This post was originally published on the TechSoup.org blog. At the Innovative Libraries Online Conference, we got a lot of questions about Microsoft's Software Assurance and the Volume Licensing Service Center. We thought calling out some of the top benefits will be useful for other libraries that have received Microsoft donations through TechSoup.
If your nonprofit or public library received donated Microsoft software through TechSoup, you probably used the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) to get your software. But did you know there are special perks from Microsoft, too?
In case you're not familiar, the VLSC is an online tool for managing Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements, downloading products, and accessing volume license keys. Microsoft includes two years of Software Assurance with all Volume Licensing products it donates through TechSoup.
Software Assurance is a collection of benefits included with Microsoft products requested through TechSoup. Here are five — no, wait, six! — great and unexpected benefits you can take advantage of via this program.
1. Upgrade to New Versions
Don't have the latest version of Office or Windows? You can upgrade to any new version of your licensed products that Microsoft releases within the two-year window your Software Assurance is in effect. The actual upgrade, however, doesn't have to take place within those two years.
2. Get Office in Multiple Languages
Do you have users or staff that speak a language other than English? No problem! Office Multi-Language Packs are available at no cost if you have a license for an Office suite. Packs are available in 90 different languages.
3. Bring Office Home
Did you know that you can use your version of Office at home, too? The Software Assurance Home Use Program lets your staff members download Microsoft Office at a low cost. This is a huge benefit because it will not only save them money on useful software, but also allow them to work on projects at home.
4. Brush Up on Your Skills with E-Learning Courses
If you've requested a version of Office you've never used before, you can get up to speed with Microsoft's free online courses. These e-learning courses are self-paced, interactive, and developed by Microsoft experts. They're also designed for busy people, so you can gain maximum skills in minimum time. Check out Microsoft's e-learning catalog for a full list of courses available.
5. Backup for Disaster Recovery
Your organization should already have a disaster recovery plan in place, but you can be extra prepared if you have a server product with active Software Assurance. For every server license you have with Software Assurance, you can use additional licenses for servers used as offline backups (also known as "cold" backups). This can help your staff regain access to critical data and applications post-disaster.
Bonus Benefit: Windows Thin PC
If you request Windows with Software Assurance, you get a special version of Windows called Windows Thin PC. You can use Thin PC to run a lightweight version of Windows on older computers. This a great solution for libraries or nonprofits with public access computers. Read more about thin client solutions for libraries.
Each product (Windows, Office, Server, and Cloud Platform) has specific Software Assurance benefits. Be sure to check out Microsoft's useful guide to Software Assurance and see what other perks might be available to you. It's also important to note that Get Genuine operating systems do not include Software Assurance benefits.
- Volume Licensing Service Center — Software Assurance Benefits
- Volume Licensing Center — Getting Started