Your Digital Afterlife: How to Manage Your Business’ Digital Afterlife

8 Min Read

Safety concept: Contoured Shield and Password Security on comput

It’s impossible to know what could happen in the future, but you can (and should) plan for it. The future of your business and its digital legacy depends on how you’ve planned ahead for the unknown. Not implementing a specific plan for your business if you pass away unexpectedly or need to take an extended leave of absence could cause serious problems for your family and business associates, and could ultimately lead to the demise of your business itself.

In partnership with Lastpass, Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass shares his insight on how to ensure that your business data is safe and secure, long after you’re no longer involved in your business. LastPass remembers your passwords, so you can focus on the more important things in life.


In today’s connected world, the complexity of our digital lives has caused us to think differently about the way we prepare for the unexpected. Sensitive company data like healthcare information, employee records, client contact information and financials could all be lost if they are easily accessible to unauthorized personnel. As technology reshapes interpersonal communication and document storage, it’s crucial for small business owners to make arrangements for what should happen to your digital property after your death.

Here are a few tips for small business owners to manage their digital afterlife and ensure the future safety of their business:

Assess your business’ digital assets

The first step in owning your company’s digital afterlife is maintaining an inventory for business-related digital assets, referring to electronically stored, intangible personal property such as email accounts, social media accounts, and domain names, among others. For those with only a single laptop and one email account, the evaluation may be simple because they may not have many assets. For a business owner whose day-to-day work involves managing employees, clients, vendors, suppliers, and a variety of technology, there are many more assets to address and a clear plan needs to be put in place. Small business owners should catalog passwords and usernames for any online accounts, like those for paying bills, managing payroll and employee benefits, suppliers and vendors, even computer logins and WiFi configurations. Password managers such as LastPass provide and simple and secure option to keep track of these. The question business owners need to ask is: Would someone have access to everything they need in order to step into my shoes and run the business, or to settle my business after my death? All digital assets should be accounted for and securely logged.

Prepare a digital estate plan

When preparing for the unexpected, you want to be sure that your digital assets stay with the business and that someone remaining with the business has the proper authority to access what you leave behind. A digital estate plan is an online document where you can upload wills, trusts and all directives for how to handle your business and assets after your passing. Creating a digital estate plan will help your business’ successor easily locate any accounts you have online and access those accounts or the information in them. They’ll also have clear directions for how to carry out your final wishes. Designate somebody you trust to be your business’ digital heir. This person will need to access your accounts – store any and all information they need in a secure but accessible location.

Protect your passwords

You can save a lot of heartache and hassle by ensuring the person you’re passing your business information down to has all the passwords they need to carry out your plans in your absence. This person will need access to your accounts, so using a password manager for business is a helpful way to store everything in one place. LastPass features a Sharing Center to manage shared passwords and an Emergency Access feature that enables users to easily hand down passwords to their heirs. Your designated Emergency Access contact(s) can request access to your account and securely receive your passwords and notes, so they are able to keep your business running smoothly.

Plan for your social media accounts

If you’re the only person with access to your business’ social media accounts, it will be difficult for someone else to access the accounts when you’re gone. Some social media accounts may also be deleted. To avoid this, you can either give somebody you trust access to your accounts or appoint a legacy contact to manage the account. Some programs, like Google and Facebook, have settings for managing your accounts after your passing. Facebook allows users to designate somebody as a “legacy contact” to manage their account, while Google allows users to pick a trusted contact to receive data from its services including Gmail, Google+, YouTube and more. All websites have their own policy, or lack thereof, so you should make plans for your business’ social media accounts based on how you would like them to continue. Will you pass on your company’s social media account to another team member to control, or have the accounts deleted? Make specific plans for your company’s online persona so it’s clear how to manage it when you’re gone, and make sure those passwords are recorded if they’re ever needed.

Educate your employees

In order to keep your business and its assets safe in your absence, make sure your employees are informed when it comes to security threats. Holding IT trainings, offering general best practice tips, setting them up with a password manager and educating employees about the importance of creating unique passwords can help increase awareness of these potential risks.

Don’t leave the future of your business to chance. The inevitable may be out of your control, but with proper planning you can prepare for your digital legacy and the future of your business.

In partnership with Lastpass, Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass shares his insight on how to ensure that your business data is safe and secure, long after you’re no longer involved in your business. LastPass remembers your passwords, so you can focus on the more important things in life.


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Ramon Ray, founder and editor Smart Hustle Magazine. Entrepreneur, best selling author and global keynote speaker.