May 08 2024

What Device as a Service Offers State Government

Louisiana uses DaaS services to manage lifecycles, provision devices and mitigate cyberthreats.

State and local governments may deploy devices such as PCs and smartphones as part of an approach called Device as a Service.

In the past, organizations, including state and local agencies, focused on BYOD policies rather than issuing phones and tablets themselves. However, they soon realized that they needed to remove sensitive information from these devices and implement security controls, says Aaron Rose, security architect manager for vertical solutions at Check Point Software Technologies. Today, the DaaS concept involves procurement and management of devices, he says.

“DaaS is a subscription-based model that combines the provision of hardware devices with a suite of lifecycle management services, including enhanced cybersecurity measures, offered for a fixed monthly fee per device,” Rose says.

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“It’s full lifecycle management,” he says. Vendors provision devices, manage setup and deploy software. DaaS can also include cybersecurity protection and tech support, depending on the contract.

A key benefit of DaaS for state and local governments is that it is cost-effective. Pricing is simple and predictable.

“Predictable spending is key, especially with organizations that have fixed budgets,” Rose says.

DaaS Offers Telemetry and Predictive Analytics to Agencies

State and local governments can use the telemetry features of DaaS programs to make decisions on what devices employees need based on usage profiles. These include information on processors, memory and battery life, says Todd Gustafson, president of HP Federal.

“Those assets may get redeployed in the workforce through reconditioning. They look like they’re brand-new,” Gustafson says. “It works, and it works efficiently.”

Along with telemetry, DaaS programs can include dashboards with predictive analytics to help state and local governments determine how many assets they have, which ones are at risk and how many need to be refreshed, Gustafson says.

“It can give you a very consolidated way to manage the budgetary process and see what your risk profile looks like,” he says.

HP’s DaaS program, called Managed Device Services, focuses on a streamlined user experience in addition to device management.

“That’s a big change from a few years ago, when the industry was really steeped in DaaS financing and break-fix,” says Rebecca Campbell, vice president of channel managed solutions at HP. “Now it’s a whole gamut of defining, assessing, deploying and even doing security services up front, then coming around and managing the assets through the full lifecycle.”

LEARN MORE: Modern workspace management empowers remote workers.

How Does DaaS Benefit State Governments?

In Louisiana, the Office of Technology Services (OTS) uses a DaaS plan for end-user desktop hardware, says Louisiana CTO Jeremy Deal.

“It’s really a shift away from a traditional PC purchase and the deploy-and-support model that organizations have used for a really long time,” Deal says. “In the DaaS model, organizations are paying for a service that includes PC hardware, but it also includes all of the ongoing management and support that accompanies those hardware components.”

DaaS also covers order fulfillment, machine distribution, configuration, inventory management, decommissioning and asset recovery, Deal says.

Louisiana’s OTS serves as a managed service provider and an “ancillary agency” for the state’s executive branch, Deal says. While other states use third-party vendors to provide IT services, Louisiana handles such services internally through OTS. This includes DaaS, Deal says.

“We manage all of the end-user phones, computers and peripherals, plus all of the other network back-end infrastructure, security and application development,” Deal says.

Louisiana OTS runs the DaaS service like an order catalog, and state employees use a portal to choose the laptops, desktops, monitors and docking stations that work for their departments. OTS then fulfills the orders.

“We have these things in a rolling inventory,” he says. “We already know what devices are in our standards list, and we can pull them off the shelf and fulfill those things much more quickly.”

The state maintains standard configurations, and then agencies customize configurations based on their needs.

Todd Gustafson
Some states, depending upon the state, have unique situations on how they treat financing, and whether they can embrace leasing as an element versus a pure capital expenditure.”

Todd Gustafson President, HP Federal

How Can DaaS Help Navigate Emergencies or Upgrades?

During emergencies such as natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, DaaS has proved to be a helpful way to issue equipment to employees, Deal says.

During the pandemic, “we were able to pull equipment from the warehouse and get it distributed without having to go through an order that could be lengthy, especially when there were supply chain issues,” he recalls. “People were having trouble getting computers at that time.”

OTS delivers the equipment and manages the PC fleet.

In Louisiana, DaaS is an operational expenditure within the budget, similar to how companies pay for phone service, Deal explains.

Louisiana has benefited from DaaS because it has helped the state better manage when equipment must be replaced. For example, the state uses DaaS to manage upgrades to systems running Windows 11, he says.

“It’s also helped to mature our process in general because we’re replacing computers more frequently,” Deal says. “That means we’re replacing more quantity in a given year, so we had to improve our efficiency and our process on how these computers get out to the customer.”

DISCOVER: State and local agencies can make the transition to Windows 11.

How Does DaaS Compare to Equipment Leasing?

In Louisiana, OTS handles DaaS as well as equipment leasing, Deal says. Some leases include sanitization and asset recovery. However, the services are not end-to-end as they are with DaaS.

“DaaS adds in all of the management and support services that go with that hardware, so you have a full managed service delivery model,” he says.

Leasing is a component of DaaS and sometimes does go beyond hardware to include software and services.

“Some states, depending upon the state, have unique situations on how they treat financing, and whether they can embrace leasing as an element versus a pure capital expenditure,” Gustafson says.

READ MORE: Three tips for establishing an asset management program.

What Are DaaS Best Practices for State and Local Agencies?

Deal recommends that state and local agencies establish standards and “prebuilds” on hardware configurations that work well for an organization. State and local agencies should also have software libraries, which will help with more efficient use of DaaS. These operate like an app store, Deal says.

“Things like that really facilitate getting a customer back up and running on a new machine with as little touch as possible from a technician or a third party,” he says. “It positions you to benefit from this sort of model.”

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