Many small business owners allow employees to bring their own computers to work. This is known as BYOD. It's also considered a cyber security no-no and headache to manage and support. It gets even more complicated when computer repair or IT Support is needed and the question of who foots the bill comes into play. Today we explore who pays for employee computer repairs in a small business, and why you should avoid or at least secure BYOD in your business.
My business is a creative agency with a mix of employees and independent contractors working on the team.
Everyone uses their own computers.
Recently, some employees needed computer repair and support and I didn’t have a policy in place for:
- who provides IT support
- who pays for IT support
I want to help pay for repairs, as my team can’t work without computers, but I also want to keep costs down. We already offer other benefits like flexible work time, paid time off and health coverage, so I don’t really feel I need to foot the bill for computer repairs. What is customary in these type of situation?
IT support and computer security shouldn't be viewed as an employee benefit but rather a function of business management and IT security to protect your clients data and your creative assets.
It is not best practice to allow employee owned computers into the workplace or accessing company data. However, if you were to do so (or continue to do so), you should at least implement basic BYOD security protocols. They include:
- Have a standardized operating system and software installation setup. This creates a homogenous network which has less problems and is easier to support.
- Change all users from the default administrative user profile to a standard user profile. This limits inadvertent threat installation from phishing links etc.
- Have a method of effective user authentication to control who is allowed to connect to your network and access company data.
- Have a password policy and enforce strong passwords and password changes every 90 days.
- Enforce screen locks as an added layer of protection in case of lost or stolen device.
- Install antivirus with active filtering on every device + ideally a firewall in the office.
In a best practice scenario, employees and independent contractors would only use company owned computers to access company data and perform company work.
Company Vs Employee Owned Computers From An Accounting Perspective
When it comes to financing computer equipment, we asked a friendly and knowledgeable accountant, for her advice. She had this to share.
“If you buy a computer for an employee or independent contractor to use at your office location, it would be considered a capital asset for the business and depreciated for tax purposes at 55% declining balance (in the first year, you are only allowed ½ the normal depreciation).
Buying a computer for an employee to use at home gets a little more complicated because you then need to consider that a taxable benefit will likely arise for the employee. Same with computer repair and support, if the company gives their employees free repairs/support for their personal computers, it would be considered a taxable benefit for them.“
To keep things locked down from a security perspective, and crystal clear from an accounting perspective, we recommend company owned computers for everyone. If you are unable to make these purchases outright at this time, you can explore leasing options.
BYOD & IT Security Solutions In Toronto: TUCU is a Toronto IT Service Company serving SMB's since 2003. We are here to help you manage your technology. Please schedule your free consultation so that we can discuss your needs and help you.