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Four Questions To Ask Your Application Provider

Published on 18/03/2020

You’ve gone through the process of finding the right developer, scoped your needs, had the application developed and implemented and your employees have been trained to use it effectively. You’ve got so much invested in the application, its critical to your business, so what happens when you’re no longer able to use it? 

Answering the following questions will ensure you have a clear plan of action to implement in the event your developer is no longer able to support your application.

1. What will happen if my vendor goes into administration? 

If your application is installed on-site, the loss of functionality and access to your application will likely occur over a period of time as the application will no longer be supported. However, in the case of SaaS applications, the loss of access will be almost instantaneous as the hosting provider will simply switch off the service. 

Without protection in place prior to the vendor going into administration, there is no way of reactivating the service and you would lose complete access to your application. 

Implementing a Software Escrow agreement ensures that in the event of vendor failure you can accurately redeploy, support and maintain your application to the point you are able to provide a suitable replacement. 

2. Where is my data held and how often is it backed up? 

If your application is installed on-site then the data will also be held on-site at your premises and it is your responsibility to perform regular backups. This is something all businesses should do to protect against a range of security incidents. 

However, if you're using SaaS applications, your data will be held by the vendor. Most vendors will create backups to help ensure the security of your data. Unfortunately, this is often only server level snapshots rather than SQL backups. 

At SES, all of our SaaS Escrow agreements include unlimited deposits of application data as standard (up to 100gb) which can be scheduled to occur as often as the data changes and ensures you will always have access to the most current version of your application's data. 

3. What happens if the IP is transferred? 

Mergers and acquisitions are a great way for businesses to grow, merging with or acquiring competitors which offer a complimentary service and a whole new customer base, but it's often the customers who come out worst as increasing prices is the fastest way for new owners to recoup their investment. 

When you’ve invested significant amounts of time and money into procuring your application so that it meets your unique needs down to a tee you don’t want to have to find a new provider as your current provider has driven up their prices. 

By implementing a transfer of IP clause within your Escrow contract you can defend against changes to pricing brought about by a merger or acquisition by using your Escrow agreement to protect your existing license contract. 

4. How do I get everything back up and running if the developer isn’t around? 

If your application is business critical, highly customised, bespoke or revenue generating, finding a suitable replacement application can be an arduous and costly process. Therefore it is essential you have arrangements in place to allow you to independently redeploy the service in the event of vendor failure.

Remote Code Validation involves the Software Developer (Licensor) rebuilding the application in their own environment. The SES testing consultant witnesses the full rebuild of the application via a secure remote connection and documents the entire process. (This process can also be completed with the SES testing consultant on-site at the Licensors premises if required).

The independent report compiled by the SES testing consultant coupled with the audio and visual recording of the build enables you or a third party to accurately redeploy your software application in the event of a release.

In addition, including a Simulated Release with Remote Code Validation demonstrates the build documentation captured as part of the Remote Code Validation is sufficient for a Software Developer to rebuild the application upon release. Remote Code Validation Testing with the Simulated Release is the only form of Validation Testing which provides complete assurance that the Escrow deposit can be swiftly and accurately redeployed whilst minimising downtime in the event of a release.

Software Escrow protects you against the ‘what if’ scenarios and puts you in control of your 3rd party software investments, offering you assurances and continuity for the investments you make. Essentially, Software Escrow should be part of any software contract negotiation.

If you have any further questions about the Software Escrow protection SES offers, please get in touch to speak to one of our specialists. 

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