What do you do if the founder of your business dies, taking all her passwords with her? Or when your IT manager has to move back east, and no one else knows how to get into PayPal and Twitter?

You need a way for another person at the company to take over responsibility for the business accounts. You also need to keep them reasonably secure and private. After all, tacking up all the passwords next to the copier is not the best for security.

The first tip is a legal one. Make the account in the company’s name, not the owner or the IT manager’s name. Many websites and services have a policy that only the owner listed on the account can access it. It can be difficult or impossible to prove that someone else should be allowed into the account, and will undoubtedly involve a lot of faxing.

The second tip is to set up all of your accounts from a dedicated business email address. The password for the email account should be known to more than one person. That way, all the other business account passwords can be reset from this email address, should the need arise.

Third, even if someone leaves the company under less than ideal circumstances, try to maintain the best possible relationship throughout the process. This will make your former social media liaison much more inclined to cooperate when you need the Foursquare password.

With equal attention to accessibility and security, and tact for the human element, you can handle the digital side of account inheritance smoothly.

By Sharon Campbell