How to Meet the Changing Needs of the Modern Workforce

The wholesale demise of the office HQ, which was predicted in the early days of the pandemic, turns out to have been greatly exaggerated. It’s true that work from home and remote work exploded, and many people decided to leave major cities. But new roles of a central workplace are emerging, and many people miss the connections and relationships that are formed in person at the office.  

Unsurprisingly, many employees are opting for flexible work arrangements where they split time between working from home and in the office. The growth in remote work and an increasingly hybrid workforce has resulted in a marked increase in the adoption of cloud technologies. From $8 billion in Q1 2016, global cloud infrastructure services spending has jumped to $49.4 billion as of Q3 2021. Research giant Gartner predicts that 2022 global cloud revenue will total $474 billion, a 16% increase from 2021’s $408 billion. 

Companies have become more open to the idea of employees working from home, while workers have recognized the value of coming into the office a few times a week to connect, network, and strategize. The office of the future feels more like a business center, where people come together to collaborate on specific projects for a set amount of time before returning to their remote offices.  

Understanding the Full Scope of the Hybrid Workforce

A hybrid workforce is more than just staff having the ability to work from home. Hybrid typically refers to three principal scenarios:   

  • Team members working from home or shared rented workspaces, or splitting time between the office and remote locations 
  • Use of mobile devices and technologies to connect and get work done 
  • Company employees working alongside contract/freelance workers and sharing access to technology 

All of these require thought and planning to enable efficient, effective workflows.  

Optimizing for Success

So what factors are critical to enabling a successful hybrid workforce?  

  • Productivity and employee engagement: Monitoring productivity is key to ensuring that teams don’t fall behind in this new mode of working. Fears around declines in productivity have subsided and been replaced by a fear that, in a hybrid environment, employees are getting burnt out without clear work-life boundaries and by Zoom fatigue. A poll on Blind, an anonymous professional network, found that a quarter of employees do other things and “zone out” during Zoom meetings. Employers concerned with increasing (or maintaining) employee engagement must monitor the health and engagement levels of their remote workforce and provide tools that will help them flourish.  
  • Job scheduling: This is another area where hybrid workforces need new, dynamic solutions. Managing a remote workforce so that employees understand priorities and jobs get done on time is a vital part of a hybrid workforce.  
  • Communication: Most hybrid workforce problems boil down to communication, and the companies with world-class communication tools and players are the ones positioned to thrive.  
  • Frictionless IT: As remote work evolves, traditional methods of engagement—face-to-face interactions, well-designed workspaces, and other in-person events are less prevalent. IT often becomes one of the main points of interaction employees have with the company, and their experience with IT becomes representative of the company overall. Ensuring a seamless employee experience with the tools required to do their jobs remotely will improve overall employee engagement and create a more successful hybrid workforce program. 

Managing Costs in a Hybrid Environment

A hybrid workforce can result in significant cost savings. Traditionally, print has been a large unmanaged cost. The pandemic has shifted employee printing behaviors significantly, and it stands to reason that print environments are probably not optimized for the ways that employees currently work. In a hybrid environment, employers should consider leveraging cloud print management to enable remote workforce printing, while ensuring information security, and controlling enterprise printing costs.  

The Office Is Not Immune to Change 

Companies tend to make the mistake of thinking that nothing has changed in-office. They imagine that employees have adapted to work at home and carry on as if they are in the office. In reality, habits and best practices that people enjoy at home are making their way into the office. 

One example is the increased use of mobile devices—both BYOD and corporate-supplied—to support everyday tasks, from reserving conference rooms or desks in a hoteling environment, communicating over chat, to releasing and managing print jobs.  

Another example is a heightened concern about interacting with various communal surfaces. People are wary of touching and using equipment that everyone else is using. Masha Kozinets, Pharos VP of Product and Strategy, explains that, ”As a result of the pandemic, people are not just staying at home and accelerating the whole remote work paradigm. It’s more than that. It changes in-office work, especially around the increased use of personal mobile devices in the office and the rise of ‘touchless printing’.”  

Touchless printing reduces the risk posed by high-touch surfaces, and simply means releasing documents at the printer without touching the print device, either by using a mobile app to scan a QR code or swiping a proximity card to release the submitted print job.  

Why Should Your Company Support Printing at Home?

When employees working at home or traveling on the road need to print, the issue of secure and efficient printing is one of the trickier ones to solve in this new work paradigm.  

