Technology

Planning for Disasters

What happens if you lose all your critical data tomorrow? It’s a question that all businesses should be able to answer with confidence. Everyone wants and needs to ensure their critical data is safe, secure, and recoverable. However, it is often one of the most overlooked parts of an IT security plan. Most IT providers offer a backup solution, but the way it is implemented and maintained is not always equal. In fact, two IT providers could use the exact same backup software vendor and yet the protection level that each client gets, could be drastically different. As I engage with SMBs from an assessment prospective, I typically ask the same 4 questions.

  1. Do you have a documented DR plan or process, and has it been tested in the past 6-12 months?
  2. Does offsite replication exist and to what frequency is it tested for data validity?
  3. Do you know how long your retention policies for those backups are?
  4. Do you know for sure that ALL critical business data is being covered?

The answers I typically get are alarming. 9/10 clients I meet with don’t have a disaster recovery plan at all. That makes me nervous in the year 2019 with concerns around an increasing number of security vulnerabilities, data breaches, and data corruption attacks. The most common answer I get to the other questions is, “I don’t know”. If you don’t know if ALL your critical data is being covered, replicated offsite, being tested regularly for validity, then you might as well assume it is not and that your data is at risk.

A true DR plan is not as straight forward as backing up data folders on a server. Other things that need to be considered are; acceptable RTO (time to recovery) and RPO (data loss tolerance), calculated cost of downtime or loss of data, and where data actually lives (mobile devices, hosted email (Office 365/ Google), an individual’s workstation/laptop or personal Drop Box account, etc).

At Connecting Point, we view it as our responsibility to our clients to bring holistic consultative services, security focused solutions, industry best practices/processes, and 30+ years of IT experience to the DR conversation. Contact us for more info on how we can help you ensure your data is properly secured and protected.

Jesse Rosales
Director of Managed Services
Connecting Point
2401 17th Street
Greeley, CO  80634
(970) 356-7224   Main line
(970) 395-2320   Direct line
jrosales@cpcolorado.com
www.cpcolorado.com


Health Care

Lakeview Commons: A Place to Call Home and Friends to Call Family

As the Administrator of Lakeview Commons I have the pleasure of working in the smallest facility in Columbine Health Systems. Often times “small” can be perceived unenthusiastically; however, when it comes to Lakeview Commons we refer to it as FAMILY.

The notion of family is consistent with both the staff and residents. Our department heads average 7 ½ years of service. Residents know our spouses and kids by name. Our children come in to trick or treat, deliver Valentines and “Thank You” cards for Veteran’s Day. We share our vacation pictures and stories and enjoy the discussions, laughter, and memories.

Staff strives to ensure the residents have the highest quality of life. Families have stated, “staff is amazing, everyone is willing to pitch in. We’ve never had to worry about mom”. A resident shared “I am impressed with the attention given to each resident and there is a true sense of home”. One resident stated, “I love the activities that are offered at Lakeview. Being as active as I am, I feel young again and will continue to be involved as much as I can”.

Our residents come from all over the world. They grace us with their stories of individual experiences and accomplishments which inspire us to live life as abundantly as they have. One staff member commented “The benefit I have over staff who work in larger buildings is that I know my residents. I know the names of their kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. I know how they met their spouse, where they grew up, studied, and where they traveled. I also know how to make them laugh to brighten their day”.

Soon after admission to Lakeview Commons our residents quickly call it “Home” and staff and residents alike become family.

Janel Baily
Administrator
Lakeview Commons
1422 W. 29th Street
Loveland, CO 80538
970-278-4000


Law

Covenants Not to Compete in Colorado

Whether you are an executive, top salesperson, professional employee, or business owner; it is likely you have been confronted with a covenant not to compete.   These are common agreements which are used in the sale of a business and when hiring top executives, salespeople, and professionals such as physicians.   A lot of our clients are surprised to discover the truth about these agreements in Colorado.  With some exceptions, covenants not to compete are NOT enforceable in Colorado unless they fit into one of four specified categories; and even then, they must be “reasonable in time and geographic scope.”   

Colorado statute favors the idea that all people should be free to work and any “restraint of trade” is presumptively invalid.  However, there are four categories provided by statute in which such covenant will be enforceable in court. 

They will be enforced when the covenant applies to:

  1. the sale of a business;
  2. the protection of trade secrets;
  3. recovery of expenses for training when the employee has been employed for less than two years; and
  4. executive and management personnel.  

Covenants are also applicable to physicians when the agreement fits certain criteria.

Applying these covenants to the sale of business makes sense in that part of what most buyers of a business are purchasing is the ability to operate the business without having to compete with a former owner.   This seems “fair” in that a former owner should not be allowed to compete with the new owner who just paid for the business.   Agreements to protect trade secrets are enforceable, but only if the business is protecting “real” trade secrets and not just preventing competition in the name of protecting trade secrets.   These kinds of agreements are frequently used and often litigated.  Whether you are an employee or a business owner, get some advice before using or agreeing to a covenant not to compete.

Tim Brynteson, Esq.
Otis, Bedingfield & Peters, LLC
2725 Rocky Mountain Avenue, Suite 320
Loveland, CO 80538
970-663-7300
tbrynteson@nocoattorneys.com
www.nocoattorneys.com


Payroll & Workforce Services

Accountable Plans: beneficial for employee & employer

Accountable plans allow employers to reimburse employees for job-related business expenses, tax free.  Under an accountable plan, qualified reimbursements are not included in an employee’s wages or on the employee’s W2; employers don’t pay employment taxes on the reimbursement and can deduct it as a business expense.  And while they aren’t new, accountable plans have become more important with the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA), which suspended employees’ ability to deduct unreimbursed job-related expenses as itemized deductions on their personal tax returns for tax years 2018-2025.  In the current tight job market, an accountable plan can be a great tool for hiring and retaining good employees, and employees aren’t saddled with business expenses that are not deductible.   

What makes a plan accountable?

  1. The reimbursed expense must have a business connection.  In other words, the employee incurred the expense while performing their job for the employer.  Types of business expenses reimbursable to an employee could include travel, mileage, tools, business meals (@50%) and employee home office expenses.
  2. The reimbursed expense is substantiated.  Generally, the employee must provide the employer with a receipt, as well as provide amount, date, time, place and business purpose of the expense, within a reasonable period of time (generally within 60 days after the expense is incurred or paid).
  3. The return of excess expense advances or unsubstantiated reimbursements is made to the employer within a reasonable period of time (generally within 120 days).

Although the IRS does not require a written accountable plan, distributing a documented accountable plan to your employees is a good idea.  The tax rules applied to an accountable plan are on an employee-by-employee basis.  If an employee fails to meet the accountable plan requirements, their reimbursements are included in taxable wages.

Not interested in establishing an accountable plan? In that case, all employee expense reimbursements are taxable; the reimbursements must be included in the employee’s taxable wages, and employer payroll taxes will be assessed on the reimbursement.

No matter which plan you have, your local Payroll Vault can help you pay your employees and stay compliant.  Call us today!

Allyson Rodahl, CPP
Payroll Vault of Weld County
(970) 353-0170
Allyson.rodahl@payrollvault.com