Shared software and file-sharing platforms are apparently the way of the future of all work and are heralded as the solution to many business and work-related issues or challenges. It wasn’t always the case that software was legally and legitimately shared, and the proprietors and developers of software required that each user had their own access key or code to be able to use the software. It is thus quite a new concept that the most progressive businesses out there are making the most use of.
Here are the pros and cons of shared software that you must be aware of and keep in mind.
Pros of sharing your software
The following discussion highlights the aspects of sharing software that make it worthwhile and provides an idea of the cost-benefit of shared software or file-sharing platforms.
By sharing software across the business or even between stakeholders and others in the supply chain, you will all be able to use the same systems and processes. This can be a huge difference in the time it takes to complete an action, serving to increase the business’s efficiencies. This increased efficiency is also linked to the ability to share work and data in real-time and use the same files across the business.
Genuine software can be used throughout the business
Being able to use the same software throughout the business or for all those working on a specific project who are not necessarily in the same room or even on the same continent has become an essential for cutting-edge business. A great example is the design of printed circuit boards (PCBs) which is a very technical process and one that is best done through collaboration. The design-industry standard, Gerber viewer is the best PCB design software that will allow all the collaborators to amend and edit the work as you go and all in real-time. It is used by those in electronic design to share work and can also be used on a range of different PCB design packages to run simulations and tests before the design goes to production.
Cons of sharing your software
Increased security risks
It is clear that the more people who use a program or computer systems in your business, the higher the risk of data loss or corruption. Entry or access to the software must be guided and guarded, and only those who have a genuine need should be allowed onto the system. It is worth keeping in mind that the more people that use a program and software package, especially one that is web-based, the higher the chances of someone creating the ability to fraudulently remove or use the data.
It is thus paramount that if your business or you personally use software that is in the cloud or shared on other machines or have a shared way of working, you need to audit and improve your cyber security. The aim is to ensure that you are able to do all your work, access entertainment, and communicate with others’ work with the peace of mind that you and your data are safe.
Another way to be sure that your software is safe and your data is protected is to ensure that each version of the software is not necessarily linked so that you may be using the same software but not necessarily the same files.
Shared software licenses are normally based on a limited number of users. This means that there will be a direct correlation between the number of people sharing the software and the cost thereof. If the software that you use is not open-source, you will need to purchase a software license that will cover the entire business and all the people that need to use the systems and processes that the software provides for.
There has been an increase in the number of tasks performed through open-source applications and software, and it is one of the positives of the software revolution. It is indeed seen as one of the pros of software, but the reality is that the open-source area has become quite tricky to navigate. Software packages may be offered as free and open source, only for you discover that the use of all the software features is only offered at a price.
You need to do your due diligence, do not decide to adapt and adopt any new software without first determining what others who have used the software think about it. Also, keep in mind that open-source is not necessarily always free, and there is the expectation that those who use open-source versions are prepared to contribute to its development if they are able to. Open-source software is about having access to the source code, while free software is about being able to use the software when, where, and for as long as you like. Be sure to know the difference, and don’t expect all open-source software to be free.
It could be illegal to share
There are genuine proprietary issues with the sharing of some software. Each one will be different, and as such, you need to read the fine print to see how many devices or people can be covered by the original license that you have purchased. If you are using authentic and genuine software packages, they will also need to be renewed on a regular basis. Keep the software as up-to-date as possible and ensure that your version has been paid for and is legal and above board.
It is widely accepted that it is the software that you use that will make the biggest difference to the jobs and careers of the future. We all have a level of hardware that is similar, and as such, it will be how you choose and use your software that will make all the difference. This article should have provided you with some clear insights as to how shared software may work for you.
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