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


Only one key employee has access to all of your small business’ crucial 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? Would you know the passwords to your company’s online bank account? How about that cloud-based payroll service? And even if you did, are you legally able to access the online accounts after this employee dies?

Too much power?

The Wall Street Journal recently covered this issue on its Web site. It may seem like an obscure matter, something that could never impact your small business. 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 have the ability to access your business’ Twitter or Facebook sites if the only person who knew their passwords has perished. Are there vendors to pay? You might not be able to if you can’t get access to your company’s online bank account. And what about your staff members? They want to get paid on time, right? They might not if you suddenly can’t open your company’s cloud-based payroll software.

False sense of security?

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 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, gaining access to you important information can be difficult when the one person who knew those passwords suddenly passes away.


The easiest fix is to make certain 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, 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 once the account holder dies. You don’t want to get into a tricky legal situation. Preferably, make sure that several employees – and, of course, yourself – have legal access to your business’ key online accounts.