How organizations should handle mobile lifecycles

Enterprise mobile devices come with different requirements from purchase to retirement, and a mobile device lifecycle management plan can help ensure consistent performance of mobile devices.

When an organization purchases mobile devices for its employees, IT administrators must adopt several practices to manage the devices from purchase to provisioning to retirement. These tools, policies, and processes are known as Mobile device lifecycle management (MDLM).

Oversight of the enterprise mobile lifecycle includes various financial, business, security, and compliance decisions. The mobile device lifecycle process provides the structure for organizations to properly manage mobile devices, while delivering a positive employee experience.

within the mobile device lifecycle

While IT teams may fully oversee device management, they may outsource some or all elements of the mobile device lifecycle to a third party service provider. Regardless of the design, a mobile device lifecycle plan provides transparency with adequate technology and financial controls.

Don’t confuse a mobile device lifecycle plan with a mobile device management platform – MDM It only focuses on data security and endpoint protection, not the entire lifecycle. However, MDM software can assist with many aspects of lifecycle management, such as service settings during provisioning and security controls during service downtime.

Organizations can break down the mobile device lifecycle into the following steps to better understand the process and decide when and how to implement different policies.

Purchase of equipment and services

Buying or leasing mobile devices as an organization has cost advantages. For example, Apple offers a work schedule which provides device sales, leasing and services covering the entire mobile device lifecycle, targeting organizations of all sizes. Organizations have the option to buy or rent laptops, tablets, and smartphones from a range of third-party vendors, there are mobile-focused service providers and IT can outsource, if not all, the lifecycle management of mobile devices.

Organizations often purchase mobile data plans as a bundle to be cost effective, as authorized devices get a data allowance to use, usually charged from the department budget. Company-wide data reporting is essential for tracking spending and usage and staying within budget, so administrators must pay attention to data usage trends in their organization as their teams adapt to hybrid and remote schedules.

Another consideration for this stage is the storage of purchased hardware that still needs to be issued to employees. IT departments of companies that directly manage their mobile devices can follow standard operating procedures To store IT devices. For IT departments that rely on an external provider to manage their mobile devices, device storage is undoubtedly part of the provider’s services.

Set up, provision, and configure mobile devices

Setting up new devices for end users begins with their enrollment in the MDM platform, which enables IT administrators to control, secure, and enforce policies on devices that enter the security realm. MDM providers such as Jamf And Kandji caters specifically to Apple devices. Microsoft Intune and ManageEngine are popular MDM platforms for Android devices, although they support both Android and iOS.

Mobile provisioning entails using an MDM system to deliver configuration data and service settings, such as Wi-Fi, corporate VPN, and one sign on. Depending on the organization’s strategy, IT can install standard business applications at this time, and Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 provisioning if it is necessary.

The next step at this point is to configure the new hardware security settings. IT can map a wide range of files Mobile security policies, so security and compliance programs must define which policies should become standard. Some typical mobile device security policies are as follows:

  • device encryption to protect company data on devices;
  • default remote wipe settings so IT staff can use MDM to wipe data from lost or stolen mobile devices; And
  • Application installation restrictions so that employees can only download applications from the company Mobile application management Platform – A secure and private app store for employees to download company-approved apps that are normally part of an MDM system.

Hand over and deploy mobile devices to employees

Deployment of mobile devices typically occurs at the employee onboard or shortly thereafter. Whether it’s an IT department or a third-party provider doing the deployment, it’s critical to communicate with end users to set expectations and deadlines. Administrators should consider the following communication tips:

  • Leverage the company’s public advertising channels to communicate updates on deployment strategy and device delivery schedule.
  • Offer question-and-answer online events about mobile publishing with a A collaboration platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
  • Make written communications to the end-user community clear, concise, jargon-free, and benefit-oriented.

Another essential component at this point is device tracking. End users and IT personnel must be able to track the delivery status of a device from the time it leaves the IT department or third party provider to the time it arrives at the user’s location.

Setting up new devices for end users begins with their enrollment in the MDM platform, which enables IT administrators to control, secure, and enforce policies on devices that enter the security realm.

Hardware refurbishment and repair

Mobile devices are like any other expired technical device (Encyclopedia of Life) where device performance, operating system support, and other factors put employee productivity and enterprise security at risk.

Device update policies are often a call-out for organizations due to technical and security concerns that influence update decisions. For example, there are security risks associated with operating mobile devices that do not Support the latest manufacturer’s operating system.

It is easy for employees to damage mobile devices by accident, so mobile device lifecycle plans must include policies and a process for repairing the device before the device is eligible for the update. While large companies may have IT staff to perform many laptop repairs in-house, they usually outsource smartphone and tablet repair to a third-party repair provider.

Restore and stop devices

Every mobile device has an EOL, and at that time the mobile device life cycle must take into account employee device recovery and shutdown. Most commonly, a device’s EOL history is located in the organization’s MDM.

In the past, device retirement involved employees bringing their devices to the IT service desk and signing some paperwork. Today, this typically entails the IT department sending a prepaid shipping box to the employees. Employees then send their device back to corporate headquarters or to the third party company with whom the organization has a contract for mobile lifecycle support.

Security controls must be in place when Revoke access and return devices. The most common control is an MDM policy that completely locks out a device, even from end users.

Other elements of the mobile device lifecycle

While MDLM is a structured process, organizations must consider a few other elements when implementing it to ensure end-user productivity and device security.


A well-executed mobile lifecycle plan provides users and stakeholders with a new level of visibility into the state, operability, and functionality of their mobile devices. Users can track any fixes on their devices. IT management and other stakeholders gain visibility into hardware costs, security, compliance and operations, even as those of their own organization Workforce model changes to remote work or hybrid work.

Help desk support

Mobile Support is a specialty that requires significant IT experience. Depending on their budget situation, organizations can hire mobile support and have the in-house expertise full-time. Outsourcing help desk support with all or part of the mobile device lifecycle may make more sense, however, because that provides access to specialized mobile expertise that some full-time in-house organizations may not need.

User self-sufficiency

As remote and hybrid work continue to change the business model within organizations, mobile device lifecycle management can help ensure user self-sufficiency with devices. Order devices online and standardize device images, configurations, and usage Automated provisioning Remove this excess work from IT staff and end users. Well-maintained, clear and concise end-user documentation, and timely training are keys to enhancing user self-sufficiency.

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