Security series: Avoid being held hostage by a web developer

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The most common issue entrepreneurs run into when developing their online presence is not having access to their digital assets.

Entrepreneurs typically outsource the creation of their company’s website to an external resource such as a web firm, self-employed web developer or even a family member.

Then the business grows and everybody kind of forgets who has access to which accounts until you need to expand or optimize your website. That’s when the trouble can start.

Hostage situations you want to avoid

1. Domain name

Even if your web firm offers a domain name registration service, it’s essential that the administrator contact information remains within your control for renewals, transfers, acquisition offers etc. You can check your current administrator contact details on whois.com

2. Web hosting services

Many business owners don’t have a company server to host their website, so signing a hosting agreement with a web development firm is very common. However, in order to be able to move the website to another server should your external partnership end, it’s preferable to obtain administrator access rights from day one.

3. Content Management System (CMS)

Most websites use a CMS to manage content like text, images, forms etc. Having administrator access will allow you to continue managing your website should your external web developer go out of business, for example.

4. Email marketing tool

With the federal government’s anti-spam law coming into force in July, it’s crucial to have administrator access to your email marketing tool.

5. Web Analytics

Web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, provide important data about your website visitors and other performance metrics. Not having administrator access limits your capacity to analyze strategic business information.

6. Social Media Channels

We also see external firms—sometimes in offshore locations—managing company social media properties. Needless to say, that having direct access to these accounts is imperative should there be a “social media crisis” to respond to directly by the business owner or management team.


Safeguarding your digital assets is your business.

Make sure you keep administrator access information in a password protected Excel spreadsheet or use tools like PasswordBox and 1Password.

Revoking temporary administrator access to external resources once a project has been completed is also something we highly recommend.

If you are unsure which CMS, analytics tool, social media presence your company has implemented in the past you can run a free BDC Website assessment.



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