The chances are you don’t think about the legal sides regarding software, yet you really should!
Most people assume the typical purchasing model – wherein you purchase, own and then use a product – applies, but this simply isn’t the case. Thanks to a Software as a Service deal (the end user agreement you select when you install the software), you only own a copy of the license.
This gives you a few different rights to software, notably the lack of ownership and access to the source code, so you need a different approach to defend your interests. In this case, have you considered Escrow Associates?
How it works
Software escrow works by putting the source code into an escrow account, under the control of a third party. As such neither side can access it, and only the account holder/escrow agency can do so.
The result of this is the code is out of the company’s hands. If they break the Software as a Service agreement, then you get the code. This lets you solve any problems but, perhaps more importantly, the sheer deterrent is enough for most businesses.
Getting the most out of it
As already mentioned, this can be best applied as a deterrent but this also means it can be used as a simple test. When you depend on a digital product, a firm that isn’t willing to enter into escrow arguably doesn’t rate their ability to meet the agreement. The more willing a business is, the more confident they are in their own performance and quality.
However, one of the bigger problems people have with escrow is dealing with the wall in front of them. You know the account exists but you can’t look inside it. So, how do you know it’s the right source code?
This is where software verification comes in, to help answer this very question. It tests the code put into holding, using it as you would and looking for the desired outcome.
These escrow verification services can then pass on any findings to you. First of all, this will confirm exactly what the code is for, to ensure the company is playing fairly. Secondly, it will offer help on how to use the code and essentially provide instructions. Source codes, after all, are seldom uniform and a little help goes a long way. Again, it will also make the provider a little hotter under the collar.