A 2021 survey of employees at large companies by Pharos found that people who work from home want to print, and believe that the ability to print documents to mark up or read makes them more productive. Employers who want to create an engaged and productive workforce should support printing that reinforces those goals but does so in a way that mitigates security concerns and controls their costs—both in terms of materials and IT support.  

Once printing at home is supported, the biggest challenges employees face are the cost and a lack of clear guidelines on what can or cannot be printed. Additionally, some employees don’t have printers at home, or have older print devices that simply cannot handle large print volumes and are vulnerable to hacking. 

The best way to support secure printing from a home network is through a cloud-based print management solution. This can be done with on-premises solutions, but management typically requires a VPN connection. However, many companies are finding that VPNs are not suitable for widespread remote employees—they are expensive to run at scale and require significant resources. 

Managing Employees’ Print Abilities

Well-designed cloud print management solutions are built to meet the challenges of security, scalability, and high availability that hybrid workforces require.  

The evolving hybrid workplace has to contend with multiple challenges, including whether or not employees can print to their personal devices at home or if IT teams have visibility into what employees are printing to ensure security of at-home printers that aren’t protected like on a corporate network. Remote workers should have the ability to submit prints at home and release them in the office without having to map printers and deal with drivers, and IT should not have to support personal devices they’re not familiar with. 

The right cloud print management solutions can juggle complex functionality all at once. They are able to: 

  • Support, monitor, and control “print-from-anywhere to the office” 
  • Enable seamless transitions from home or remote environment to the main office location 
  • Enable intuitive printing from mobile devices 
  • Provide guests and contractors (non-Active Directory users) with controlled print abilities (specified users, specified printers, specified capabilities) 

Building systems that are intuitive and flexible—supporting different platforms and printer manufacturers—is essential in this new environment. Successful hybrid workplaces must emphasize flexibility and policies that attempt to guide and help employees meet expectations, as opposed to just being restrictions. 

Keeping Security a Top Priority

With the hybrid workforce accessing work solutions from various locations and devices, security risks have increased. For organizations to effectively manage threats, they need:  

  • Well-designed cloud platforms with a relentless focus on security 
  • To reduce the overall attack surface 
  • To protect data with end-to-end encryption 
  • To enable secure print workflows 
  • To support zero-trust security principles 

Without a means to centrally manage distributed printers and track and secure their output, printing typically gets out of control, leading to information security risks and runaway costs.   

Empowering Your Hybrid Workforce

Employees working permanently (or semi-permanently) at home expect similar levels of technical support as they have in the office, and habits that are formed in a remote setting tend to migrate into the office. As the workforce shifts to a hybrid approach, high-performing companies will adapt their support for remote workers and customize their in-office experience to match employee expectations—all in the name of improving employee engagement and productivity.   

To learn more about the ways you can empower your hybrid workforce with a secure cloud-based print management solution, get in touch with our experts for a personalized demo of Pharos Cloud. 

Pharos Release Expands Platform with Direct Print Capabilities

The Pharos Cloud platform is a fully-featured, cloud-native print management solution designed to help enterprise organizations eliminate infrastructure, enhance security of print workflows, gain insights to optimize enterprise printing, and enable employees with intuitive print workflows. The new release introduces two new licensable products—Pharos Direct Print, major feature enhancements that enable organizations to adhere to local data privacy and sovereignty requirements and reduce their printing costs, and a rebrand of the Beacon platform to better reflect its value.

Migrate Direct-to-Printer Workflows to the Cloud with Pharos Direct Print
Direct Print is a new licensable product enabling cloud-forward organizations with multi-vendor print fleets to migrate direct-to-printer workflows in the office to the cloud to eliminate print infrastructure and vendor driver management. Approved users print in a way they are familiar with—select the printer and the documents are released immediately to the selected printer on the company network, but the process behind the scenes is more secure and doesn’t require the complex IT overhead of traditional printing.
Pharos Direct Print:

  • Eliminates costly print servers by migrating print to the cloud
  • Drives IT productivity by eliminating the hassle of vendor print driver management
  • Provides a familiar and consistent way for users to print from Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS to all print devices—regardless of manufacturer
  • Enhances security by eliminating print server vulnerabilities and reducing attack vectors, securing print paths with end-to-end encryption, and supporting zero trust security principles

Adhere to Data Privacy and Data Sovereignty Requirements
As organizations become increasingly global, protecting sensitive data, ensuring it remains under the control of its owner, and complying with country-specific requirements have become greater concerns. The new Data Privacy capability enables organizations to adhere to their local data privacy and data sovereignty requirements—even for BYOD and guest printing—by controlling what data is collected and where it is stored. The platform provides 21 pre-created regions in the Management Console that correlate to secure AWS S3 repositories globally, and Administrators can:

