Everything you need to know

What is software escrow?

Software escrow is the secure deposit of software source code, cloud software (SaaS), third-party technologies, data and documents with a neutral third party, the so-called escrow agent. The agent is only allowed to release what has been entrusted to him in certain predefined cases.

Who is involved in the escrow process?

There are usually three parties involved in an escrow arrangement: The developer (depositor), the client (beneficiary) and the escrow agent. It is a three-party relationship. 

However, it is also possible to enter into an escrow arrangement between the developer(depositor) and the escrow agent only. In such cases, the parties entitled to benefit from a release are determined in a binding manner without their participation (contract for the benefit of third parties).

What are the benefits of software escrow?

If your company relies on important software, technologies or data, software escrow minimises the risks to you if the software developer becomes unavailable. You become independent of the developer and you gain control over data and technology.

Where are deposited software and documents stored?

Data submitted online is stored exclusively in highly secure data centres in Switzerland. The data centres meet the highest security standards (daily backups, emergency power systems, fail-safe air conditioning, fire extinguishing system, strict access controls and video surveillance).

Both data upload and storage take place in encrypted form.

Physically submitted objects (data carriers and documents) are stored securely in the vault of a Swiss bank.

When are deposited software and documents released again?

In the escrow agreement, the conditions under which data can be released are agreed upon in advance. If the beneficiary requests the release of the data, swissEscrow informs the depositor in advance.

What are typical cases of release in an escrow relationship?

- Non-fulfilment of obligations by the software developer (ceasing trading, bankruptcy, death, etc.)
- Inadequate fulfilment of the contract by the software developer
- Merger, acquisition or division of the software development company - etc.

Is a direct data connection to swissEscrow possible?

For uploading the data, swissEscrow provides the depositor with a secure link. Via this link, they can upload the data in encrypted form, password-protected and during a limited window of time. Once the data has been uploaded, the depositor is no longer able to edit or delete it.

If desired, our technicians can set up a direct server connection via which the depositor can securely upload updates on a permanent basis and also at irregular intervals as often as needed.

Who monitors the content of the deposited objects?

The depositor and the beneficiary are alone responsible for the content of the deposited objects (data carriers, documents, etc.). In the case of software and document escrow, swissEscrow subjects the data carrier or source code or the documents to a standard check (plausibility, virus check, etc.).

It is possible for the beneficiary to monitor or check the delivery of the software or data on site at swissEscrow.

How long are escrow contracts concluded for?

Software and document escrow contracts are generally concluded for an indefinite period of time, with the possibility of termination. By mutual agreement of the depositor and the beneficiary, any escrow agreement may be terminated immediately.

What happens to the deposited software or documents should the escrow agent go bankrupt?

The escrow agent acquires fiduciary (trust) ownership of the deposited software or the deposited data and documents. Should the escrow agent go bankrupt, the deposited software or documents do not become part of the bankruptcy estate, but remain available for the predefined purpose.

What do swissEscrow escrow services cost?

The costs of a software escrow consist of a one-time initialisation fee for the preparation and conclusion of the escrow agreement and an annual deposit fee. Additional services are invoiced according to time spent. We will be happy to give you an individual quote.

Who pays the escrow fees?

In the escrow contract it is agreed who pays the fees. This can be either the depositor or the beneficiary. It is also possible for the depositor and the beneficiary to split the fees.

What is the difference between an escrow arrangement and depositing in a bank?

Banks do not offer online deposits.

The simple deposit in a safe deposit box does not do justice to the mutual interests of the depositor and the beneficiary. If only the depositor has access to the safe deposit box, the beneficiary cannot access it. If only the beneficiary has access to the safe deposit box, the depositor loses control over the deposited object. Should the depositor go bankrupt, the object deposited in the safe deposit box belongs to the bankruptcy estate and is not available to the beneficiary.

In an escrow arrangement, only the escrow agent has control over the deposited software, data or documents. The agent only releases them to the beneficiary when certain pre-defined conditions have been met. The deposited objects are not accessible to the depositor. The escrow agent acquires fiduciary (trust) ownership of them and only releases them to the beneficiary after the occurrence of the agreed-upon conditions.

Who is behind swissEscrow?

swissEscrow is a service of swissEscrow GmbH, 8633 Wolfhausen ZH, Switzerland.

swissEscrow combines sound expertise on fiduciary and legal matters. We offer professional and individual services in the field of source code, cloud software, technology, data and document escrow.

Clearly defined values are important to us:Security, independence and neutrality, ethical business practices, service quality, customer focus, discretion - robust services of high quality.

Click here for further information about our company.

Become independent and minimise your risk today!

Are there any remaining questions we can answer for you? Please do not hesitate to call us. We will be happy to provide you with information.

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Portrait Oliver Knakowski
Your contact person:
Oliver Knakowski-Rüegg

We cover the full spectrum of Software Escrow.

Deposit the source code of software, cloud software, Software as a Service (SaaS), third-party technologies and all other important data and documents with swissEscrow.

swissEscrow offers personalised escrow services tailored to your needs.

Source Code Escrow

Source Code Escrow

Business-critical software is a crucial factor in every company. Protect your investment - secure your operations and processes.

Find out more
Saas Escrow

SaaS Escrow

Does your business rely on cloud software (Software as a Service, or SaaS)? Saas escrow makes you independent of the provider.

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Technologie Escrow

Technology Escrow (intellectual property)

Are there any important third party technologies in use in your company? For example, machine or equipment control data, etc.?

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Daten & Dokumenten Escrow

Data and Document Escrow

All other types of data, online or physical, can also be deposited with swissEscrow.

Find out more