I used to think this way too. But then a business friend in town called me to let me know he was hacked. He has a small business just like I do. He didn’t even know it happened until government authorities contacted him to let him know. Lucky for him and his business and employees, they guided him through the process of fixing the hack.

Only the big boys get hacked, right? SONY, Target and Home Depot got hacked. The ransomware Wanna Cry only hit larger businesses. So why should I worry? Well, after some light research, here is why I should worry:

  1. Almost half of all phishing campaigns now target small companies.
  2. Only 5% of small companies carry Cyber Liability Insurance.
  3. The average data breach costs $4,000,000 to correct.
  4. The average cost per stolen record is $221 to correct! Ouch!

Turns out if you’ve been hacked and had records stolen, you need to hire a computer forensics firm to look at your computers and figure out how and where the hack happened. You’ll have to upgrade your security software and hardware. By law in almost every state you must contact each individual affected by your hack and provide them credit monitoring for a year. Your business could be sued by injured third parties. You could be penalized or fined by state government authorities if you were negligent in any way.

Recently in my emails, I have been asked to help sneak money out of foreign countries. I have been told by banks I don’t use that there has been suspicious activity on my account so please login with your username and password below. I have received dropbox files and have been asked to click and open them, but I have no idea who the sender is. The best one lately was from a realtor with an attachment stating that it was the closing statement for a recent client who purchased a new home and needed insurance. It wasn’t a client or prospect. That one almost got me; it was tailored for an insurance agent. I now believe the hackers are targeting small businesses.

Anyone who connects to the internet is vulnerable to be hacked! The average premium for a Cyber Liability Insurance Policy is only 0.1% of your company’s revenue, a small price to pay for Peace of Mind!

Learn How Your Digital Assets Can Be Bequeathed

Learn How Your Digital Assets Can Be Bequeathed

More and more individuals and corporations are relying heavily on Web-based environments to engage in business. From simple, lead-generating Web pages for small businesses to blogs that have multiple streams of revenue such as affiliate activity and sponsored posts, the ways in which we use the Web in association with our for-profit endeavors are almost endless. Today we are going to visit the processes associated with the transfer of for-profit digital assets as part of a legacy or inheritance.

Learn more about creating a digital estate plan.

If any of your revenue or business interactions are intertwined with a Web page, then it is essential that you take the necessary steps to ensure continuity for your customers as well as access to revenue opportunities for your heirs. If your business or blog is relatively small, then you may be able to keep it under your personal name as private property, without resorting to creating a limited-liability corporation. If, on the other hand, your business involves several individuals such as employees to whom you have payroll obligations, then you may want to consider creating an LLC with several individuals having joint ownership, if applicable, to ensure continuity in the case of your death.

Regardless of the size or complexity of your Web pages, there are steps you can take to make sure those you love and those who depend on your Web pages continue to have access to functions and digital assets. This will enable them to manage your digital resources immediately after your death, and move forward when decisions are made based on your testament as to whom should manage your digital assets.

Audit All Your for-Profit Digital Interactions
Set time aside to step back and identify your digital assets that may have an impact on businesses or revenue streams after you die. This may include active, inactive, or parked domains associated with websites representing brick-and-mortar businesses, or businesses that are fully online. Once you have identified the totality of your for-profit digital assets, create a list with passwords and validation questions associated with your profiles as well as the email and password principally used for business communications for each domain. Don’t neglect to document more obscure passwords such as cPanel and database passwords. Your heirs, executors, or agents should be able to access the hosting company as well as CMS platforms such as WordPress. Note that each has a separate password as well as a different way of validating when you have placed two-factor authentication processes.

Discuss Your Vision and Totality of Digital Assets with a Trusted Party
Discuss Your Vision and Totality of Digital Assets with a Trusted Party

Discuss Your Vision and Totality of Digital Assets with a Trusted Party
Assume the best and plan for the worst. If you have selected an individual to manage your affairs after your death, then discuss the intricacies of your digital assets. Make sure he or she is familiar with external revenue streams such as affiliate marketing and Google advertising. Meet with certain frequency to ensure the person tasked with handling your affairs after your death has the latest and greatest in terms of strategy and revenue sources.

Seriously Consider Creating an LLC
Having a limited-liability corporation as owner of your digital assets can be of significant advantage when it comes to creating continuity after you die. While giving someone your password can certainly facilitate access in some situations, it is illegal for another to “impersonate” you when accessing certain digital assets. For this reason, an LLC is a perfect solution to protect all stakeholders and heirs and guarantee seamless transfer of assets.

Become Familiar with the Terms of Service
You know you won’t live forever. As you enter into contracts associated with your digital assets and digital streams of revenue, take time to read and understand the terms of service. By understanding the conditions associated with your digital assets, you will be able to better prepare, should something happen to you.

By maintaining an online and offline location with all of the information pertaining to your digital assets, you’ll ensure continutity in business should something happen to you.
By maintaining an online and offline location with all of the information pertaining to your digital assets, you’ll ensure continutity in business should something happen to you.

Centralize Your Access Information
Create both an online and offline centralized and updated location with all of the information pertaining to your digital assets. Update it often, and discuss with stakeholders what it would take to access the information and ensure continuity in business.

Take a look at our newest solution, Estate Assist’s Safe.

Finally, if you are a service provider, take the necessary steps to ensure continuity in service to your customers. Maintain updated customer lists, and create procedures designed to ensure your representative handles his or her matters in a professional and timely manner.

Should Your Business Be Held in Trust?

Should Your Business Be Held in Trust?

Most enterprise homeowners already recognize the advantages that incorporation or partnership can present. But ought to entrepreneurs take into account having their small enterprise held in a belief?

Once you perceive how belief possession works, together with among the professionals and cons, your corporation could also be prepared to learn from being held in a belief, with you as a beneficiary.

Here are the fundamentals of what you could know:

How Does a Trust ‘Hold’ a Business?

Trusts are authorized entities that exist to separate the authorized possession of property from equitable possession. In different phrases, property held in a belief is the authorized property of the trustee, however it’s owned for the advantage of the belief’s beneficiaries.

By inserting a enterprise right into a dwelling belief — a belief that’s created for you and your loved ones’s profit while you’re alive — you switch authorized possession of your corporation to the trustee, which is often a 3rd get together however can be the enterprise proprietor.

Once held in a belief, a enterprise proprietor needn’t fear concerning the property of a enterprise being affected by probate as soon as he dies, because the enterprise is now not part of his property.

Although there are a number of sorts of trusts, a enterprise proprietor will possible contemplate a revocable belief that permits him to alter the phrases of the belief throughout his lifetime, in order that the enterprise property might be transferred in and out as obligatory.

Possible Complications

A belief is a authorized entity that solely exists so long as there’s a division between the authorized proprietor and the equitable proprietor of the property — which means that a enterprise proprietor can’t be each the only beneficiary and trustee of the belief that is holding his enterprise.

This both means naming members of the family or spouses as beneficiaries throughout your lifetime, which may increase points on divorce, or hiring or nominating a 3rd celebration as a trustee.

In addition to the potential value of paying a 3rd get together to handle your belief, there are elevated prices and issue in accounting for the property which reside in the belief, which can be too nice for a small enterprise.

If a sole proprietor does not have many enterprise property, then the probate penalties could also be too small to undergo the difficulty of making a belief. To be taught extra about whether or not a belief is sensible for what you are promoting, it might be prudent to seek the advice of with an skilled enterprise lawyer close to you.