Verification: The Key to a Strong Escrow Agreement
Readers of a certain age might remember radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, who entertained listeners with inspiring tales that offered "the rest of the story." Harvey might tell a familiar tale, but he would always add deeper information that made the story new and surprising.
Get ready for "the rest of the story" on tech escrow. While storing technical assets with a third-party escrow service is essential to businesses both large and small, companies signing on for such services should understand this: A tech escrow arrangement is far more valuable when it's paired with verification services.
Taking Out Insurance
Tech escrow is like an insurance policy for companies that require access to software or other essential assets that support their core business operations. Stored items can include:
- Source code
- Formulas and algorithms
- Engineering drawings
In a tech escrow setup, the participating company safely stores a copy of its assets with a trusted third party. For example, a technology solutions firm might store its applications in escrow. This way, its customers know they can access critical software should the company fail.
While tech escrow is supposed to provide peace of mind, it can be an empty promise without the complement of verification. Too few companies understand that, and they skip this essential step when hiring a tech escrow service.
Here's why it's an essential part of the escrow suite.
Case 1: Is everything in there?
When you absolutely must access and use software stored in tech escrow, you need to know it's going to be there.
Imagine that your company licenses key software. Its developer stores the source code with a verification service for your peace of mind. Now imagine that the developer meant to upload all the materials needed to compile the source code but forgot one part. Perhaps that partner even included a file list detailing all the assets but inadvertently left out a critical piece of the puzzle.
The tech escrow provider can prevent this type of nightmare by performing an entry-level test upon receiving all deposits. That entry should also check for viruses or other malware to ensure that everything is in good working order.
Case 2: Does the code compile?
Are you insisting on tech escrow to ensure access to software critical to the continued operations of your company? If so, you need to be certain that what you have in safekeeping for potential use is in fact usable.
Just because your partner company uploads source code to a tech escrow account doesn't mean that it will compile for your engineers. While your team can only access deposited code under certain conditions, a tech escrow partner's service has such access. Use that verification to learn whether the software will compile and create the necessary assets. The verification routine can also include a full audit of all build instructions. This ensures that they're both complete and accurate.
Case 3: Does the software actually work?
Making sure all the assets are present is one part of the process; ensuring that code compiles is another. But for real peace of mind, insist on full usability testing.
To provide this, your third-party tech escrow partner must truly understand your business and rise to the challenge. The tech escrow team will need to create a full production environment to mimic the software's real-world use. It can then put the software to the test by running a series of scripts.
Once that's completed, you should receive detailed reports on the tests performed and view screen shots. Only at this point can you rest assured that the materials stored in tech escrow are complete and usable.
Tech escrow is important. But verification is what ensures its value. And now, as Mr. Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.
Iron Mountain Recommends: Minimize Costs and Risks
Don't settle for half a solution. If your company is considering a tech escrow service to safeguard critical source code, applications or other software, tech escrow alone won't give you the protection you're after. Get a complete solution by exploring Iron Mountain's full line of verification services.
With Iron Mountain verification, you'll avoid these costs and risks:
- Lost profits stemming from business interruptions
- Lost time from having to temporarily stop order processing, accounts payable, or customer service operations
- The expense of replacing essential software you're already using
- Lost customers who flee when you can't meet business obligations
Do you have questions about Iron Mountain's Technology Escrow Services? Read additional Knowledge Center Technology Escrow resources, or contact Iron Mountain's Technology Escrow team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services Technology Escrow specialist who can address your specific challenges.