A guide to Source Code Escrow ... BSI.

Position:IT News

The events of 11 September 2001 have reiterated the need for business continuity planning for many organizations. The disaster highlighted the interdependency of businesses on each other and never is this more prevalent in the relationship between businesses and their suppliers of proprietary software. Unless an organization uses open source software, it is wholly dependent on the suppliers for upgrades and maintenance such as bug fixes. If the supplier withdraws support, goes bust - or worse, then for the user organization, source code escrow may be the only disaster recovery or assurance. The disaster the software user is planning against is not his own but that of his supplier. The supplier's disaster may well turn out to be the user's disaster as well if he has not made any provision.

What is Source Code Escrow?

Escrow is an ancient legal term referring to a deed which only becomes effective when a future event happens. This term has been applied to the deposit of source code by the software owner with an independent third party, known as the `escrow agent'. The escrow agent holds the source code according to the terms and conditions set out in a tripartite, escrow agreement between the agent, owner and the software user. The agreement details the circumstances in which the source code may be released to the user - often the bankruptcy or liquidation of the owner, or the owner's failure to carry out agreed maintenance procedures which could leave the user's system...

To continue reading