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Does only one person have access to all your business’ online accounts? Uh-oh.

Business Technology | April 4, 2013

Only one key employee has access to all of your small business’ important online accounts: your cloud-based payroll software, Twitter account, Facebook account and bank account. That’s fine. But what if that employee should die suddenly? Do you know the passwords to your company’s online bank account? What about that cloud-based payroll service? And if you did, would you legally be able to access the online accounts after this employee dies?

A big issue

The Wall Street Journal recently covered this issue on its Web site. It may appear as if an obscure matter, something that could never impact your company. But give it some thought: How important has the cloud become to your company? How about the Web? Do you run an active social media campaign, connecting regularly with your customers? You may not be able to access your business’ Twitter or Facebook sites if the only person who knew their passwords has died. Are there vendors to pay? You may not be able to if you can’t gain access to your company’s online bank account. And what about your workforce? They need to get paid in a timely manner, right? They might not if you suddenly can’t open your company’s cloud-based payroll software.

A trust issue

The Wall Street Journal states that way too many business owners have a false sense of security when it comes to using the cloud. They don’t really fear losing valuable files or data because, they assume, they’re safely hidden away in the cloud. But the cloud isn’t perfect. It, too, can be susceptible to hackers. And because everything stored in the cloud needs passwords, getting at important information can prove difficult if the one person who knew all those passwords suddenly dies.

Solving the problem

The easiest fix would be to make sure that more than one employee knows the passwords that go along with your online business accounts. You can also write a list of these passwords and store it somewhere secure, such as safe. Secondly, be sure that your business’ online accounts aren’t registered to just a single employee. Some companies – such as Yahoo! – state that ownership of an account ends once the account holder dies. You don’t want to get in a tricky legal situation. Instead, make sure that several employees – and, needless to say, yourself – have legal access to your business’ key online accounts.


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