Small business owners have a lot to think about. Should they hire more staff? Should they open a new location? Does their business offer goods and services that aren’t generating enough income? But here’s an issue that far too many business owners don’t think about: What happens if the one individual who has access to all your small business’ online accounts – everything from your business’ online bank accounts to its social media sites to its cloud-based payroll software – suddenly dies? Will you be able to access these important accounts?

A big issue

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted this issue on its Web site. It might not seem like an issue that your business will suffer. But if your business has online accounts to which only one person has access, you might be tempting fate. If that person dies, will you be able to access your online bank account so that you can pay your vendors or cut a rent check to your landlord? How about your payroll software? Are you 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 relies on these tools to communicate with customers, you’ll need to know the passwords that give you access.

The cloud isn’t fail-proof

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 information because, they assume, they’re safely tucked away in the cloud. Even so the cloud isn’t perfect. It, too, may be at risk of hackers. And since everything stored in the cloud needs passwords, getting access to you important information can be challenging when the one person who knew all those passwords suddenly passes away.

Solving the problem

The easiest fix is to ensure 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 only 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 in a tricky legal situation. Preferably, make certain that several employees – and, obviously, yourself – have legal access to your business’ key online accounts.

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