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Create a complete view of all devices

Device lifecycle management helps agencies by cataloging the fine details of each 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 equipment.

It’s a key tool for IT managers to know where each device is in its lifecycle and when it might be time to upgrade or retire an asset.

When it comes to compliance, device lifecycle management is a way for IT managers to know where an agency’s information lives and how it is secured.

“One of the biggest things is to consider safety throughout life,” Fraser says. “We still consider things safe after the fact. We put it out there and oh by the way, let’s secure it. We can’t do that.

“As IT leaders, we have to think about everything we’re building, from the moment we have it as a thought in our brains, we have to plan for what the security of that architecture is,” he says. “We have to think about the security implications.”

Conversations about device lifecycles often revolve around software because, as Fraser points out, “the lifecycle of the device is the lifecycle of the software,” and keeping both up-to-date is “a never-ending prospect.”

Process and policy are fundamental to managing IT assets, write David Commings and Randy Coughlin of CDW in a blog post. “They can ensure that unapproved or malicious downloads are detected on the network and help automate security and compliance practices.”

STUDY: Federal agencies lead other industries in zero-trust adoption.

Consider device management costs

Finances can be a limiting factor when creating a device lifecycle management system. The agency must consider the costs of acquiring and managing new devices, including efforts to maintain security and compliance.

On the one hand, keeping devices in use longer reduces the total cost of ownership, but it stretches the IT team’s energy and resources to manage them.

“The longer you hang onto devices, the more types of things you’ll support. the more types of desktop or laptop models there are, the more and more mobile phone platforms and operating system versions there are. And every time you deal with that, you increase the complexity of what you’re managing,” said Scott Buchholz, CTO of Deloitte’s Government and Public Services practice.

“Who will rule them? It’s the same group if it’s a desktop or laptop as it is for a phone or tablet.” Buchholz continues. “It can be a real pain because it’s not just updating things on them, it’s also fixing them when they break, maintaining them and so on.”

On the other hand, limiting the lifecycle of devices will reduce how much time the IT team spends managing those devices, but it can increase costs as devices are updated more frequently.

“How important is it for an employee to have a laptop that is no more than two or three years old? Does it matter if there are five?’ Buchholz says: “What’s the value of owning the hardware and maintaining the hardware versus leasing the hardware for a period of time, knowing that they’re depreciating assets, knowing that the lifecycles are updated as they are?

“That is the leadership challenge. making sure you’re balancing the pros and cons of those different areas,” he says.

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