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Federal Technology Trends 2023: Device Lifecycle Management Helps Compliance

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Establish a holistic view of all devices

Device lifecycle management helps agencies by cataloging the finer details of every device in the agency environment. Device lifecycle management can also be part of a larger IT asset management system that involves software and network equipment.

This is a key tool for IT managers to know where each device is in its lifecycle and when it might be time to refresh or retire the asset.

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

“One of the most important things is to consider security throughout the lifecycle,” says Frazier. “We always think things are safe after the fact. We put it there and oh, by the way, secure it. We can’t do that.

“As IT managers, we have to think about everything we build, from the moment we have it in mind, we have to plan for the security of that architecture,” he says. “We need to think about the security implications.”

Conversations about device lifecycles often revolve around software because, as Frazier notes, “the lifecycle of devices is the lifecycle of software”, and keeping them up to date is “an endless prospect”.

Process and policy are the foundation of IT asset management, CDW’s David Comings and Randi Coughlin write in a blog post. “They can ensure that untrusted or malicious downloads are discovered on the network and help automate security and compliance practices.”

TO EXPLORE: Federal agencies are leading other industries in adopting zero trust.

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Consider device management costs

Finances can be a limiting factor when implementing 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 security and compliance.

On the one hand, extended use of devices reduces the overall cost of ownership, but increases the energy and resources of the IT team to manage them.

“The longer you hang on to devices, the more types of things you’re likely to support – the more varieties of desktop or laptop models there are, the more nature of phone platforms laptops and operating system versions is many and different. And every time you deal with that, you increase the complexity of what you’re managing,” says Scott Buchholz, CTO of the government and public services practice at Deloitte.

“Who will manage them? Is it 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 about keeping things up to date, but fixing them when they break, maintaining them, etc.”

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

“How important is it for an employee to have a laptop that’s no more than two or three years old?” Does it matter if it’s five? Buchholz said. “What’s the value of owning the hardware and maintaining it versus leasing the hardware for a period of time, knowing they’re depreciating assets, knowing discounted life cycles are what they are?

“That’s the challenge of leadership: making sure you balance the pros and cons of these different areas,” he says.

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