Many small business owners allow employees to bring their own computers to work - or work from home - especially since COVID changed the way we work. This is known as BYOD - or Bring Your Own Device. It's also considered a cyber security risk 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 access to company data. However, if you were to do so (or continue to do so), you will need to implement basic BYOD security protocols. They include:
- Secure your WiFi. Lock it up tight. If you need to extend WiFi to guests, make it a separate network with out any access to your company or client files.
- Use Identity Access & Mobile Device Management(MDM); These are tools and policies that effectively authenticate and control which devices are allowed to connect to your network and access company data. Only approved staff computers would be enrolled as approved devices.
- Use the MDM tools to enforce a strong password policy on employee devices.
- Use the MDM tools to enforce screen locks on employee computers as an added layer of protection in case of a 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. That said, there are excellent and secure remote work solutions using add on tools or by building IT systems design for remote work. Our post on Microsoft Intune & Autopilot vs Windows Virtual Desktop covers two excellent options for small and medium business.
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, or a Windows Virtual Desktop environment. 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.
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