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You never need software escrow until you need it.

March 13, 2013

Why is it that an insurance policy for ANYTHING in life, be it for your home, car, travel, pets etc is only ever truly valued when you really need it?  Until then it is often perceived and treated simply as a drain on our finances and a burden.

This is especially true with Software Escrow and is something that we experience everyday.  I wish I had pound for every time I have been re-approached by companies following initial contact made by myself (sometimes weeks, months or even years later) to enquire about our agreements due to their first hand experience of things going wrong in the absence of such an agreement.  The power of hindsight, but why not change that to insight?

“Software escrow is never needed until it is needed” I don’t know how many times I have said this to users of licensed applications over the years and most of them have said “We’ll take the chance”.  Of course it amazes me when people say this but you have to except it.

Sometimes the smallest most inexpensive applications are the ones you most depend on and are the most at risk.

There are many small software applications that perform a critical function in NHS Trusts around the UK.  Most are inexpensive, technology light and easy to replace applications but all are at risk if the supplier fails.

It has come to our attention that a North of England NHS Trust uses an application to manage the prescribing of drugs for at risk patients. The system is inexpensive costing between £300 & £2000 pounds per year.  An escrow agreement was set up by the supplier for their clients but ALL users said “We’ll take the chance, we don’t need escrow”.

Now several years later the supplier is now no longer answering the telephone and clients are starting to approach Total Escrow Solutions hoping we can help, but unfortunately we are unable to help in any way!

I have since asked some of the users what the application does and it turns out that it manages prescriptions for ‘000s of at risk patients.  I remember the procurement person at one of the NHS Trusts telling me “It is not important enough for a £500 escrow agreement” and “it can easily be replaced”.  How can something like this not be worth £500?!  I am asking this question not simply as a Software Escrow provider but purely out of common sense!

I cannot stress enough, if you use a software application that you do not own then you are 100% dependent on someone else to provide a product or service to you with no “insurance policy” to claim on when you really need it!

Software escrow is the only way that you overcome this and protect your interests in an application that you do not own.


written by David Clee

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