Staying in Compliance with the OpenText Read Only Licensing Model

It is a little known fact, but OpenText offers a limited read only license model for OpenText Content Suite users. The OpenText read only license is less expensive than the full use license, but it limits users to only viewing documents:

… [read only users] may only search, save search parameters, browse, view, print and download data and contents… and … may not upload, add, edit, move, arrange or otherwise modify data and content…  https://www.opentext.com/file_source/OpenText/en_US/PDF/opentext-legal-license-model-schedule-en.pdf

However, as OpenText does not provide a technical limiter for Content Suite that stops read-only users from performing other actions, it is possible for your read-only users to perform actions that automatically upgrade their license to a full use license without your prior knowledge.

In this blog post we delve into why this is happening, what actions can unwittingly upgrade a read-only user, and what you as a company can do to avoid being caught-out without your knowledge.

How Content Suite Licenses Work

Let’s take a look at some of the licenses that OpenText offers and what their capabilities are.

OpenText Standard Named User Licenses

This is the regular license that most Content Suite users are familiar with. Each individual must have a license in order to use Content Suite and may not share their licenses with other individuals. License holders (employees, contractors, business partners and affiliates) who no longer work with the licensee (the company) may have their license re-purposed for another individual.

Capabilities

  • Full OpenText access
  • Viewing documents
  • Editing documents
  • Moving documents

Limits

  • One license per individual
  • Licensee must maintain a permanent record of user activity and licenses allocated

OpenText Non-Production Licenses

This license has the same or similar capabilities to the standard license except the purpose of this license is restricted to system testing, development, backup, failover and standby purposes. Users may not use a non-production license unless their production licenses go offline.

Capabilities

  • Viewing documents
  • Editing documents
  • Moving Documents
  • Used for testing and development purposes

Limits

  • One license per individual
  • Restricted to non-production activities
  • Production activities require a production license

OpenText Evaluation Licenses

As the name suggests, this license is for evaluating Content Suite, almost like a trial run. This license is only valid for a defined period of days, upon when the licensee must uninstall all copies of the software and cease to use it.

Capabilities

  • Viewing documents
  • Editing documents
  • Moving Documents

Limits

  • Warranties are void
  • OpenText has no obligation to defend or indemnify licensee
  • Limited to pre-defined number of days use
  • Cannot support general business practice operations, only used for evaluation

OpenText Limited-Use Licenses

The limited-use license allows the user to have full functionality within Content Suite. However, the user can only access and use the specific functionality and features agreed upon in the applicable transaction document, and no other features or functionality.

Capabilities

  • Capabilities are specifically outlined (see above)

Limits

  • Operations are limited as described in the transaction document.

OpenText Read Only Licenses

The OpenText read only license limits the user to search, browse, view, download and print data through Content Suite. It is important to note that any actions outside of these, such as uploading a document or editing one, will result in a full upgrade to a standard license and the fees associated with it.

Capabilities

  • Viewing documents
  • Printing documents
  • Downloading documents

Limits

  • May only be used and accessed by software via processes and through general runtime
  • No humans may use or access the software directly or indirectly

There are many more nuanced licenses that OpenText offers their customers, but these are the most common examples. However, what does this have to do with users being charged for licenses that they do not possess?

How to (easily) Violate the OpenText Read Only License

The most important thing to note is that in all cases of the above licenses, the licensee is responsible for keeping track of and enforcing the license agreement for every user.

This means that if any of the licenses for a licensee are in contravention of their limits, the licensee is responsible for the consequences. In most cases, the consequence for a licensee that exceeded their limits is that the offending license will be upgraded to a full use, standard license – and all the costs that come with it.

What makes matters worse for licensees is that most licenses, including the OpenText read only license, have no physical or technical restrictions that prevent users from overstepping their contractual bounds!

For example, if a read-only license user moves a document within Content Suite, they will automatically be designated as a standard license without warning upon the next audit. The read-only user in question would have no warning, restriction or limitation when performing any action, such as moving a document, that upgrades their account to a full-use license.  Another example is participating in ANY workflow – that mistake is really easy to make.

How OpenText Licensees Can Avoid This

There are many ways in which licensees can protect themselves against receiving unwanted additional fees as a result of users overstepping their bounds as dictated by their license. Here are some of the ways a licensee can do that.

Company Analysis of Documents and Document Owners

As the licensee, it is your responsibility to keep track of which licenses your employees possess and what they have access to. By performing a complete analysis of your documents and which owners are responsible for them, you give yourself the ability to keep track of which employees are authorized to access which documents, limiting the risk associated with overstepping license limits.

For example, if your read-only employees know that they should only interact with documents that do not need to be moved or edited, they are less likely to perform those actions and exceed their license bounds.

Enforce OpenText read only license with GCI PowerTools for Access Control

Global Cents offers the GCI PowerTools for Access Control (PTAC) to enforce the OpenText read only license model in OpenText Content Suite.  It is a Content Suite module a that enables users with read only licenses to only search and view in order to technically restrict ongoing mistakes. This is vital to any business that needs to remain in compliance with the OpenText read only license for Content Suite.

With PTAC installed, read-only users are prevented from performing full-use actions – they are limited to read-only actions such as search and view.

Delete or Reassign Legacy Read-Only Users

As mentioned above, licenses which are assigned to employees who no longer work with the licensee may be reassigned to someone else. If there is a user who no longer works for your company still has access to Content Suite, you open yourself and your company to risk. By reassigning the license or deleting old licenses, current and ex-employees are less likely to infringe upon the license boundary.

Create and Run Scripts to Update all Permissions Across All Objects

Sometimes, users are upgraded to standard licenses according to the needs of the company. However, their legacy accounts may still be in use and recognized, which could cause problems and unnecessary costs for the company.

By creating and running a script, you will be able to update all permissions across your documents, which will minimize the likelihood of this mistake happening and receiving unwanted fees from the next OpenText audit.

Automatically Comply with the OpenText Read Only License

As you can see, it’s easy to be in contravention of your licensing agreement with OpenText, resulting in paying fees unnecessarily. However, with a few extra steps and a little caution, it’s possible to overcome this challenge and stay within the bounds of your agreement.  In particular, PowerTools for Access Control can automatically prevent read only users from performing actions that would promote them to a full use license.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can get the most out of Content Suite, why not check out Global Cents. Since 2005, Global Cents has been recognized as the leading provider of value-added information lifecycle management solutions within the OpenText ecosystem and now supports over 100 companies around the globe.

Contact Global Cents today