Protection PLUS Maintenance Requirement for Instant SOLO Server Customers

By Mike Wozniak | General

Jul 13

The SoftwareKey System provides several license management solutions and is comprised of:

  • Protection: Protection PLUS (licensing client) - This component is included in your software, which is distributed to customers. It controls access to your software.
  • Automation: ​SOLO Sever (licensing server/service) - Protection PLUS connects to a central licensing server on the web to automatically activate and validate licenses throughout the lifetime of the license.
  • Support

A Little History

Historically, Protection PLUS and Instant SOLO Server have been separate products/services with completely separate pricing. Customers who purchased before Spring 2017 would start with a standalone license of Protection PLUS to embed in their software application. The one-time fee for a standalone license included 1 year of software maintenance with the option to renew. Most of these customers added an Instant SOLO Server account to automate the license activation and management. This service has ongoing monthly fees based upon usage, with pricing starting at $10/month.

To make our products and services easier to understand, our product line has recently evolved and nearly all new customers go with our new Protection + Automation bundle. This eliminates confusion about the products being separate and makes it easier for new customers to get started with the most popular configuration of the SoftwareKey System. With this bundle, Protection PLUS is licensed under a subscription (as opposed to a standalone license) and the bundled product/service has ongoing monthly fees based upon usage, with pricing starting at $30/month.

Protection PLUS Software Maintenance Requirement

Customer service and support is an integral part of the SoftwareKey System. In our mind, customer support after the sale is what differentiates a remarkable customer experience from a ho-hum or even downright unacceptable one. In today's world of ever-changing technologies and standards, it is important to keep a brisk pace and leverage the newest technology while maintaining maximum security. Your customers rely on the licensing running inside of your software application. We want to make sure we can help you when you have any issues - both with the Protection and the Automation side of the system.

We have diligently researched industry standards and pricing models in an effort to continue to provide fair pricing which will allow us to continue to provide unparalleled customer service and support. Effective July 1, 2017, the new Instant SOLO Server Terms of Service require that all customers have active software maintenance for any standalone Protection PLUS licenses. These new terms of service were first announced in April 2017.

Protection PLUS software maintenance is required for all customers going forward for several reasons:

  1. Because of the always-changing landscape in which your protected applications are subjected - Operating system updates, computer hardware driver changes, operating system patches, it is not "IF" but "WHEN" you are going to run into an issue with your protected application. We have been in business for over 25 years and have seen this countless times.
  2. Feedback from customers shows that they don't think of Protection PLUS and SOLO Server as separate products/services. They prefer to have a "set it and forget it" approach so that they have support on the entire SoftwareKey System whenever they have a problem.
  3. When you run into a Protection PLUS support issue, customers with expired maintenance will have to pay reinstatement fees (or even possibly a new license) to get current so that we can make sure the issue hasn't already been fixed and work with you until the issue is fixed.

What is Included with Software Maintenance?

A software maintenance plan provides you with all recently added features as well as upcoming enhancements, bug fixes, support for future operating system releases, and access to our expert technical staff via electronic support options. We work hard to ensure the maintenance and support maximizes the return on your investment in the SoftwareKey System keeping you productive.

There has never been a better time to renew your maintenance! You'll gain immediate access to:

  • Downloads of the latest releases of your purchased Protection PLUS licenses
  • Our expert technical staff via email and live chat--and the accompanying peace of mind -- that comes with knowing help is just a click away
  • Ongoing support for operating systems and patches, as they come along

What are my Options For Obtaining Required Maintenance?

We have three options for keeping you current on your Protection PLUS software maintenance:

  1. Purchase a software maintenance plan for your standalone Protection PLUS license by following the steps below:
    1. Be sure to log out of your Instant SOLO Server account by clicking your name on the top right of the administration menu and click Sign Out. This must be done even you are logged into your account under a different browser tab.
    2. Log into your Customer License Portal account.
    3. Once logged in, click on the Renewals & Upgrades button.
    4. Choose the appropriate software maintenance renewal option. Note that a two year renewal and/or reinstatement fee is required when you let your maintenance lapse more than 30 days.
    5. Review the EULA and complete the purchase via the Shopping Cart facility.
  2. Add a combined maintenance plan. This new option allows the retail price of your Protection PLUS maintenance subscription -- divided into 12 equal monthly installments -- to be conveniently added to your monthly Instant SOLO Server invoice to provide you with "set it and forget it" access to the benefits.   There may be a nominal setup fee for this option, based upon when your software maintenance previously expired.
  3. Convert to combined subscription license. For infrequent users of the SoftwareKey System (as demonstrated by your account activity), we can discuss converting your Protection PLUS standalone license to a subscription license. IMPORTANT NOTE: Cancellation of your SOLO Server account will result in your standalone Protection PLUS license being revoked.

Please contact us if you wish to explore your pricing for the combined maintenance or combined subscription plans.

What if I am not using Protection PLUS?

If your software is using SOLO Server for license management, your application has the Protection PLUS licensing client running in it. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

Why Should I Add a Maintenance Plan?

We hope you'll agree that we have been here whenever you need us and we want to continue doing so for many years to come.

Similar to how insurance works, you have to have coverage in order to have the benefit. If you end up needing Protection PLUS support without maintenance, the maintenance reinstatement fees or hourly charge to support your product will likely be lot higher than maintaining the active maintenance coverage now. Maintenance reinstatement may not even be an option for customers with maintenance that expired years ago.

We really don't like forcing customers to pay maintenance reinstatement or hourly support fees, especially in their time of need. We hope you'll agree the peace of mind knowing you have support when you need it is worth the small investment.

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About the Author

Mike Wozniak is one of the co-founders of SoftwareKey.com and responsible for marketing, content and product strategy. When he isn’t plotting new ways to help customers solve licensing and business automation challenges, he likes to travel and entertain guests who come to visit the Orlando area. He also writes most of the licensing tips here.