Unless you have experience with developing software, you probably aren’t too confident in vetting either the companies or their proposed solutions and services. How can you ensure the dollars and time you invest will return real value? What is the right approach to shopping for such a highly technical service?
We created a bank of non-technical questions you should ask every custom software development company you are considering. These questions will help you determine if the providers you are considering have the right experience, philosophy, and approach to deliver real success for your project. Today’s question is:
How Will You Protect My Intellectual Property (IP)?
Why is This Important? Your knowledge and your ideas are your property. You should not have to worry about your innovative thinking, ideas, and information being used to benefit anyone else. Before you get into any details about your business or your potential project, get the proper non-disclosure agreement in place. Also, make sure to review their Master Services Agreement (MSA) before going too far into the process, particularly the sections related to ownership, rights and/or licenses, and use of deliverables.
What to Listen For: First and foremost, you want a firm that cares about protecting your IP as much as you do. You will want to hear the output of your team is “work made for hire.” This is a legal term that means everything they produce on your behalf belongs to you. Next, it is normal for custom software development firms to have some intellectual property that they own and use for multiple clients. These are typically lower-level controls and/or libraries that help them get your project done faster and more cost efficiently. In this case, you should expect a non-exclusive, worldwide right to use their IP as part of their MSA. Finally, there should be some mention of their data classification, security, and risk mitigation. Information Security is paramount in the custom software industry, and you should be given every confidence that your chosen custom software development team, their tools, and the systems in place are trustworthy.
For more, check out our other posts in this series with the tag “10Questions”