How can I secure my website?

Mr. G Godwin July 17, 2010
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I recently found out about your wonderful websites and since then I have been following your information’s and computer tips. I have a big problem that I will forever be grateful if you can assist me with.

I registered an online based company recently with 4 other friends and later we added another friend as an equal partner because of his computer skills as he is a programmer. The arrangement with this last member was that he handles everything regarding the website for as exchange for equal share, while every other expenses on this project is being handled by the other 5 members. The website has now been build but not launched.

The problem now is that the last member who built the website is now blackmailing us with request of more shares of the company. He has become greedy and his attitude has completely changed, as he is now seeing good prospect for the company. We are now very afraid that he can blackmail us as soon as we launch the website.

The other entire 5 members don’t know anything about website or the programs. Before we launch the company and the website we will like to know what we can do to make sure the website will never be in the hands of one person, as the one who build the website and the programming.

What can we do to make sure he won’t lock the website whenever he wants Can you give us idea of what will happen after the website is launched, as he will be working in the company will he still be totally in charge of it? Is there anything we can do to secure this situation before the website is launched?

Thank you very much in advance for your assistance.

  1. Aibek
    July 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Hi there,

    Let me share a fe points as well

    1. Make sure that only have access to the account of the domain registrar company (GoDaddy.com). The domain is the most important single element when it comes to the ownership of the website.

    2. After the domain, comes hosting account (place that actually stores the contents of your website). You need to make sure that this person is not an admin level user for that account.

    Aibek

  2. Ryan Dube
    July 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Yes, Agree with both comments - hiring a webmaster is very much a trust relationship and you need to be sure the person is very trustworthy because you are essentially giving them the "keys to the kingdom" as we say.

    However, if you also have an admin account, you can get in and change his password (blocking him), but follow the advice of Merryann to be sure *you* aren't breaking any contractual obligations in doing so. Although if he's blackmailing you then your best recourse is to seek a lawyer immediately.

    But I did want to say, other than getting out of your current mess, that when you hire a new admin, you should consider hiring two and giving them equal access and ability to police eachother.

    Good luck!

  3. Jack Cola
    July 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I would be getting a lawyer onto him if he does something, but Merryann provides excellent points that I agree with.

    If he controls the whole site and you know nothing about websites, he will most probably find a way to block you from it.

    As a minimum, I would contact the webhost and give them your contact details or add you to their account, so if he does lock you out of the site, you can contact the webhosting company and they should let you back in (unless it's his own server)

    I would also download a backup of the site, so you at least have something if he locks you out completely. I would also create administrator accounts for the site, and anything else you have. But ultimately, if he wants to block you out, he will. Unless you have his passwords.

  4. Merryann Palmer
    July 17, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    This is not really a matter of securing your website, but more a matter of corporate law. If he is going to be in charge of the site, there is nothing you can do to keep him out of it. However, depending on how your company's legal entity is formed, you may have some recourse.

    1. How are is the company formed? Is it a partnership or a corporation? Have you registered with the IRS and the state you are located in? Procedures vary greatly by state.

    2. How many shares are allocated to each partner/owner? It should say in the partnership/corporation papers how much of a percentage each owner is allowed. If it doesn't say that - get thee to a lawyer and get it done right!

    3. Your partnership/corporation papers and/or bylaws should also state under what circumstances additional shares can be awarded to an owner. They should also state what it takes to force an owner to sell his/her shares to the other owners. If that section was neglected, see the last sentence of #2!

    If you and the other owners are really uncomfortable with this person being in charge of the website, perhaps it would be best if you all got together, changed the login information for the site, and hired a webmaster. If item #3 is in your papers, you would then be able to buy him out and not have to worry about him.

    Good luck!

    • Tina
      July 22, 2010 at 12:33 am

      Thank you very much for this thorough answer Merryann!