Build a holistic view of all equipment
Device lifecycle management helps institutions by cataloging the details of each device in an institution’s environment. Device lifecycle management can also be part of a larger IT asset management system involving software and network devices.
It is a key tool for IT leaders to understand where each piece of equipment is in its lifecycle and when assets need to be refreshed or retired.
In terms of compliance, device lifecycle management is a way for IT leaders to understand where an organization’s information resides and how it is secured.
“One of the most important things is to think about security throughout the lifecycle,” Frazier said. “In hindsight we still think things are safe. We put it out there, oh, by the way, let’s make it safe. We can’t do that.
“As IT leaders, we have to think about everything we build, from the moment we have it as an idea in our head, we should plan for the security of that architecture,” he said. “We have to consider the security implications.”
Conversations about device lifecycles often revolve around software because, as Frazier points out, “a device lifecycle is a software lifecycle,” and keeping the two up to date is “a never-ending prospect.”
Processes 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 caught on the network and help automate security and compliance practices.”
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Consider the cost of managing devices
Funding can be a limiting factor when setting up an equipment lifecycle management system. The agency must consider the cost of acquiring new devices and the cost of managing them, including efforts to maintain security and compliance.
On the one hand, keeping devices in use for longer can lower the total cost of ownership, but it increases the effort and resources of the IT team to manage them.
“The longer you have a device, the more types of things you can potentially support—the more types of desktops or laptops, the more nature of mobile platforms and OS versions. Every time you deal with these issues, Both add to the complexity of managing content,” said Scott Buchholz, chief technology officer for Deloitte’s Government and Public Services practice.
“Who’s going to manage them? Are desktops or laptops in the same group as phones or tablets?” Buchholz continued. “It can be a real pain because it’s not only keeping them up to date, but also fixing them when they break down, servicing them and so on.”
On the other hand, limiting the lifecycle of devices will reduce the time IT teams spend managing them, but it can drive up costs as devices are updated more frequently.
“How important is it that employees have a laptop that’s not more than two or three years old? Does five matter?” Buchholz said. “What’s the value in owning the hardware and maintaining the hardware versus basically leasing the hardware for a period of time, knowing they’re depreciating assets, knowing what’s the lifecycle of a refresh?
“That’s the challenge of leadership: making sure you balance the pros and cons of these different areas,” he said.
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