Protecting your software investment

Any company developing software for sale can be seriously hit by software piracy, but for a small company, it can be fatal!

PRIMA deals with a number of small-to-medium sized software houses and it was a suggestion from one of these which led to the development of our Remote Application Validation system.

RAV-protected software simply validates that it is allowed to run, before doing so. In effect, the software "calls home" to make sure it has been authorized by the vendor, before it will execute. Obviously, if the software is being leased, this is a useful facility for the vendor to have in place as the package can be turned off if the lease terms are breached, but it is also a method of detecting whether illegal copies of sold software are being distributed.

ANY COMPUTER which runs the package, ANYWHERE in the World, will appear on the vendor's "radar" screen, and the vendor can control what levels of the software are available (if any...) and any "run limitations" (time period and/or number of runs) are in place. AND these parameters can be changed by you within any 24 hour period, as often as you need to!


* - Make sure that people using your software are entitled to do so.

    The first time a computer uses your package, a web service is activated that registers that machine as a user of that package. (You can have multiple RAV-protected packages installed on the same machine and they are recognised individually by RAV.) Once the machine has been registered, the software can run with or without an Internet connection.

* - Create a very unobtrusive protection system.

    Most users installing RAV-protected software legitimately, are not even aware it is RAV protected. If they install illegally, the software simply won't run. Once you have configured RAV for a particular package, you can mostly forget about it. It just works.

* - Don't require serial numbers and authorization codes which can be obtained from hacker web sites.

    You don't have to worry about generating access keys or continually having to change them as they get hacked. You embed a PRIMA supplied component into your package which becomes, to all intents and purposes, part of your package code. This component does the validation and presents an access level back to your package. The action you take is completely over to you. But the options are comprehensive. You can allow or block different features of your package, you can add or remove run limitations, you can set the activation of your choices for now or in the future; it is very powerful and flexible, yet simple to configure.

* - Create a protection system that is CUSTOMIZED SPECIFICALLY for YOU as a software vendor.

    When it comes to security there really cannot be a "one size fits all" solution. This is the problem with serial numbers and key codes; if everybody uses them as a security mechanism it is not hard to make a general hack for them. On the other hand, if security is specific to each vendor, cracking it becomes much harder. RAV is component based and we generate the components SPECIFICALLY for each client who buys it. It is your own personal protection system used only for the products and packages that YOU produce.

You will need the following:

1. A web server that you can access and control. If you already have a company web site it is very likely that you can use the same ISP who hosts your web site to provide you with a web server facility. (Usually this just means giving you access to the web server that already runs your web site.). Alternatively, talk to PRIMA and we can arrange it for you. It is NOT expensive...

2. Your package must be developed in a language that supports the Component Object Model (COM) or ActiveX interface. Some Examples: Java (some excellent 3rd party support tools, as well as Open Source library support), C++, C#, OO COBOL, PowerCOBOL, VB 6, VB.Net, Pascal, there are others...). This is because the RAV component used to interface to your package is COM compliant. (It is written in C#)

3. A Relational Database Management System (RDBMS), accesible from the Web Server.. Usually, it will be resident on the same server, but it doesn't HAVE to be... Our preferred RDBMS for RAV is SQL Server, but we can tailor your components to any RDBMS you require (Oracle, MySql, PostgreSQL, even MS Access...)

Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)...

* - How much does it cost?

    It depends on the selling price of your package and the number of sales you made in the last 6 months. If you don't want to disclose your sales or you are maybe just starting up, we understand, but then we will assign a fixed price, based on you having no other business with us. If you DO have other business with us, we will discount the price of RAV to you. As a small business ourselves, PRIMA tries very hard to keep our products and services affordable and we can arrange terms to assist your cash flow, if you need that. We do not lease RAV to you; you must buy it outright. (This is because it is tailored specifically for you and we cannot "reuse" it...)

* - Is there a lot of maintenance involved?

    NO. You need to set up your web server (with the provided web service and database table for your package), then add our components into your development environment. (Basically, register them with RegAsm). That is all "one time" setup and we can help you with it or do it for you. After that, you simply include our desktop component into your package and decide what you want to happen, based on the access level it reports to you. There is comprehensive documentation to explain the concepts and the details, with code samples to help you interface your package to RAV, as well as video support on this web site. Once you have the package configured how you want, it just runs without requiring intervention by you or the client who is using it.

* - What about DEMOs of my package?

    Some vendors like to distribute DEMO copies of their package and RAV recognises this. There is a special RAV DEMO account that allows people to try your package and you can configure the run constraints as a default or specifically for any given machine. You can see every machine that is running your software in DEMO mode just the same as you can in normal mode, and you can stop the DEMO any time you want.

Increasingly, packages are being deployed by download from a server over the Internet. RAV allows you to configure a DEMO for a specific prospect and if they buy or lease your package, there is no re-install or re-configuration at the client required.

If you think RAV could be useful to you and would like a quote for protection of your package(s), please click here