Have you ever been told that the data you have stored in a cloud is secure and that nothing can happen? That may be the case 99 percent of the time, but unexpected disasters do find a way to ruin your day.
Back in 2013, a UK SaaS (News - Alert) provider 2e2 went belly up. The customers were initially given 48 hours to salvage their data and then, later on as the story unfolded, 2e2 asked the customers to bail them out in order to get enough time and resources to do a proper data transfer.
The hard truth is that there are some cloud security concerns. And the reliability of your SaaS provider is probably the biggest one.
The main thing you want to avoid are the situations where you manically search for an exit strategy, making decisions on what you can afford to lose, knowing that you won’t have enough time to salvage everything.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use SaaS to handle your IT requirements. SaaS still has numerous benefits that will make your life easier and your revenue larger.
It would be silly to miss out on all of that out of fear. Especially when you keep in mind that on-site IT solutions aren’t 100 percent reliable either. The trick is to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Thinking about disasters in advance is what will, in the end, save your data and your business.
Information is Power
You have to know what you’re getting yourself into. It does seem a bit patronizing telling you to read what it says in your contract, but the reality is that people tend to skip this step a lot. They rely on what their SaaS providers have told them or what research they’ve done themselves so they tend to sign something after only a quick glance.
Read the contract thoroughly! Know your rights, be informed about the terms and conditions, see if you’re comfortable with everything that is stated there. And if you’re not – renegotiate! Don’t be afraid to speak up. If the provider can’t accommodate your needs, walk away. There are other SaaS providers and at least one of them will be able to give you what you desire.
One thing to keep mindful of are customizations of your software. If you’re working with a software that’s tailored specifically to your needs, make sure you own the code that customized it.
Also, even if you do own everything, you should still double-check that you will be given access to the right data at all times. Adding a clause in your contract that guarantees you access to your data for a fair period of time in the case that your provider is going bankrupt isn’t an unreasonable requirement.
Do Your Research
Adding to the previous tip about being informed, make sure you’re aware of who you’re conducting business with.
Find out as much as you can about your SaaS provider. Who are their clients, how good is their business model, how capable are their employees?
Ask around among your peers if they’ve done business with them so far. If you can’t find any “real-life” reviews, turn to the Internet. Join forum discussions, social media groups, etc.
If the SaaS provider uses third parties, like data centers for instance, check them out as well.
Take some time to find out as much as you can and don’t be impatient and jump at the first seemingly great offer you get.
Secure Business Continuity
Even if you don’t end up losing any actual data, you will still lose money if your SaaS provider goes under. For the time being, you’ll have to dedicate your time and resources to salvaging what can be done, which means that the regular work will have to be put on hold.
Can you truly afford that? Even if you negotiate with your provider a nice, stress-free time frame for an exit strategy, it’s likely that you and your employees don’t have that much time to waste.
That’s when SaaS escrow comes in handy. The escrow will not only provide you with the legal frame to be able to access your data and software but, depending on your cover, you’ll be able to find a replacement for your current SaaS solution as quickly as 24 hours after contacting Escrow Tech.
The idea is to provide businesses the ability to continue with their work with as little time wasted as possible. Not just in cases of temporary problems like maintenance, but in the case of provider bankruptcies as well.
All in All – Preparation is the Key
Though it might sound scary, your SaaS provider going under isn’t the end of the world.
If you know what you can expect and do the adequate backups, even unlikely disasters are something you should able to manage with minimal loss.
About the Author
Jorge Sagastume is a Vice President at EscrowTech International, Inc. with 12 years of experience protecting IP and earning the trust of the greatest companies in the world. Jorge has been invited to speak on IP issues by foreign governments and international agencies. You can connect with Jorge on LinkedIn (News - Alert) at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jorgesagastume