Businesses often rely on software produced by third parties to keep their systems running. Such software is critical to the company and can often be expensive to have developed by a bespoke supplier. There is always a risk that you have waited for that piece of software but the developer is suddenly unable to maintain the program once you have it up and running.
This can lead to problems, expense and strained relationships. Fortunately, however there is an agreement out there that take the worry out of entering into what should be a long-term software commitment and will ensure you get what is best for your business. This agreement is known as software escrow and could be key to the successful running of your business.
What is it?
Companies, such as NCC Group, act as a third party in an agreement between and end user (your business) and the software developer, by acting as a middle-man to mitigate risks that can be encountered on both sides. The reasoning behind such an agreement is to protect both parties and to make sure each gets what they consider fair treatment from a business software development process. The escrow provider stores the source code, with all rights protected on both sides of the wall. Essentially it is there to offer peace of mind and legal basis to the use of critical business software.
How can it help?
Many businesses might be put off the idea of spending perhaps a fortune on a piece of software designed to become a critical part of the running of the company. This is not only for the cost issue, but also the fact that they might not have faith in software suppliers due to a bad previous experience or simply that the software might not be ready for many months. This agreement gives businesses peace of mind that the software that has been created will continue to be developed and, if not, the code released to them for in-house maintenance or to go to another company.
What does it mean for the developer
The developer gets their intellectual property rights protected, which means only the company or companies with explicit consent in the agreement can use the program. They also get their code stored securely by a third-party, which eliminates the risk of snippets being potentially copies. It will free the company up to do what it does best: create and maintain software.