If the only person with access to your business' online accounts dies, are you in trouble?

If the only person with access to your business’ online accounts dies, are you in trouble?

<p>Only one key employee can access all of your small business&rsquo; crucial online accounts: your cloud-based payroll software, Twitter account, Facebook account and bank account. That&rsquo;s fine. But imagine if that employee should die suddenly? Would you know the passwords to your company&rsquo;s online bank account? What about that cloud-based payroll service? And even if you did, are you legally be able to access the online accounts after this employee dies?</p> <p><strong>A big issue</strong></p> <p>The Wall Street Journal recently wrote a feature story on this rarely discussed but very important topic. More and more these days, small businesses are embracing online, cloud-based accounts for everything from their banking to their payroll. And far too often, just one person has access to those accounts, including their passwords. If that person should die, it could leave businesses with no way to access these accounts. Which could mean that your business wouldn't be able to cut checks for its employees or pay its vendors.</p> <p><strong>A trust issue</strong></p> <p>The Wall Street Journal states that too many business owners have a false sense of security when it comes to using the cloud. They don't fear losing valuable files or information because, they assume, they're safely tucked away in the cloud. But the cloud isn't perfect. It, too, can be susceptible to hackers. And since everything kept in the cloud needs passwords, gaining access to you important information can prove difficult when the one person who knew all those passwords suddenly dies.</p> <p><strong>Solving the problem</strong></p> <p>Of course, the simplest way for business owners to protect themselves is to ensure that several people know the passwords for these accounts. Owners can also compile a list of passwords and keep it safely stored in a safe. But what happens if online accounts are in an individual's name rather than the company's? Then there can be trouble. Privacy laws and policies might make it so that no one other than that specific individual can ever get into an account. The Wall Street Journal story points to the terms-of-service agreement for Yahoo! It says that ownership ends when the account holder dies. No one else, then, can get in. The solution here? Make certain your online accounts are in either the name of your business or the names of more than one staff member.</p>