Software Escrow for Small Businesses on The Web

Anyone who has ever had to make or maintain a website understands how much work goes into it. While the finished, front end project might look wonderful and draw attention, the back end depends on various pieces of software and digital services.

This is always a concern when you have nothing to protect those assets, something especially important for a small business that relies on their web presence. To this end, however, companies can look into using software escrow to protect themselves against the software behind their online interactions. Whether it’s the website itself, an e-mail programme or anything else, it’s all important and all deserves reassurance when it helps company productivity.

How does it work?

Software escrow works like any other traditional escrow, through putting the desired object or resource into a safe account inaccessible by either party until certain conditions are met.

In the case of software equivalents, it most often looks at the Software as a Service agreement (SaaS), which governs the interaction between business and program provider – the former only owns a license, meaning it is up to the latter to keep the product in working order.

As a result, you don’t own the actual product – the source code – itself. Escrow allows this to be secured by a mutual third part so that, should the provider break their end agreement, you can gain access to this information to continue using the service.

Business benefits

In a worst case scenario, where poor software is heavily affecting the web presence and operations of your business, receiving the source code can help you, or your IT team, fix the problem yourself. Once you have the code you effectively own your own copy and no longer need to rely on the business that failed you.

Yet, more important, it acts as a safe guard and a form of insurance. When investing in anything, such as software, you have to assess the business behind it. In this instance, companies willing to enter escrow arguably want to protect their product and, as such, will do anything they can to ensure the safety of their intellectual product.

In other words, you can use escrow accounts as a form of honesty, transparency and motivation for those you deal with to keep a working product for you. This, in turn helps maintain your website and other services.

This is just a quick overview, of course, but it nonetheless highlights the importance of software escrow as a highly useful business tool – perfect for small companies that don’t have the huge IT department and resources to fend for themselves.