How to Create a Small Business Digital Contingency Plan

Creating a Small Business Digital Contingency Plan is very important. Read on to learn about the plans you need to make.

We have written posts about preparing for your digital afterlife for individuals, but based on our experience, small businesses need to prepare better too.

Intuit has written this article about small business contingency plans. At SDM we focus on the digital aspects that we have experienced.

In this blog post you will learn what kinds of information to include in these plans, and who might need access.


The first task is to list the businesses you access online. These businesses will probably fall into several main categories.

Financial information might include banks, loans, accounting software, payment processing, and payroll processing.

Business information might include insurance, utilities, suppliers, and subscriptions to cloud services or software. Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox are examples in this category.

Customer information could include CRM software, or cloud storage for your customer database.

Website information includes who your domain is purchased from, and where your website is hosted. Your Email host is another important one. The same should be included for newsletters if you send those.

It may be useful to keep an organizational password manager to store these in. This would allow the sharing of one password when needed instead of each of them individually.

How you do business

For every one of those passwords, there should be a short description about how you do business with that organization. Your small business contingency plan includes emails and phone numbers that are used for security measures. You need to avoid a security code going to a cell phone the organization doesn’t have access to anymore.

How detailed these instructions need to be will depend on how reliant you are on these services. It will also depend on how knowledgeable your organization is.

Who should have a copy of the digital contingency plan

This is almost as important as having the information collected in the first place. Each type of information needs it’s own plan. First, consider the information to be institutional knowledge. The organization should have a copy of this information. Too often, organizations are unaware of the accounts they rely on because workers have created and manage them.

Someone outside the organization should know how to access this information in case the owner or President becomes unavailable. That person should know which information goes to which person in order to continue the organization’s work.

Some of the information in your digital contingency plan will be held by multiple people. Organizations should think about training additional people in the basics of using these kinds of information. Where and how to access the back end of the website for updates is a great example.

At SDM, we have helped many small business and nonprofit organizations try to get back into websites or email accounts. Sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Everyone needs to have a plan in case the worst happens and the person doing the job now is not available in the future.

If you would like help creating a small business digital contingency plan, just call or email and we’ll be happy to assist you! If you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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