When talking about any product or service important to your livelihood, it’s always good to find a way to protect it. Due to this we insure things or invest in schemes designed to protect us should something go wrong.
There’s no cunfusion for physical entities that can be touched, analysed and generally owned. But things work differently once you enter the digital. This is partly down to Software as a Service (SaaS) and the fact that you don’t own your products, but rather a license to use them from the provider. As a result, this means you can’t make the changes yourself as you don’t have access to the source code – the internal workings that can help fix or alter the software. Yet SaaS means it is not your job, it’s theirs.
Think of it like renting a car with an added agreement that they fix and maintain the engine. In this case, you need something akin to insurance and this is where Software Escrow can save the day.
Software Escrow is simple, but effective. It’s an agreement and understanding between the end user (you) and the service provider. They put the source code into escrow, which will hold it indefinitely unless the provider fails to uphold the SaaS agreement.
In short, the source code is rather important to the provider who owns the software, as it is essentially the product itself. They won’t want to just give it away, yet putting it in escrow means they have more reason to act quickly and professionally in the service they provide you.
In other words, it is a counter measure against any negligence. At its best, you may never even need to gain access to the code itself – the simple threat or risk is enough to ensure a high level of trust between the two parties.
More than this, escrow has other benefits if it comes down to it. Companies always fight long and hard to defend their intellectual property. Same story goes when it comes to digital offerings. Such drawn-out disputes waste your time. Also, if you’re dependent on the service in question – could cost you money as a result.
Escrow circumvents this by having the legal power to hand out the codes at the right time. At the same time ensuring a quick and effective response. Again, this adds an extra risk to providers. They can no longer hide behind drawn out legal battles which, in turn, adds to your level of trust and security.