SaaS (Software as a Service) throws up all sorts of legal issues which differ from those related to installed or hosted software, similarly with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS). In each case, you’re providing access to a service, and the obligations and services are different in nature from licensing, in legal as well as technical terms.
SaaS factors for consideration include:
- The sharing of the hosted environment
- The equipment being under the supplier's control, not the customers (and therefore requiring specific service levels and uptimes)
- The supplier, not the customer, holding the customer's data - with the risk of the hosting environment failing
- That source code escrow protecting the code but not the data, so a different type of escrow arrangement is needed
- Revenue is recognised over the lifetime of the service, not principally in advance
- Licenses are not for stated terms – they are for subscription periods
These issues go beyond software licensing. As the software is held somewhere else, a range of different considerations apply.
Because Berwins Digital has lived through the evolution of different methods of delivery, we have the depth of understanding to advise on the right delivery and commercial model and to ensure that suitable contractual terms apply.