We shared the importance of protecting your software assets and highlighted issues that may arise if your relationship with your software developer goes sour or they suddenly disappear. Now that you know why protecting your software investment and intellectual property is so vital, how do you secure and protect it?
When you own custom software, you don’t just own the interface that you see on the screen. You are not simply a user of the software – you own the software. You need to know what you’re actually getting at the end of the project. While you may not understand what’s being built, you need to know about each asset and dependency that makes up your software.
For example, our team often employs a software product called SendGrid for sending transactional emails in our apps. If we don’t tell you about this and give you the account details and then we disappear (we would never!), how can you update the email template when your company updates a logo or moves locations?
Make sure you’re informed as you move forward with the project. Ask questions, be interested in the answers, and stay involved as decisions are made.
Document, Document, Document
You must have a master document that describes your software or website..
This doesn’t have to be fancy. You can simply create a document on Google Drive or OneDrive. This will allow you to secure the information but also allow it to be easily shared.
Your document should contain a high-level overview of the software, application, or website. If you’re just starting to build, the overview is the plan for what you want to create.
Detail what software languages the software is written in. Document what server or cloud platform it’s built upon. You need to know whether the software is dependent on any third-parties to operate.
Note account information needed to access any and all resources. However, do not store passwords on the master document. Keep those in a safe password vault, like LastPass or Centrify. Make a plan to keep your passwords up to date.
In the event that you need to move your software development to a new team, the master document will be a valuable resource that will save you time and the headache of starting from scratch. Require your software team to keep this document up to date.
Protect your business when working with any software vendor
Your software and website are critical business assets. If your business is about to embark on a new software project or you want to separate from your current vendor or developer, review this guide for steps you should take to control your these valuable technology assets