Software Escrow Agreement (Definition)

Method of protecting against software vendor failure. A copy of the vendor's source code is kept by a trusted third party to ensure that the customer will have access to the source code in the event that the vendor is unable to support the software. If, for example, the vendor goes out of business, the trusted third party releases the source code to the customer, allowing the customer to maintain the software.

Note that even with a software escrow agreement, for older pieces of software it may not be possible to find a developer with the skills or resources to modify or maintain the software. The tools required to rebuild the software package may themselves be obsolete, or the additional packages required may no longer be available due to failure of the vendor's suppliers.

If you are an industry professional, consider subscribing to the free Risky Thinking Newsletter for articles, insights, and commentary on risk, business continuity, and security. It's low volume: we don't send out the newsletter unless there is something interesting to say!

Errors or Omissions? Contact us and let us know!