Imagine this: You’re a small business owner. You know what it takes to run a small business, and you’re juggling everything from paying your employees to keeping up with the bills. You don’t know enough about IT, just that there are certain technological pieces your company needs. So you hire an IT person to handle those needs: domain, server, backup,m k etc.
But now you have these questions: What happens if your IT person ends up under the weather for a few weeks? Or goes out of business? Or worst, passes away? What happens if they’re not scrupulous? They have access to all your files and accounts.
At Techs, our vision is to empower you. We want to make sure you aren’t completely out of the loop about what your IT person is doing. So we’ve identified a set of best practices every small business owner should know.
The first one is your company domain.
The Digital Real Estate for Your Company
Think back to when you bought a house. Most likely you made a down payment, agreed to a mortgage term (probably twenty or thirty years), and now you pay a monthly fee to your mortgage lender.
Or consider when you negotiated your office lease. You signed a contract with a landlord agreeing to pay a certain amount for a period of time, so your business could occupy the space.
Chances are, you’re protective about who can enter your house. Occasionally, you might entertain guests. An extended family member might visit from out of town and stay in the spare bedroom. Your children might invite friends over for a sleepover. Same goes for your office. You’ve probably posted public business hours on your door. But once those hours have passed, you lock the doors, and no longer welcome the public inside.
This is, for the most part, real estate common sense. Yet, when it comes to digital real estate (read: your company’s domain name), many business owners are haphazard. Instead of being protective, they’ll have no access to the company domain, and in some instances might not even know where it is.
Are You Making These Mistakes?
Your company’s domain is the digital real estate for your company, so treat it with the same care as your house or office. Ask yourself these two questions:
- Who Is My Domain Registrar? All domain names must first be registered with a registrar. Think of it like the mortgage lender of your house. You pay the lender a monthly amount in exchange for living in your house. Likewise, you pay the registrar for a digital space where you can promote your company.You’ve undoubtedly heard of some registrars, like GoDaddy and 1&1.
This is why you should know your registrar: On some of these sites, if you sign up an account, you can register as many domain names as you want. So let’s say you asked your IT person to put your website together. There’s a chance they registered your company’s domain name under their account. And if something happens to them, you want to make sure you’re covered. So make sure you know your domain registrar. This leads to the second question:
- Do You Have Primary Access of Your Domain? Let’s say you have an employee who’s super skilled at IT. Let’s say she registered the domain name for you, because she knew what she was doing and, frankly, you were too busy dealing with the ins and outs of your business. That’s not necessarily a problem. In fact, because she’s skilled at IT, that might even be better.
Where you might run into issues pertains to the access you have to the domain. Say you had to reset that employee’s work email. Would you still be able to access the registration and make changes?
As a business owner, you need primary access. In other words, you should be able to access the account if you need to. Don’t just leave it up to your IT administrator. At Techs, we recommend you have two super administrators who have this kind of access: you as the business owner and your IT person.
By asking these two questions, you can begin to protect your company domain.
But Don’t Just Limit It to Your Company Domain
Consider those same questions for other aspects of your company:
Do you have autonomy with your email system? For other cloud services? Do you have administrative access to all computers in your organization, especially servers?
We’ll answer these questions and more as we continue with more Best Small Business Practices for IT. In the meantime, let us know how we can help you take the control you need over your company, in the areas where you most need it.