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Limit Your Liabilities by Closing Contracts

As an independent contractor or IT service business, you may have administrative privileges and logins to a number of client networks. It's important to remember that by having this access, you expose your business to more liabilities. If a hacker breaks into your network, the last thing you want is for them to gain access to an old client's account.

In his article "What to Disclaim at the End of a Consulting Contract," Ken Hardin of TechRepublic.com argues that you should always send a "close-out" email to your client after completing a job, telling them…

  • What accounts you have access to.
  • What data you have copies of.
  • What administrative access you have.
  • What shared cloud services you can access.

Once you share this info, tell them that it's "standard operating procedure" or "best practices" for them to remove your access, delete your accounts, etc. Inform them that you may delete any data you have downloaded.

The trick is to do this in a professional way, emphasizing the "standard" nature of your actions, so as not to appear unfriendly. When you finish contracts in this way – removing your access to the client's network – you'll reduce your liabilities. In addition, this may help you avoid situations where your clients are trying to get free services from you by asking you to "look at" ongoing problems they have that are unrelated to your original work.

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