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Would you let someone else control your postal mail or bank accounts? If you answered ‘no way’, yet have someone outside your business controlling your domain, email etc. etc. – your online assets, then you need to read on…
We are still struck with disbelief the number of clients we come into contact with that have absolutely no control over their own online assets; from agencies to SMEs, the number of people out there who don’t have access to the most basic information is really disturbing. Even in today’s highly digital world, there are many out there that have failed to grasp the importance of being, and remaining, in control of all the elements of their online presence.
What not having control of online assets means.
Quite often we find clients will have entered the online space, without spending the time to fully understand the mechanics of the various aspects of ownership. Where they will take the time to ensure they not only understand but retain full control over more traditional business assets, such as bank accounts or business registrations, they quite often through ignorance, seem perfectly happy to let a web shop set everything up and not ask for the keys afterwards.
While this may not be evident at first, the net effect is that the keys to your online assets hang on someone else’s key ring. So if they decide to move to the Bahama’s without telling you, you have no way to gain access to your online assets. In other words you are locked out of your own building!
Here is our core checklist for assets you should always have control of.
1. Domain name/s: Never let someone register a domain names on your behalf, regardless of what they say. Domain registration is a simple process and requires no skill as what so ever but it’s what identifies you online. Control of the domain registration account also gives control of the domain DNS (Domain Name Server) address and it’s this address that tells the interweb which server has your website living on it. If you do not control this, a spiteful person, as easily as 1,2,3, could point your domain to either nowhere, or even worse, hotgramdmas.com!!
Once you register your domain, you can let another party have access to make DNS changes on your behalf but once done, it is suggested you then change the account password to prevent further access.
If you do not control your domain name, you do not control your online presence.
2. Server access: If the domain name is your street address, the DNS the map to get there, then the server is the building and server access are the keys to the front door. While you may never need it, at least make sure you can access your sever through some form of control panel – cPanel is by far the most common.
The ability to access your server, ensures you have access to your email accounts as well as all the files that make up your website.
If you are opting to set up a server account for yourself, you can pass on the access details to your developer. If on the other hand your developer is offering hosting, make sure they give you the access details and the master password for your server account.*
3. Email: If you have ensured you have control of 1 and 2, then this step will be automatic. Always make sure you have control to your email accounts. Server access will ensure this, as email accounts are set up and managed through the server. Keep a secure record of all email accounts, usernames and passwords and make sure you have the ability to add or delete accounts, even if you have a developer usually do this on you behalf.
The dangers of no control of email should be apparent….
*Server access may be dependent of any sort of contract. At Pixelated Commerce, we offer limited access for our 12 month payment plans but offer full access for builds and hosting paid up front.