Jon Leigh – What’s your plan B?

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Without an effective disaster recovery strategy, businesses utilising Software as a Service (SaaS) technology could be seriously damaged as a result of providers becoming bankrupt during the recession. So, what’s your plan B? The likelihood is you haven’t got one.

SaaS offers companies a raft of cost and time saving benefits – minimising resources necessary for software implementation, maintenance and hardware upgrades. There are, however, a number of issues that any business should address before they deploy SaaS.

For most organisations, the security of their own data is a serious concern. But many companies fail to consider the ongoing availability of the SaaS application itself and, should this application be compromised and become unavailable, how they would recover.

The consequences of losing access to a business critical application are magnified when the application and end user data are stored elsewhere, as with SaaS. An extended or permanent outage not only removes the user’s ability to support the application in the event of an error, it also prevents them from accessing the application, its platform and their data.

Many companies fail to consider the ongoing availability of the SaaS application.

The most effective solution is software escrow, an agreement which protects organisations that are increasingly dependent on software that they do not own or control. Under the terms of an escrow agreement, approved by all parties, the escrow provider securely holds a copy of the application executables, details of the infrastructure architecture it runs on, end user data and source code on behalf of the organisation.

The information held is updated at regular intervals with the agreement of the SaaS provider to ensure that the deposit held reflects the latest version of the application. Should the worst happen, the escrow provider can legally release the data, source code and application executables and infrastructure information so that the end user organisation can source an alternative infrastructure and continue operations with minimal disruption to their business.

The devastating effects of the recession are far reaching, and for companies already feeling the pinch, losing essential software could be the
final nail in the coffin. The potential for software companies to become insolvent is very real. Now, more than ever, escrow should be considered as an essential facet of a wider disaster recovery strategy.

Jon Leigh,escrow director
NCC Group

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