You face risks every day, in every aspect of your life, but in recent weeks and months, we have all been facing new risks and business decisions associated with the spread of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that it causes.
We get it. You don’t want to read yet another update on what one more company is doing to keep customers and employees protected. This post is not that — it is a reflection on how some of our customers are dealing with everyday business issues in this time of risk. We hope to share some strategies that may be helpful to your business.
As we see it, two of the main risks most businesses are dealing with right now are financial risk and stability risk. When you license software or technology or subscribe to a SaaS application in the cloud, you rely on someone else for a business-critical component of your business. And, if you’re a smaller company developing technology, you may be figuring out how to keep your business afloat.
The situation is changing daily and tremendously affecting markets. This is impacting huge enterprise companies as well as startups. The article How Coronavirus Could Impact Startup Funding from CB Insights outlines some of those risks. Every day, we become more aware of the ripple effect, and how changes in any one area affect other parts of our lives and our businesses. This article from The National Law Review discusses how Licensees and Licensors Need to Prepare for Potential Bankruptcies caused by COVID-19.
While many things will change tremendously, some things will remain the same — such as the need to move business forward. It’s important to recognize that less properly capitalized companies may go bust or get into financial or operational trouble. Often, enterprise companies rely on small software startups to deliver the most innovative technology tools. This is why many companies rely on software escrow (also known as technology escrow or source code escrow) as a risk mitigation strategy. Having an escrow agreement in place, backed up by verification, is a sound business decision for short money.
If you already have a software escrow agreement in place, now is the time to make sure all those little loose ends are taken care of. You don’t want to assume everything is running fine and find out too late that it isn’t. (While working from home, some people may have a little extra time to catch up and to get to those projects that always seem to be in the “I’ll do it later” pile.)
If risk mitigation is important to your organization, here are some questions to ask. (I won’t get into detail here, but I’ve linked to other posts that will give you more background.)
- Do you have a software escrow agreement in place?
- When was the last deposit?
- Have you verified that the deposit contains what it should?
- Is your designated contact up to date?
- Are you using the online Escrow Management Center portal?
As our team reaches out to customers, we’ve heard some excellent questions and suggestions. We thought we’d share this information to hopefully make things a little easier for everyone.
- We’re here! Our teams may be working from home, but we’re available. We are remote, not removed. If there are any issues getting through on our 800-962-6052 number, reach out via email at email@example.com. Even better, if you already have an Iron Mountain escrow advisor, please reach out directly via the contact info in their email signature.
- DocuSign is a great tool for secure electronic signatures and many of our customers use it. Recently, customers who have always relied on sending physically signed documents have told us they would be interested in moving things forward with DocuSign. If this is of interest to you too, please let us know.
- With people working from home, normal payment systems may be more difficult to access. Iron Mountain does have an online payment system if this is easier for you.
- We have a lot of information on our Customer Support site too, including an FAQ and copies of our agreements — this may be a good starting point.
So, just a reminder that our team is here, and if we can help you in any way, please let us know. To end things with an upbeat message for your day, I’ll leave you with 11 Tips for Staying Calm During the Time of the Coronavirus by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. We all need to stay positive, focused, and calm during this time. We hope this is helpful to you, stay safe.