  • Set Job Storage policy by region
  • Create data collection policy by region
  • Support Region switching within Print Scout

Reduce Printing Costs with Policy Print
For many companies, printing is often one of the largest uncontrolled expenses. The new release helps reduce printing costs by enforcing organizational print policies and educating users of mindful printing habits at the point of print submission. Policy Print is a new capability enabling Administrators to create and assign policies that limit capabilities that employees have access to for Direct PrintSecure Release including color, simplex/duplex, page count, document name, and connection type.
Customizable notifications:

  • Encourage more efficient options at the point of action (i.e. “Printing this document in color will cost about $7.50. You can reduce costs by over 80% if you cancel the job and resubmit it in black & white”)
  • Notify employees about company printing policies (i.e. “Documents should not be printed in color. Please make selections that are compatible with our policies.”)

Beacon is now Pharos Cloud
Coinciding with this release, Pharos is rebranding the Beacon Platform and its components to demonstrate our commitment to the cloud and enhance product recognition:

The new product names, as well as that of additional components, will be rolled out gradually in the software over the coming releases.

For a complete list of new features in this release, please refer to the Release Notes.

Pharos Cloud Release

New products from Pharos migrate direct-to-printer workflows to the cloud, and provide visibility and control over employees’ at-home printing.

Highlights:

  • New Pharos Direct Print eliminates print servers and migrates print infrastructure to the cloud
  • New Pharos Print-at-Home provides visibility and control over employees’ at-home printing
  • New capabilities enable organizations to reduce print costs and adhere to local data privacy and data sovereignty requirements
  • Pharos Beacon platform is now Pharos Cloud

WEST HENRIETTA, NY, March 16, 2022 – Pharos Systems International, a leading cloud services and technology company specializing in print management software and solutions, has expanded its cloud-based print management platform for large enterprises with Pharos Direct Print and Pharos Print-at-Home.

Pharos Direct Print enables organizations to migrate their in-office print infrastructure to the cloud and eliminate the hassle of vendor driver management. Employees print in a way they are familiar with—select the printer, and the documents are printed immediately—but in a way that enhances security and doesn’t require the complex IT administration associated with on-premises infrastructure.

Pharos Print-at-Home addresses the challenges companies face with their remote and hybrid workforces. Remote employees often print from their work computers to personal printers on their home network with little company oversight. Pharos Print-at-Home gives companies visibility and control over their employees’ at-home printing—with or without VPN. Pharos’ universal driver makes it easy for employees to discover and print securely to personal printers on their home network—regardless of manufacturer—and reduces Help Desk time supporting unfamiliar personal printers.

This latest release also enhances the print management capabilities of Pharos Cloud. New capabilities help global organizations adhere to local data privacy and data sovereignty requirements by managing what data is collected and where it is stored with a single tenant. In addition, the new Policy Print capability enables organizations to reduce printing costs by defining and enforcing company print policies.

“Pharos Direct Print and Pharos Print-at-Home complement the comprehensive print analytics of Pharos Insights and secure print workflows of Pharos Secure Release,” said Kevin Pickhardt, Chief Executive Officer, Pharos. “These new products and advanced print management capabilities position Pharos Cloud as the cloud-based print management solution of choice for large enterprises by addressing key printing challenges and enabling their entire workforce to print from wherever they are working—whether at home, in the office, or on the road.”

Coinciding with this release, Pharos is rebranding the Beacon platform and its products to demonstrate Pharos’ commitment to the cloud and enhance product recognition:

For more information about the latest products from Pharos, or to schedule a personalized demo of Pharos Direct Print and Print-at-Home, visit our website at pharos.com, or call us at 888-864-7768.

About Pharos
Pharos Systems International, a Certified B Corp, is a leading provider of print management software and services that meet the demands of a mobile and cloud-first world. Leading enterprises and educational institutions with complex printing requirements and multi-vendor print fleets rely on Pharos’ comprehensive solutions to optimize their office printing, reduce and recover print costs, enhance security, and enable their increasingly hybrid workforces with intuitive and convenient ways to print. Headquartered in West Henrietta, NY, Pharos has a proven track record of innovation, delivering customer ROI, and exceeding customer expectations since its founding in 1992.

