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

It’s not something that small business owners think about: But how are you affected if the one person with access to your business’ most important online accounts – your company’s social media accounts, online bank accounts and cloud-based payroll software – dies unexpectedly? Will you be able to access those accounts? You better, or else your business is likely to be in for some financial pain.

Too much power?

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted this issue on its Web site. It might not seem like a problem that your business will suffer. But if your business does have online accounts that only one person has access, you might be tempting fate. In the event that person dies, will you be able to access your online bank account in order to pay your vendors or cut a rent check to your landlord? How about your payroll software? Will you be able to cut checks to your employees, most of whom want to get paid on their regular payday? And then there’s Twitter and Facebook. If your business depends on these tools to communicate with customers, you’ll need to know the passwords that give you access.

False sense of security?

The Wall Street Journal says that way too many business owners have a false sense of security when it comes to using the cloud. They don’t really worry about losing valuable files or information because, they assume, they’re safely hidden away in the cloud. Even so the cloud isn’t perfect. It, too, can be vulnerable to hackers. And since everything kept in the cloud needs passwords, getting at you important information can be challenging if the one person who knew all those passwords suddenly dies.

Solving the problem

The easiest fix would be to make certain that more than one employee knows the passwords that go along with your online business accounts. You can also produce a list of these passwords and store it somewhere secure, such as safe. Secondly, make certain 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 when the account holder dies. You don’t want to get into a tricky legal situation. Instead, make sure that several employees – and, of course, yourself – have legal access to your business’ key online accounts.


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