Establish a holistic view of all devices
Device lifecycle management assists agencies by cataloging the smallest details of every device in the agency’s environment. Device lifecycle management can also be part of a larger IT asset management system that includes software and network devices.
Knowing where each device is in its lifecycle and when it’s time to refresh or retire the asset is an important tool for IT leaders.
In terms of compliance, device lifecycle management is a way for IT leaders to know where the agency’s information resides and how it is secured.
“One of the most important things is considering security throughout the lifecycle,” says Frazier. “We still consider things safe afterwards. We put it there and oh, by the way, let’s secure it. We can’t.
“As IT leaders, we have to think about everything we build, from the moment we have it as a thought in our head, we have to plan what the security is for that architecture,” he says. “We need to think about the security implications.”
Device lifecycle conversations often revolve around software because, as Frazier points out, “the device lifecycle is the software lifecycle,” and keeping both up to date is “a never-ending prospect.”
Process and policies are the foundation of IT asset management, CDW’s David Comings and Randi Coughlin write in a blog post. “They can ensure that unapproved or malicious downloads are discovered on the network and help automate security and compliance practices.”
Consider the cost of managing devices
Finances can be a limiting factor when setting up a device lifecycle management system. The agency must consider the cost of acquiring new devices and the cost of managing them, including efforts to maintain safety and compliance.
On the one hand, keeping devices up and running for longer lowers the total cost of ownership, but it increases the IT team’s energy and resources to manage them.
“The longer you stick with devices, the more types of things you are likely to support: the more different desktop or laptop models, the more and different nature of mobile phone platforms and OS versions. And every time you deal with that, you add complexity to what you’re managing,” said Scott Buchholz, CTO for Deloitte’s government and public services practice.
“Who will manage them? Is it the same group if it’s a desktop or a laptop as it is for a phone or tablet?” Buchholz continues. “That can be really annoying, because it’s not just about keeping things up to date, but fixing them when they break, maintaining them, and so on.”
On the other hand, limiting the lifecycle of devices will limit the amount of time the IT team spends managing those devices, but it can drive up costs as devices are refreshed more frequently.
“How important is it that an employee has a laptop that is no more than two or three years old? Does it matter if it’s five?” says Buchholz. “What is the value of owning the hardware and maintaining the hardware versus essentially leasing the hardware for a period of time, knowing they’re depreciating assets, knowing the revamped lifecycles are what they are?
“That’s the challenge of leadership: making sure you weigh up the pros and cons of those different areas,” he says.