Enterprise Print Management is Different

  1. What is Cloud Print Management?
  2. How to Reduce Enterprise Printing Costs
  3. Pharos Cloud: Print Management Software for Enterprise
  4. Secure Release Printing

Enterprise print management is different from small business printing environments, there are no two ways about it. The key differences include:

  • Thousands of employees printing
  • Hundreds of workstation variations
  • Dozens of printer models and manufacturers 
  • Offices spread across the globe
  • A fully-remote or hybrid workforce
  • Massive infrastructure to maintain
  • Cybersecurity and compliance requirements
  • Cost control mandates
  • Unique edge-cases that must be supported

Enterprise printing can be challenging for even the most experienced, well-staffed IT teams.  When IT teams have a gap in knowledge, or are slightly understaffed, this challenging situation may become unmanageable.

For the last 30 years, Pharos has worked with large organizations that manage complex print environments, and our software is used to reduce the complexity of these situations.

While there is no silver-bullet solution to print management, the right technology can alleviate many of these issues and give back to your team several hours of time each week, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars back to your budget, and take away many of the headaches faced by printing users and IT staff.

At Pharos, our goal is to be the most valuable resource for the print-related operations in your enterprise.  We strive to help you:

  • Reduce complexity in your print environment
  • Enhance security & compliance, and prevent data loss
  • Reduce IT burden and cut help-desk tickets
  • Make it easy for users to print
  • Reduce the cost of printing

In this article, we’ll outline the challenges faced by enterprise organizations and provide insights on how you can tackle these challenges.

What Makes Enterprise Printing Different?

Enterprise printing is different than an SMB print environment due to a variety of factors, including the need to support a large number of users and devices, the need to integrate with existing IT infrastructure, and the need to ensure security and compliance. 

Additionally, enterprise printing may involve the use of specialized equipment and software, such as high-volume printers and print servers, which can add complexity to the overall system. 

Furthermore, there is an increasing demand for mobile printing, print management and cost control, which can add complexity to the process.

Challenges Created by Complex Print Environments

IT Teams

  • Processes that don’t easily scale
  • Overinflated infrastructure
  • Complicated workflows
  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Too many print drivers
  • Help Desk Call mania

Finance Departments

  • Unmonitored printing costs
  • Non-essential printing
  • Over-purchasing consumables
  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Unnecessary infrastructure costs
  • Human capital mismanagement

End Users

  • Difficulty finding the correct printer
  • Installing and configuring print drivers
  • Need for rapid support
  • Incompatibility issues
  • Undue time spent and potential frustration

And One More Challenge: Mobile Printing

Mobile printing can make enterprise print environments more challenging because it adds an additional layer of complexity to the already complex process of managing and controlling printers. 

Compatibility issues can arise when users try to print from mobile devices to printers that are not specifically designed to support mobile printing, leading to errors, poor print quality and wasted time and resources. Security concerns can also be introduced as mobile printing can increase the risk of confidential information being intercepted during transmission. IT staff may have difficulty in identifying and resolving issues, updating drivers and firmware, and implementing security policies for mobile printing. 

User experience may also be affected as users may have trouble finding the correct printer or troubleshooting issues when trying to print from mobile devices, which can lead to frustration and decreased productivity. 

All in all, mobile printing can make it harder for IT staff to manage and monitor the print environment if they are not properly equipped with the right tools.

Business Impacts of a Complex Print Environment 

Productivity

Complex print environments cause IT teams to be less productive than they could be

Areas of ComplexityOpportunities to Simplify
Print Servers: Print server hardware is expensive to buy and time-consuming to maintain.Serverless Print Environment: Cloud-based serverless print environments eliminate the need for print servers and ongoing maintenance.
Print Drivers: Managing print drivers and print queues puts avoidable strain on IT personnel.Simplified Driver Management: Easily manage print drivers from all major manufacturers in a single application
Help Desk Call Mania: IT teams spend an egregious amount of time fielding print-related help desk calls.User Experience: Give users a universal print experience and allow them to add their own printers.
Decentralized Management: Manual, one-off processes that don’t scale and a lack of a singular point of control creates a time-sink for IT teams.Cloud Platform: Manage your entire print operation in a centralized manner, behind a single pane of glass.

Costs

Complex print environments cause enterprises to spend more on printing than they should.

Areas of ComplexityOpportunities to Simplify
Difficult to Monitor Costs: Mixed-fleet environments make it difficult to track printing activity, resulting in unmonitored costs and undue expenses.Fleet-wide Insights: Cloud-based print solutions allow you to track and visualize print activities and devices across the organization at-a-glance or in detail.
Uncontrolled Printing: Setting print policies for multi-office, multi-vendor environments is time-consuming and often overlooked.Easy-to-Administer Printing Policies: Change printing behavior by enforcing company print policies and educating users on mindful printing habits with technology.
Unnecessary Print Hardware: Print server hardware is costly to purchase and maintain.Serverless Print Environment: Cloud-based serverless print environments eliminate the need for print servers and ongoing maintenance.
Overpurchasing: Without first-party insight and an optimized operation, companies default to over purchasing hardware and consumables.Data-Driven Purchasing: When you can easily monitor your entire fleet, you can purchase devices and consumables based on usage data.
Time: Complicated print processes require extra time from users and admins – at enterprise scale, this time cost is extreme.Centralized Management: A cloud-based print environment simplifies management and print usage, giving back hours to your team each week.

