A few years ago, escrow meant to keeping the source code in a wax-sealed letter in a safe. Today the requirements for software escrow are considerably more stringent.

Deposited data: source code

It does not suffice to deposit with a trustee a data storage device that, according to the software producer, contains the source code that is currently used by the latter’s clients.

All the parties involved have to ensure that the deposited data exactly match the source code that the client needs in the event of their release. That is why a technical check on the deposited data is essential before the data are actually deposited.

Requirements for the source code

In the event of the data being released, it is crucial that the source code should actually be usable. It must be entirely compilable and any different versions have to be identical with one another. In addition, it has to be comprehensible and well- documented. It is not sufficient that the writer of the source code should be able to understand it. Other programmers should be able to comprehend, extend and service it, too.

Performance test prior to escrow

In this context, the German Federal Office for Information Security security explicitly recommends that an escrow agency with sufficient technical skills should be employed, so that a check can be made on the usability of the data the instant the latter are delivered.

Our IT-experts are able to reproduce the complete development and runtime -environments of complex systems involving numerous servers and architectural components and are in a position to perform in-depth tests in our state-of-the-art laboratory. Software tests do not always reveal all the bugs and problems, but extensive checks do help a lot to reduce the risk of having untranslatable source code.

Performance test/plausibility check

The source code has to be updated so as to match the software version the licensee uses, for the purpose of risk minimization. If it is simply a question of updating the source code, we offer relatively cheap methods of inspection.

Scope of the technical inspection

The specific scope of the technical inspection relating to the depositing of items should be dependent on the possible risks involved and the technology used.
We will be pleased to check on any already executed escrows on your behalf or provide you with support in the event of the release of software items.

For a personal consultation, please contact us.