SaaS Escrow – The answers to your FAQs – Part 2

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There has been a huge shift in cloud and Software-as-a-service (SaaS) adoption globally, notably with government, large enterprise and financial institutions. Although SaaS offers its advantages such as cost reductions, ease of accessibility and effortless scalability, many companies are not carefully planning the adoption of these SaaS applications. By doing so, they may not have considered the disadvantages that may occur. Insufficient data security is one top concern, with many businesses just assuming their SaaS provider will take care of their security and software resilience needs.

As a two-part series, our second article carries on addressing the next two frequently asked questions we come across when talking to customers wanting to find suitable, cost effective and easy to deploy SaaS continuity escrow solutions, helping them to mitigate against the risks associated with modern service delivery methods and the growing responsibility of cloud service providers.

If you haven’t already read part 1 of this series, then click here to read.

How much is a SaaS Escrow agreement going to cost?

If we are talking about the cost of using a SaaS escrow vendor in general, there isn’t really a right answer to this. It really depends on what services they offer, their accreditations and experience and their choice in how much to charge for these services. With Escrow London, SaaS escrow fees start at around $1,895/£1,395 per year. These fees are competitive amongst tier-1 SaaS escrow vendors.

In order to ensure that you get the best deal for your company, there are some things you can look at to meet your SaaS application continuity needs.

  1. Shop around
    It is a wise idea from time-to-time to shop around and see what the market can offer you. You will be surprised at how you can save thousands of dollars or pounds for a comparable service to what you are receiving today.
  2. Consolidate your agreements
    Working with a SaaS escrow vendor that can provide creative solutions to consolidate multiple agreements under a master framework agreement can save your company a lot of money.
  3. Avoid hidden costs
    Often, SaaS escrow vendors charge significant fees for setup, implementation and code release. Look for a SaaS escrow vendor who includes these fees within their standard package.
  4. Active Assessment
    Identify with your IT department team if all the SaaS application agreements in place are still relevant. Often SaaS escrow agreements are put into place and forgotten about. You may be paying for an agreement on a SaaS application that has reached end of life and is no longer being used.
  5. Long term contracts
    Often SaaS escrow vendors will provide additional discounts for longer term agreements. For example, if you are comfortable that your SaaS license agreement has a 3-year term, it is worth placing the escrow agreement under the same time frame if you can get an additional discount.

How do I choose the right SaaS escrow vendor?

The key attributes to look for in a SaaS escrow vendor are as follows:

  1. Competent management of process from start to finish
    It is advisable to choose a SaaS escrow vendor who can handle the entire managerial process of a SaaS escrow agreement from initiation to testing through to the release/trigger event process. This management process should include the 4 key areas below:
    1. Simple yet secure data storage
    2. Information Security Accreditation such as ISO27001 & ISO27017
    3. Automated Version Control Management
    4. Experienced in the Release Process
  2. In-depth technical understanding and experience
    Look into whether the SaaS escrow vendor has consultants who are certified engineers in the main cloud infrastructure providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. It is also advisable to look at the relevant experience that the SaaS escrow vendor has within Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Case studies published by the SaaS escrow vendor are a great way to learn more about their relevant commercial experience in providing software escrow solutions.
  3. Streamlined Sales cycle
    Ensure that all sales representatives have extensive knowledge and understanding of the leading cloud hosting vendors and third-party integrations. They should aim to keep their initial call to a maximum of 20-30 minutes with a proposal following the same business day.
  4. No delays in the legal review process
    Delays in the review process and the inflexibility of the SaaS escrow vendor often causes frustration with the developer and their beneficiary client. Ensure you choose a SaaS escrow vendor with an internal legal department so red-lined agreements can be turned around usually by the next business day. Escrow London provides a variety of free template agreements which can offer a great starting position when negotiating the perfect SaaS escrow agreement.
  1. Remote and timely verification process
    Verification is an independent test to provide assurance that the SaaS environment can be rebuilt and deployed in the event of a trigger. During a verification exercise, the developer will need to demonstrate the build process to the SaaS escrow vendor. A good SaaS escrow vendor will aim to minimise the time required from the developer for verifications.
  2. Trusted Legal Expertise
    A reputable SaaS escrow vendor will hold extensive legal experience in negotiating software agreements in multiple jurisdictions including USA, UK, EU, Switzerland, Australia and Canada. Not all SaaS escrow agreements are the same, so ensure you select a SaaS escrow vendor who can provide a number of template agreements to suit the needs of your business.

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