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’ important online accounts: your cloud-based payroll software, Twitter account, Facebook account and bank account. That’s fine. But what happens 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 even if you did, are you legally be able to access the online accounts after this employee dies?

Too much power?

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted this issue on its Web site. It might not feel like a problem 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 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, all 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 talk with customers, you’ll need to know the passwords that give you access.

False sense of security?

The Wall Street Journal story defines the issue as a matter of trust. Simply put, small business owners put an excessive amount of trust in the cloud. They erroneously feel that information they put in the cloud will stay protected forever. This isn’t true, though. The cloud doesn’t offer absolute protection from hackers. Plus it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always be able to access your important business files, information and accounts. If you can’t access your online accounts because none of your surviving employees knows the passwords, having all of your important business matters stored online won’t be much help.

Solving the problem

Solving this problem, fortunately, isn’t difficult: You simply need to be sure that more than one employee knows the passwords for your online accounts. And you needs to be equally certain that your critical accounts are either registered to your company or more than one staff member. That way, should that key employee die, you’ll still be able to conduct business normally.