IT teams, many of which were already stretched thin before the pandemic hit, are trying to take a breath after a massive shift to more WFH arrangements. Put simply, technology lifecycle management is complex. Part of what makes managing remote infrastructures such a demanding task is that there are more devices than ever to juggle! 96% of companies report an increase in personal devices on the corporate network. An influx of devices hitting the corporate network means that device lifecycle management is more unwieldy and labor-intensive.

While you can find many best practices regarding device lifecycle management  – covering device acquisition staging and kitting, maintenance, and finally, device reclamation – it seems that often the final step is overlooked. That’s why here we want to talk about ‘starting at the end.’ In other words, we want to dive into the device reclamation piece of the mobility puzzle. What do you need to know about hardware asset management? How can a device recovery and decommissioning workflow improve your security posture? What about renewing or recycling devices? Read on to learn more.

Create and automate a device reclamation framework 

In a nutshell, device reclamation is the process of reclaiming mobility assets, securing corporate data, and ultimately monetizing the capital expenditure of used, corporate mobile endpoints. What circumstances do you need to reclaim assets? For instance, it could mean that an employee is leaving, or it could include reclaiming damaged, lost or stolen devices, or a device upgrade. At brightfin, we believe device reclamation should be automated and centrally managed to alleviate the burden on IT, improve productivity, and to tighten security.

Here’s a breakdown of the reclamation workflow in more detail:

  • When possible, automate and alert end users – Companies should leverage automated emails or text messaging to promote devices and endpoints’ prompt return. If necessary, outline instructions in detail, including deadlines and shipping instructions, to allow for direct shipment. Or outline a procedure that includes drop-off locations, so the company can gather devices and ship in bulk to cut costs.
  • Responsible decommissioning – Responsible decommissioning involves ensuring that no personal or corporate data ever falls into the wrong hands once a device is reclaimed. It captures device details such as make/model, serial numbers, memory quality, SIM cards, accessories, etc. and then linking that information to the device ‘owner.’ By taking a visual inspection, managers can also determine the subsequent procedure to take from there. That may include submitting the device for repair, activating a warranty, adding to the ‘spare pool’ inventory, sending the device for resale or recycling, or submitting the asset for destruction.

Securing and responsibly destroying data on the device is also essential. It’s important to ‘wipe’ corporate information responsibly and collect a record of that process, such as a ‘data destruction’ certificate. If the device is eligible to be resold, taking these steps upfront will ensure the device reboots in factory reset mode.  In some cases, clearing data from the asset will also require more in-depth scrubbing procedures.

Managers should also remove the asset from any vendor management system, ie. Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and document that step. Building an audit trail into the decommissioning process will give companies peace of mind that devices won’t automatically re-enroll in vendor programs. These steps will also keep it from re-enrolling in the company’s Unified Endpoint Management program (UEM) inadvertently. Documentation across the device’s lifecycle, from staging and kitting to the ‘end of the road’ action for the device, ultimately improves the corporate assets’ accountability and preserves data integrity.

  • Wrap up with mobile disposition – Once the device goes through the thorough decommission process, IT teams can decide what additional steps are needed. Options during this phase usually include re-deploying devices, leveraging buyback programs, or recycling. Most industry insiders agree that it’s smart for companies to maintain a generous ‘spare pool’ of devices to help lower hardware costs and lower out-of-contract hardware purchases. It’s also important to consider ‘activation locks.’ Can those be removed? Being proactive and working with vendors to remove these locks can significantly increase the device’s worth. We find that current devices typically recoup between $45 and $65, and taking the right steps promptly will credit customers’ invoices each month.

Take a breath – then reclaim, reuse and recycle mobile devices 

Effective management of mobile assets is critical for companies looking to reduce their mobility spend, minimize security risks, and optimize remote worker productivity. By embracing device lifecycle management best practices and zeroing in on device reclamation, a business can get away from cumbersome workflows that can pile on security risks.

Do you have questions about device reclamation workflows? Need a plan that you can put into action fast?

At brightfin, we thrive on turning mobility issues into assets – simplifying the complexities of recovery, renewal, decommissioning, and disposition. Let our technology lifecycle management experts help you.