The Escrow service consists of a deposit of source code or other design documents or procedures at a third party’s premises in order to guarantee the customer against a default risk of its provider. The Escrow contract defines the conditions for a possible release of the deposit to the customer (typically a bankruptcy, company buyout or a support failure of the provider).
A client may require a source code Escrow if the envisioned product is strategic for its activities and/or if the provider cannot offer sufficient guarantees about its support capabilities or its financial health.
Most Escrow agents are able to safely manage the deposit, but it may be really complex to guarantee that the deposit - if used by the customer - will allow to build the real product and will permit to insure the complete development process for further evolutions.
CETIC acts as an Escrow agent to technically audit the Escrow material (source code, hardware design, procedures,...). Especially for complex systems, when the product is not only a simple software product relying on standard hardware and middleware components, it may be impossible to simply rebuild and test the product at deposit time due to the expenses required by hardware manufacturing for example.
In this case, CETIC is able to check the documents and procedures of the deposit, including the hardware design files as Gerber files, to ensure their consistency, their completeness and their correctness (vs. a reference product).
As an independent research centre and a non profit organization, CETIC is recognised as an technical expert in embedded systems and also as a trustworthy escrow agent by customers and providers; it protects the Intellectual Property of the provider and gives accurate information to the customer about the usability of the deposit.