Keeping pace in the digital world: software insurance

Almost every company requires software in some form or another, from the world’s largest bank right the way down to someone who makes their own bird baths in Harrogate.

Technology has made business processes quicker and smoother than ever before. As a result, we’ve become a little over reliant on certain aspects of it. If software malfunctions, the entire business can grind to a shuddering halt, and in the world of business, time is money.  A day lost to fixing dodgy software can have significant long-term repercussions. Things don’t get done on time or are done badly, customers complain and the entire chain swiftly breaks down.

Unfortunately, because so few of us really understand the software we use on a day to day basis, we have little comprehension of how best to protect those systems, or how to fix them if they break down. That’s understandable. We all lead busy lives. Trying to learn seriously complex software code whilst doing all the duties required of you in your day job just isn’t practical – there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Even companies large enough to run their own IT teams can struggle. The code needed to update, fix or maintain software programmes is typically held by the provider, who will maintain it for you – a standard and commonplace agreement. Your company is thus completely reliant on the software provider.

So what steps can you take to protect yourself?

With Software Escrow, that code is deposited with a neutral, authorised third party, like Escrow Associates. This is held in a secure account and can be transferred to you if the software provider has failed to fulfil their contractual obligations (e.g. maintaining that software for you).  

What purpose does this serve?

Firstly, any provider wishes to keep the code of their own software secure, as it forms the lifeblood of their business. This ensures that they have an incentive to fulfil the necessary obligations.

Secondly, even if the provider does break all their obligations, you are able to do something about it yourself, because you have the code to hand.

In layman’s terms, this is merely a sensible way of handling risk. The software that makes your business run smoothly is maintained to the standard that you require, so that operations don’t have to stop just because someone is on their lunch break!

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