How to Streamline IT Operations with Serverless Printing

COVID-19 didn’t start the revolution of distributed work and decentralized teams, but it did hasten its progression. In the post-pandemic world, remote work and highly digitized workflows are the norm, and that means efficiency is crucial to continued success.

IT managers have two important tasks when looking at upgrading systems. One is streamlining tasks for employees and for IT personnel. The other is improving security. The latter is especially critical for distributed teams because remote workflows introduce a whole new world of potential vulnerabilities.

With these goals in mind, moving to serverless printing is way to modernize and simplify IT operations.

What Is Serverless Printing?

Serverless printing is just that—printing that happens without traditional print servers, typically enabled by the cloud. Traditional on-premises print infrastructure relies on print servers to solve several problems in larger environments, including managing requests from many print users and the ongoing hassle of managing and updating print drivers on individual computers.

Print servers offer centralized print management and better control but are still inefficient and expensive to manage. Plus, print servers can pose a security risk.

Serverless printing provides a best-of-both-worlds solution, taking all the advantages of on-premises print servers to the next level while eliminating the disadvantages.

Read about Pharos Direct Print – serverless print workflows.

Serverless Printing Advantages

Well-designed cloud-based print management platforms provide a number of advantages over traditional print environments with print servers.

Eliminate Expensive Hardware

Print server hardware is expensive to buy and maintain. Serverless platforms eliminate the need for print servers and the ongoing maintenance they require.

Eliminate Driver Management

Managing print servers and print queues puts avoidable strain on IT personnel. Print driver management is one of the most onerous and time-consuming tasks for IT, and well-designed platforms make this unnecessary by eliminating vendor print driver management altogether.

Enhance Security

Print servers have proven vulnerable to attack and have become a major target for hackers to gain access to sensitive company resources. Recent breaches have made news, the infamous PrintNightmare being most prominent among them. Removing the need for a print server closes this security hole.

Improve Administrative Ability

A company-wide cloud printing solution means better flexibility, enhanced scalability, and more efficient administration. Web-based administration can manage entire print operations behind a single pane of glass, new devices can be discovered automatically and auto-populated into the platform, and updates can be automated so the entire office is up-to-date with the latest capabilities.

Support Mobile and Hybrid Workforces

Cloud printing solutions also better serve remote and hybrid workforces, allowing workers secure access to print services offsite. If an employee needs to send a print job to the office from home or print from one office to another, for example, cloud-based secure release workflows make this seamless.

Serverless Printing: The Now and Future of Enterprise Printing

There’s no going back to a pre-COVID workplace. While many employees will return to offices, some will not, and for everyone, the advantages of cloud solutions are clear. There’s no better example of this than office printing. Cloud-based print management solutions take the burden off IT personnel, provide unprecedented flexibility for employees, and reduce overhead for companies. It’s safe to say the future belongs in the cloud—but it’s already here in force.

If you’re ready to streamline your IT operations by moving your print queue off the old print server, contact Pharos today to request a demo of Pharos Cloud, our industry-leading cloud-based print management solution.

Citizens Bank slashes print costs 45% with Pharos Insights

For many organizations, office printing is often one of the largest uncontrolled expense categories. They don’t know the real cost of their enterprise-wide printing, or how it can be optimized to save money. That’s where solutions like Pharos’ cloud-based Pharos Insights comes can help. 

Beacon’s comprehensive print and fleet analytics provide clarity into the key metrics of your print environment, job-level details on how prints are being created, insights to maintain an efficient multi-vendor print fleet, and outliers that could be opportunities for cost savings. Its modern and intuitive dashboards help visualize the key metrics behind a single pane of glass, and allow administrators to drill down to individual devices, users, and print jobs—providing the actionable insights needed to reduce optimize print and reduce costs.    

There are opportunities for significant savings when the right strategy and technologies are used, as seen with Citizens Bank, a locally-owned and operated bank serving communities in East Tennessee. In 2018, Citizens Bank began focusing on driving operational efficiency by implementing technology to replace time-consuming, manual processes with digital, paperless workflows. Initial efforts provided immediate dividends by reducing Citizen Bank’s average monthly print volume. However, by early 2020 those improvements had started to plateau. To jumpstart efforts, Katerina Stevenson, VP of Process Improvement, began searching for a solution that could provide her with the actionable insights needed to reduce print costs and reliance on paper. Since implementing Pharos Insights in July 2020, Citizens Bank has been able to cut total monthly print volume, color printing and overall monthly print costs by 45% 

“We’ve been able to significantly cut down our printing costs and drive operational efficiency with the insights from Pharos Insights,” said Stevenson. “I’m able to quickly gain a thorough understanding of how print is being created at Citizens Bank so I can make informed decisions to drive positive and sustainable change.” 

