Despite the growing popularity of digital documents, printing is still an essential element of business: The global printing industry is poised to reach $874 billion by 2024.
But as the demand for printing grows, is it possible for the time and effort required to manage printing to shrink? Print management typically consumes vast amounts of energy from network administrators and the users who print. But by moving your print infrastructure to the cloud, you can greatly reduce the work needed to support your organization’s printing processes.
Benefits of a Cloud Print Infrastructure
After COVID, people started moving to the cloud and saw benefits such as:
- Increased reliability
- Cost savings
- Reduced IT burden
- Flexibility and scalability
- Improved productivity
- Easy access to new functionality that can be quickly implemented across your organization or for a limited segment of users
- Support for virtual computing environments
- Secure workflows that can be either on-premises or in the cloud
While these benefits alone have been compelling enough to motivate many to switch to a cloud printing infrastructure, there are others that can have an equally significant impact on the workflows of your organization.
Unexpected Benefits of a Well-Designed Cloud Print Management Platform
Some of the unexpected benefits of a cloud print platform include:
- The ability to drive productivity by eliminating vendor driver management
- Enhanced security
- A more intuitive and consistent user experience
- Reduced costs through enforcement of printing policies
- Convenient remote workforce support
- Actionable insights through robust reporting and analytics
- Easier adherence to local data privacy and sovereignty requirements
#1 Drive Productivity by Eliminating Vendor Driver Management
Managing the many print drivers from a range of vendors is a common time sink for administrators. Updating print drivers and troubleshooting driver issues requires a significant investment of human resources. Also, employees often need help right away, particularly when there’s a pressing printing issue.
With a universal print driver, you have one driver that’s compatible with a range of printers—in turn, you reduce the time spent updating drivers, addressing vendor driver issues, and handling patches vendors release to address functionality or security issues.
#2 Enhance Cybersecurity
A traditional print server environment can expose your organization to significant security risks, such as malware spreading throughout your network via your print server system. While this may happen because a hacker specifically orchestrated an insider attack, employees can accidentally create vulnerabilities, allowing an attacker to infiltrate the network.
However, with a cloud print management platform, you eliminate the need for an on-premises print server. While no system is without risks, closing the door on hackers seeking to exploit a legacy print server significantly improves your cybersecurity posture. For example, some print servers can be accessed via the internet, enabling hackers to alter settings.
In addition, you can reduce the chances of sensitive documents getting left at the printer where unauthorized people can see them. With pull printing, the job gets sent from a device but is only printed after someone presents credentials at the printer.
With the cloud, you also get end-to-end data encryption. With this feature, even if a hacker successfully intercepts your information, they wouldn’t be able to decipher it without the digital key to decode data.
#3 Reduce IT Burden
A cloud print management solution reduces the amount of work your IT team has to do by centralizing a range of operations and workflows. Your IT department gets a single console to gain visibility into your entire print infrastructure. Also, because the system is web-based, your team can access your dashboard no matter where they are, as long as they have an internet connection.
The right cloud print management solution is intuitive and simple to use. Because it provides a logical, efficient digital workspace for authorized users, it’s easier for your IT team to move from one issue to the next. This cuts down on the amount of time and mental bandwidth they have to expend on a daily basis.
For example, on a single screen, your IT team can get a snapshot of the printers in use, the kind of printing being done, the devices that need their attention, current usage statistics, and the percentage of secured versus unsecured devices. This information can be used to troubleshoot issues and predict potential problems that may arise down the road.
#4 Intuitive and Consistent User Experience Across Platforms
Switching from one interface to another can get confusing, but with a cloud print management system, you can enjoy a consistent experience across various platforms, whether you’re using Mac, Windows, or Linux.
In addition, because you don’t have to identify different drivers based on the operating system, you can implement solutions in less time. Also, for administrators, there’s no need to adjust your troubleshooting procedures as you go from one platform to another.
#5 Lower Costs Through Enforced Printing Policies
With a cloud print management solution, you get granular control over a number of printer settings. For example, you can make it necessary that everyone prints on both sides of the paper, effectively cutting your paper expenses by as much as half. If some teams need to occasionally print on one side, changing the settings takes a matter of moments.
Also, you can dictate who, if anyone, is allowed to print in color. This can save significant money on expensive color toner. You also get the flexibility needed to adjust policies based on different office locations, allowing you to more easily optimize your print budget across the enterprise.
#6 Support Your Remote Workforce
It’s quick and easy to add remote workers to your print infrastructure if you have a cloud print management system. Instead of manually connecting to an on-premises print server, remote employees can log in and connect through the cloud solution. It’s also easier to meet the needs of your remote workforce. Additionally, a cloud-based system empowers IT to configure the most effective print settings for remote teams based on their workflows, saving time, preventing frustration, and boosting operational efficiency.
#7 Gain Actionable Insights Through Robust Reporting and Analytics
The reporting and analytics features of a cloud print management system give you a distinct edge when it comes to monitoring performance as well as cost. The centralized dashboard lets you see, at a glance, the metrics that can help you address potential problems as well as fine-tune your overall print environment.
For example, with Pharos Insights’ central dashboard, you can see your print operating costs, the number of pages printed, your environmental impact based on paper use, the number of users, device manufacturers, and different models. You can also see metrics regarding the number of color prints and single-sided versus double-sided volume. If certain employees are printing more than normal, these can be designated as outliers and the system can flag their activity.
You can also see graphs representing overall usage over time. Using this data, you can correlate printing activity with other business functions and discover both trends and opportunities to further optimize print performance.
#8 Adhere to Local Data Privacy and Sovereignty Requirements
Data privacy laws have become more and more stringent in recent years, and while some industries are more directly impacted than others, virtually all companies have to be careful regarding which eyes see which documents. In addition, organizations may have internal data privacy protocols or concerns.
A cloud print management system that supports global data privacy and sovereignty policies makes it easy to manage either external or internal data security rules. This is because you don’t have to set up a separate cloud instance to meet data privacy or sovereignty requirements. In this way, it’s easier to conform to the regulations in your area, as well as adjust them as necessary.
Maximizing Cloud Print Advantages With Pharos
With Pharos Cloud, you get a bevy of features that make it easy to take advantage of all the benefits of cloud print management. Pharos provides you with cloud print analytics, interactive dashboards, touchless printing, end-to-end encryption, and the freedom to submit prints from anywhere. In addition, you get automatic updates, web-based administration, and end-to-end encryption to enhance security.
To see how Pharos Cloud can elevate your organization’s print management experience, request a personalized demo today.