Selecting the right software – Part 9/10 – Who Owns the Data

February 02 , 2018

When you use a piece of software, whether it’s an app, something you install on your computer, or Software as a service (Saas), you’ll note that all types of software should have the following legal documents:

  1. End User License Agreement (EULA)
  2. Terms and Conditions (sometimes part of the EULA)
  3. Privacy Policy

Who Owns Your Data

If you’re like most people, you want to skip over these documents. Some would rather watch corn grow than read some of these legal diatribes, however, there are some important pieces of information in them. We’re obviously not lawyers here, but here is what we look for in these documents when it comes to our data:

  • Who ultimately owns the data? Does my data become the property in any way of the service-provider. Quick hint: it shouldn’t.
  • Will the provider charge me to get my data out of their system if I choose to leave the provider?
    • Side-note, part of your “trial” should be spent figuring out how easy or difficult it is to both get data into and out of the system – this likely won’t be covered in any of these legal documents. See our previous post on Managing Free Trials
  • Even if the data is “yours”, does the provider retain any right to use your data or share it with third-parties? If you are using a platform for potentially sensitive information – Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales or Operations, you want to make sure that others are not able to access your data.

In general, you’ll want to make sure that your data is portable, remains yours and isn’t being shared. If you can account for these three checklist items, you can generally rest assured that your data remains with you wherever you go.