MANAGING TECHNOLOGY ACQUISITION RISK
September 9, 2019
BY FRANK BRUNO
I spent fourteen years as a member of the internet community and watched the gENERIC TOP LEVEL DOMAINS (fondly referred to as "gTLDs") take off as well as support for their enablement efforts by co-authoring the ICANN application response for question 38 on Data Escrow Protection. Data Escrow ensures the interests of the Domain Name owners (trademark owners alike), especially those Domain Names tied to revenue generating websites.
Now, consider your business use of the internet and reliance on Everything-as-a-Service. Access to systems is critical and you should have a workable Contingency plan to access and continue working versus just getting your data back. Your SaaS/PaaS and other Managed Service Provider's need to ensure this Contingency plan works no matter what. This is what Cloud Enablement looks like for companies embarking on their digital transformations. Contingency plans are also the key to overcoming risk objections to doing business.
You need to have a neutral third party ("HiredHenchman") who can ensure that the multiple moving parts to your new WizBang Integrated Multi Stack Hybrid Cloud environment are compliant with the various contractual agreements, specifically those containing Service Level Commitments and Escrow Provisions. It is not enough to have rigorous terms and conditions, unless you plan to inspect what you expect. Then, when any one piece of the value chain breaks or needs replacing, the buyer isn't locked into the vendor stickiness play that so many software companies are notorious for negotiating.
A HiredHenchman is someone you trust to ask the right questions and to keep an eye on changes in the technology stack including interoperability blips (when Technology Providers are non-compliant). Problem resolution, dispute resolution and executing remedies should be an active part of managing the overall vendor relationship and slicing through the ambiguity of "who did what" or "who didn't do what" isn't something that your escrow agent(s) can do considering they themselves are an important piece of the overall value chain (a moving part if you will).
Having a HiredHenchman on your side will ensure that negotiated terms are faithfully carried out, especially when your contingency plan counts on it!
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