Cybersecurity

Complex print environments are harder to secure, and too vulnerable to tolerate.

Areas of ComplexityOpportunities to Simplify
Inherent Vulnerabilities: Print queues are created as shared resources in a traditional Windows environment, opening the entire network to unnecessary risks. If a print server is compromised, the attacker can piggyback on the print drivers to access client systems.Work with out, not a work-around: Cloud-based print management solution eliminates the need for print servers and shared print queues.
Document Security: When documents can be printed without authentication at the print device, anything can left sitting around for anyone to read.Secure Pull Printing: Cloud print environments make it simple to require authorization at the print device before jobs are released.
Almost Zero Security: From the devices themselves to the network infrastructure and risk of human error, traditional enterprise print environments are susceptible to risks that often fly under the radar.Zero Trust Principles: Cloud print environments allow you to follow core tenets of zero-trust security principles

Hybrid Workforce Support

Complex print environments can cause help-desk mania in hybrid workforces.

Areas of ComplexityOpportunities to Simplify
It’s too hard for users: Work-from-home only further complicates print troubleshooting, leading to a discouraging amount of print-related helpdesk calls. Enable employees: Enable employees with a modern software tool so they can manage their own print experience with ease.
Uncontrolled printing: From costs, to compliance issues, at home printing exposes companies with old school print environments to an array of risks.Centralized management: Cloud print software helps companies monitor at-home printing activity, and visualize key metrics in order to control costs and prevent security issues.

Taking a Centralized Approach to Print Optimization

A centralized approach to print management involves the use of a single, centralized print management platform to manage and control all of the printers within an organization. 

This approach allows IT staff to manage and monitor all of the printers from a single location, making it easier to identify and resolve issues, update drivers and firmware, and implement security policies.

This is different from a decentralized approach, where printers are managed and controlled locally, with little or no central oversight. In this approach, users typically connect directly to the printer, and IT staff may have difficulty identifying and resolving issues, updating drivers and firmware, and implementing security policies.

A decentralized approach is also less efficient and less secure than a centralized approach. It can lead to issues such as unproductive printing, lack of standardization, and security vulnerabilities. In a decentralized approach, IT staff may need to manage and monitor each printer individually, which can be time-consuming and can lead to inconsistencies.

How to Reduce Complexity in an Enterprise Print Environment

No hacks, no tricks – simplifying print management takes strategy, hard work and persistence.  In our experience over the last 30 years, the juice is well worth the squeeze.

There’s always room for innovation, and while this list is not exhaustive, here is what many of our customers do to reduce complexity in their print environments.

Centralized Print Management

As previously discussed, taking a centralized approach to print management can help you more easily monitor and control your print environment behind a single pane of glass.  From setting printer policies and authentication requirements, to monitoring toner and costs, fleet utilization and energy consumption, centralizing print management allows you to do more with less.

Implementing a Print Management Software

One example of a centralized approach to print is implementing a print management software. Software like Pharos Cloud can help you automate many of the tasks associated with print management, such as tracking print usage, enforcing security policies, and controlling costs.  It can also alert you of unsecured printers, cost outliers, and technical issues.

Utilizing Cloud-based Printing Solutions

Like so many applications, print management software is now more commonly deployed in a true cloud setting.  In addition to the benefits mentioned above, utilizing a cloud-based print management software will allow you to remove much of the print infrastructure that requires ongoing maintenance (print servers, print drivers).  For more benefits of cloud printing software, see this article. 

Standardizing on a Few Types of Printers and MFDs

While this takes time and planning, and may be significantly impacted by existing leases or contracts with print manufacturers, reducing your fleet to a limited number of printer models can help to reduce complexity by making it easier to manage and maintain the printers and any troubleshooting that will inevitably arise.

Regularly Reviewing and Consolidating Print Infrastructure

Regularly reviewing and consolidating print infrastructure can help to identify and eliminate unnecessary or redundant components, reducing complexity and costs.  This became especially apparent after many companies adopted a hybrid or remote workplace policy – whereas 5 years ago, an entire office could be filled with printing employees, today we might see a half-full office with a stockpile of underutilized printers. Taking a proactive approach to infrastructure consolidation can help remove complexity in the long-run.

Complexity is Our Enemy Too

In our 30 years experience helping large organizations optimize their print environments, we take tackling complexity personally.  Our long list of customers view us as a partner in their optimization plans as much as a software vendor – and that is the way we prefer it.  By combining our print management expertise with your unique knowledge of your business, IT environment and users’ needs, the complexities of print can be significantly reduced.

As you evaluate your current print environment, don’t hesitate to call on Pharos to leverage our decades of experience and deep expertise.  

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