Blog Entry

Aug 21
2012 

Software Protection vs. IP Protection: What’s the Difference?

Software Protection and IP Protection: These terms are often confused.  Both should be considered prior to implementing a software licensing solution.  Both of these (or lack of them) definitely can impact your software development ROI.  But, do you know how these terms differ?

Typically, the term software protection is used to refer to protection of software against piracy, over-usage, and reverse-engineering.   It deploys a combination of techniques related to anti-piracy, licensing and anti-reverse engineering.   One notable development in the software protection market was SafeNet’s introduction of white box cryptography. Read more on our blog to learn more about how white box cryptography improves software protection.

On the other hand, the term IP protection refers to security against the loss of intellectual property. In case of a software package, this may mean someone knowing the underlying algorithm deployed to facilitate a particular aspect of the application. This usually deploys techniques related to data loss prevention (DLP), or prevention of source code leakage, physical security/logical security, obfuscation of executables or data, and so on.

Ideally, a licensing solution that provides IP protection should do the following:

  • Deliver intellectual property protection for your embedded software applications and application data files
  • Ensure that the algorithms, trade secrets, and professional know-how embedded in the software are secured against hackers
  • Achieve high-level security and access-control for your entire product suite

In many scenarios, it may not be required to implement anti-piracy and licensing in your product, but more often than not, you will always have the need for IP protection.