Concerned With Business Continuity? Understand Software Licensing Risks.

John Boruvka

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If you’re concerned with business continuity in your company, it’s important to understand the risks associated with licensing critical software applications, and why you need to take protections to safeguard the software at the heart of your business operations.

Many organizations protect their utmost critical applications with business continuity plans, but where is the plan for the next 20 or 30 applications that still have significant impact on the business? Any software application can be mission-critical in today’s digitized business world. And, a company can only survive and thrive when it gets adequate support for the applications that drive it. This is the topic of an article I wrote for Continuity Central, and will highlight here.

Iron Mountain conducted a survey with IDG research with revealed that more than half of critical software applications do not meet expectations for application support. As you may expect, this wastes valuable resources, drives up costs, and disrupts the continuity of your business operations.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Fifty-five percent of IT decision makers report having licensed critical software applications from a vendor that did not meet expectations.
  • When enterprises select vendors that ultimately do not meet expectations, it wastes valuable resources and increases costs. This impacts business in several ways: 64 percent of respondents said additional time and/or effort was required; 60 percent had project setbacks; and 47 percent noted added costs.
  • On average, IT project failures cost businesses a 25 percent overrun.

Enterprise companies face lack of support issues from their vendors all the time. Most people typically think of bankruptcy, but there are really a whole host of reasons why software developers stop supporting their products: from mergers and acquisitions to ‘sun setting’ an older product line.

Technology escrow (also known as source code escrow or software escrow) is a key strategy to gives organizations leverage to demand better SLA compliance – and protect against a potentially dangerous total loss of support.

It may surprise you to learn that 90 percent of the Fortune 500 companies are Iron Mountain technology escrow customers. Often, procurement departments include technology escrow as part of the terms and conditions of licensing mission-critical software. However, this is too often just a “check box” provision implemented with basic terms, and not part of a comprehensive risk assessment.

As risk management becomes a more powerful force in organizations, technology escrow and verification has started to become a strategic tool for business continuity managers and disaster recovery professionals. If you work in a risk management function protecting the assets of your enterprise, you owe it to yourself to learn more about technology escrow as a strategic business continuity tool, especially if you’re beginning to move more of your software to public clouds and SaaS applications.

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