Who Owns Your Company Online?

Everyone knows there’s a lot of employee and consultant turnover going on right now.  If your company is facing this, take a moment to consider what needs to be done to protect your online reputation from ex-employees/consultants, before you make the announcement and ask yourself who owns your company online?

Horror Stories from Website Owners

A business owner came to us for help with their website.  They had let go an employee who had been the main contact for the company website and the keeper of all the passwords needed to access the website content.  No one remembered to ask the employee for this information before letting them go (or remembered to ask as a backup while they were still employed), so as one last parting gift to their employer,  the ex-employee posted a message on the homepage of the company website expressing their feelings about their former employer.  Since no one else at the company knew who to call or even where the website was hosted, there was a delay in retrieving the passwords, re-setting the passwords and getting the homepage changed.  In the meantime,  the post remained on the company homepage for all to see.

Where to look for important passwords

I have talked in previous posts about the importance of keeping your domain names under your control.  The website hosting account is the next most obvious place,  but where else should we document passwords in case of employee turnover?

  1. Google Analytics –  Recently I had a customer that had a consultant use their personal gmail account to setup Google Analytics for the company site. When they decided to discontinue the consultant’s services, the only recourse was to setup a new account and replace the tracking code.
  2. E-commerce Shopping Cart Logins and Payment Gateways – If you had an employee or consultant pulling sales reports for you, they have access to your sales and banking information through these portals. You will need to be change passwords if they leave.
  3. Content Management System – Employees updating website content had logins that will need to be deleted or changed.
  4. Customer portals,  Online Support, Customer Discussion Forums –  Do employees have logins to customer channels?  Delete those logins to control access to customer information once employees are gone.
  5. Email Marketing Accounts – Who does your email blasts?  Would you like ex-employees to have access to customer email lists once they are no longer with the company?  Keep track of this login.

What about Social Media?

Did one of your employees setup a Facebook page for your company?  Did somebody setup a Twitter account using your company name?  What other sites is your company on?  Are employees using personal emails to setup these accounts?  Who do they belong to if that employee is no longer with the company?

Create an Online Media Policy

Before you make personnel decisions, create a policy outlining how your companies’ online reputation will be maintained and create redundancies in your system.  If you want employees to participate in Social Media on the companies’ behalf,  set the boundaries before they begin and define what will happen if personnel changes.

So I did I miss any?  Do you have any stories or warnings others could benefit from?  Please share you stories.