licensing: A Guide for Software Vendors

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Offline Licensing: A Guide for Software Vendors


Gone are the days of struggling with software licensing on air-gapped networks– completely isolated systems with no internet connection. Modern third-party solutions offer robust and secure options for offline license verification, empowering you to manage software licenses even without an internet connection. This article explores how these solutions utilize JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) and other methods to provide seamless offline licensing functionality.


Offline Licensing Solutions for Air-Gapped Networks

Software licensing often relies on online verification, posing a challenge for organizations with air-gapped networks. Offline licensing provides a solution. It allows organizations to manage software licenses without an internet connection. This can be achieved through various methods, such as pre-generated license files or secure tokens. Offline licensing ensures continued software functionality and license compliance even in these highly secure environments.


The Power of JWTs for Offline Verification

At the core of this approach lies the JWT, a secure digital token issued by the licensing server during the initial online connection. This token acts as a digital passport, containing encrypted information about the user's license details like features, validity period, and other relevant data.


Local Enforcement: Taking Control Offline

Once downloaded, the client application on the air-gapped machine can leverage the JWT to verify the license locally, without requiring an internet connection. The application deciphers the information within the token to enforce licensing rules on the user's machine, ensuring adherence to the license agreement.


Configurable Validity: Tailoring Access to Your Needs

The beauty of JWTs lies in their configurable validity period. Perpetual licenses can have indefinite validity, while subscription-based licenses can be set for days, weeks, or months. This flexibility dictates the duration of offline access for licensed features, ensuring users have the necessary access for the designated timeframe.



Beyond Online: Transferring Licenses via Removable Media

For environments with limited or no internet access altogether, the JWT can be transferred via removable media like a USB stick. This ingenious method allows for a "license checkout" process, where the token is physically transported to the air-gapped machine, enabling license verification and access to features without ever needing an online connection.


Air-Gap Ready: Seamless Integration for Offline Environments

The JWT's portability extends across air gaps. Transferred via USB or other means, the token can be plugged into the offline machine, enabling license verification and feature access – all without an internet connection. This empowers users in air-gapped environments to leverage software functionality with complete confidence.


Node-Locking: Extending Security Measures Offline

Just like their online counterparts, offline licenses can be secured with node-locking. This feature ensures that specific licenses are tied to designated devices, preventing unauthorized use on other machines. This adds an extra layer of security to your air-gapped network software management.


A Modern Alternative to Hardware License Dongles

This approach using JWTs offers a robust and secure alternative to traditional hardware dongles for offline license verification. It eliminates the need for physical devices, streamlining the process and enhancing portability.


Beyond JWTs: Additional Delivery Channels for Offline Environments

Third-party solutions offer more than just JWTs for offline license delivery. Licenses can be delivered to air-gapped machines through various channels, including:

  • Proxy Servers: For networks with a single, controlled internet connection point (proxy server), licenses can be delivered through this server to air-gapped machines.
  • Pre-loaded JWTs: During the manufacturing or assembly process, JWTs can be pre-loaded onto machines, eliminating the need for any additional installation steps.

By implementing these innovative solutions, you can effectively manage software licenses on your air-gapped network, ensuring uninterrupted access to essential features and functionalities.

Book a discovery call with us today for more information.

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Discover offline licensing for air-gapped systems, using JWTs and removable media.