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UK Cloud Alliance And NCC Group Offer First Cloud Escrow Service

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Escrow service minimises business continuity issues when buying cloud services from smaller providers

NCC Group, one of the leading IT escrow and assurance providers in the world, has signed an agreement with the UK Cloud Alliance, aiming to offer an improved service to mid-market buyers.

The first-of-a-kind agreement eliminates risk for CIOs associated with sourcing cloud applications from smaller vendors.

Cloud means comfort

The UK Cloud Alliance consists of 17 suppliers, brought together last year by Star, a UK-based IT and communications service provider. Other notable members of the Alliance include customer relationship management specialist Pythagoras, business network operator Nexus and business telecommunications provider Total.

The Alliance aims to bring the full transformational benefits of cloud computing to UK mid-sized firms.

Software escrow is designed to take the risk out of relying on third-party supplied business critical software applications. It is used by organisations to ensure that they can continue to maintain and support essential software applications in the long term.

This is particularly relevant in Cloud services where the software is not even held on site. What happens if a supplier company goes bust?

In a software escrow agreement a trusted third party, such as NCC, holds the source code of a vendor’s applications securely on behalf of the customer. If the vendor ceases to support the application, the material can be accessed and released to the user legally.

In a cloud context it is data that needs to be protected if a cloud provider crashes, or when a customer wishes to move to another provider, or has to recover data after some kind of business disruption. The relevance of this service is increasingly important following several high-profile cases of customers being ‘strong-armed’ into unsuitable upgrades.

Code escrow decreases reliance on the big providers like Oracle, SAP and IBM and allows use of innovative software and services from less established providers at a reduced risk.

“Increasingly we see customers choosing a new way of accessing the latest transformational technologies, without taking on the complexity and cost of on-premise IT. While buying from a big brand can be reassuring, the rapid move to the cloud means larger, less innovative software vendors are being frozen out of the mid-market,” commented Paul Watson, interim CEO of Star.

“Our aim is to work with organisations to develop robust escrow protection solutions that protect the long-term availability of their business critical software and the investments they have made in the Cloud,” said Pete Stock, managing director at NCC Group.