Benefits of Using Software Escrow Services
Advancement in technology has made it very important for companies to take advantage of information technology solutions to improve business processes. This has necessitated companies to license different software to meet their technological needs. Because of the prohibitive cost of developing application software, licensors and licensees want to ensure that they protect their investments. As such, escrow services have been very critical for software developers because the help protect the interests of both parties. A software escrow service involves using a third party to store the source code of a particular application software. The third party is identified as the escrow agent and should have no ties to either the licensor or the licensee. Indeed, the source code escrow is a very important part of vendor agreement, and both the licensor and licensee have the right to initiate it.
Software exists in two formats namely the object code format and the source code format. The licensor only gets the object code format while the developer deposits the source code format with the escrow agent. The benefit of doing this is that the licensee is guaranteed the continuity of the software maintenance. This is very important for the licensee since the software may be a key part of their business and this cushions then from possible losses. In the case of bankruptcy of the developer, the escrow agent makes sure that the software keeps running by providing the source code to the licensee. The escrow agreement ensure that the licensee has the right to the source code in case the developer fails to fulfill his obligations as per the escrow agreement.
Besides protecting the rights of the licensee, the escrow agreement is key to protecting the intellectual property of the developer. Due to the high number of software theft, developers are not comfortable with sharing their source code with the licensee. Both the developer and the licensee are bound by various terms and conditions clearly outlined in the escrow agreement. Both the licensor and the licensee have various obligations which they are required to fulfill. If any of the parties fails to observe these agreements, there are certain consequences. The use and transfer of the source code is clearly discussed under the escrow agreement.
Apart from storing the source code, the escrow agent has to authenticate the source code. There is also the need to ensure that the software is working as it should and thus the escrow agent has to verify this. It is always advisable for a licensee to use escrow services if the software supports a vital function of the organization or has a direct impact on the revenue. Some software is also very expensive which makes it prudent for the licensee to use an escrow service to protect their interests.