Introduction

In the current day and age, technology is becoming part of the core business of many organizations. The software landscape is increasing in size rapidly, and the complexity of the systems grows. When applications, services, or even the entire IT landscape become unavailable, this will have a severe impact on the continuity of the business. 
Many companies rely heavily on third parties to run and support their systems; this ranges from integrations with SaaS services to building upon the services of a hosting party who run the software and maintain the hardware. Without these parties, it is impossible to run your software; however, what if they suddenly can not deliver anymore? 
If integrations with third-party software stop working, then your application will lose some functionality. Worst case scenario your application stops functioning altogether. The same issue presents itself if your hosting party suddenly can not deliver anymore. If your software is not running, then you are unavailable as well. This blog discusses how to prepare and handle such issues.


Mapping the current situation

The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that you have an accurate mapping of your existing software landscape. With an accurate representation of the landscape, you can create an overview of all third-party integrations, making sure you do not miss any. Using this overview, you can determine which integrations are responsible for which part of each of your functionalities. Order these from most important to least important, and you know exactly which third party software is most important to you, allowing you to prioritize properly. 


Ask a statement about their continuity

If you have not done this already, then now is the best time to do it. Once you have a good overview of your current situation, you can start to contact your third-party providers and ask them about their continuity. They will probably have a statement at the ready for you, which you can use to determine if it is enough to meet your demands. If they do not have such a statement, then that is already something to take note of. Why do they not have such a statement, are they prepared to keep the company going even in tough times? In the future, you should ask these questions upfront, before you start using a third-party service if you did not do this already.
Of course, there is still a chance that the company fails to comply with the statement, if that is the case, you will have to make sure that you are ready to handle the issues that arise because of this. Below a number of solutions for these issues have been stated. 


Integrating with third-party software

If your application integrates with third-party services, then you need to check if they have an Escrow agreement. An Escrow agreement allows you to take over the companies source code in case of the company going bankrupt or if something else goes fatally wrong. This allows you to start running the software for yourself until another solution has been found. Preventing you from being unable to use that service. 
Of course, this is a temporary solution. You do not have any employees that can maintain this solution, and you also had a reason for buying this software instead of writing it yourself. The code of these companies is often complicated for you to maintain and expand upon as well, so if this happens, you immediately have to start thinking about new solutions. Finding a replacement for this software is the most natural solution. Another solution is to revise the decision to buy the software and decide to start writing it yourself. However, just keeping the software as you received it will inevitably end up causing problems, such as security issues.

 
Conclusion

Software solutions tend to rely more and more on external factors that you can not influence as a customer. Therefore it is important to be aware of the risk these external factors bring and what happens when they become unavailable. Your company needs to have a clear idea of which preventive actions to take and how to handle it when a third party becomes unavailable. This blog discussed a number of preventive measures that you can take to make sure the unavailability of third parties will not affect your own business continuity. 

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