To learn why Citizens Bank selected Pharos Insights and how it was used to help the community bank reduce monthly print costs by 45%, download the case study

Hope and Resilience: A New Years Message from our CEO

I wish a very Happy New Year to all of our partners, customers and friends on this first month of 2022!

As one year welcomes the next, millions of people are taking this time to reflect on the past year to assess what was and to envision the year ahead to make choices on what can be. So, I take this moment to share some of my thoughts with you.

Most anyone would describe 2021 as anything but a normal year. I heard one commentator referring to this past year as a ‘lost year’, but I believe 2021 challenged us to be more alive and more aware than most years. With so many unknowns between the pandemic, the impact of social distancing on work and life, the challenges of global supply shortages, the impacts of fires and natural disasters, unprecedented cybersecurity threats, and so much more sent our way, it is easy to feel lost and destabilized. However, the challenge to each of us has not changed. Each and every year, and each and every minute, our challenges are the same – to grow in resilience as individuals and a society. That is, to accept whatever life presents us and expand our ability to respond in the healthiest way possible.

I believe this is what it means to be human, to live a good and meaningful life. Any living being, individual, organization or society measures its health by its ability to adapt. Witness the adaptation of the virus to find ever new ways to accelerate its growth. We are no different, needing to assess the world as it is and choose actions that accelerate growth. This is why 2021 presented us so many opportunities to be more alive and more human than most years. It asked us to become more alert to changes around us and more adept at choosing healthy responses.

This is true for Pharos as well and how we serve in the world. While our customers’ fundamental needs changed little this past year – they still needed to create environments in which employees can work effectively and efficiently from wherever they may be, optimize the use of assets (the most valuable of which is time), and ensure a secure and safe work environment for their employees and customers they serve – the way those needs present themselves changed considerably.

The new hybrid workforce (working from home, the coffee shop and elsewhere) has become a longer-term reality, not the blip we once anticipated. This accelerated digital and cloud transformation from a vision of the future to today’s reality. Zero infrastructure and zero trust networks are becoming widespread – even mandatory in the Federal Government. There is more pressure than ever to act and adapt quickly and decisively.

In 2021, Pharos worked to support our customers facing these challenges. We significantly increased our investment in our safe, zero trust, global cloud printing infrastructure, enabling our customers to serve their end users better while reducing the time and cost burden on IT to manage the growing complexities of the new hybrid reality. We welcomed more clients to our cloud printing platform than in any other year, improving their employee experience and saving them time and money. We adapted our technologies to be zero touch so that employees can feel safe in shared workspaces. In short, we listened to the new problems that our clients are experiencing, and we adapted our services and technologies to meet them.

In a time of significant reductions in office printing, we experienced a strong year of growth serving our current clients. Printing may have declined, but as one client put it, printing remained a ‘dial-tone’ service that must be supplied to workers – even if in ever new ways.

Even as the omicron variant of COVID threatens renewed closures and worker shortages as we begin 2022, it also may usher in a final, and less severe, wave of infection. We will adapt – because that is what healthy species do. I look into the coming days with great optimism – because I look at the people around me, my Pharos colleagues, and those of you we serve and I see the hills we have climbed together. I know that there is no mountain too high for those committed to climb it.

Thank you for the faith you show in Pharos, and the choices you have made to make us part of your journey. We will, in 2022, strive every day to earn the great honor you do us by being a part of our journey.

We wish you health, happiness, faith, and resilience in this New Year!

Printing Trends to Monitor in 2022

2020 and 2021 changed the way people work around the globe and across industries, and printing is no exception. How much companies print—and why and from where—became very different, and the need for improved print workflow and flexibility became apparent.

2022 promises to be different yet again, but it’s unlikely that things will ever go back to pre-pandemic status. For one, hybrid and remote work are here to stay, and digitalization of processes has sped up dramatically in response to COVID-19.

While some offices are opening up and bringing employees back in, many are not, and most employees expect a hybrid remote/in-office situation in 2022. In fact, only 10% of American workers expect to be in the office full-time next year.

While increased numbers of remote employees have impacted the print industry, they haven’t eliminated it by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s likely that by December 2022, on-site print volumes won’t be far off from pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, the new landscape could present an exciting opportunity for organizations adopting cloud printingsince providers are well positioned to help streamline offices as they move into the future.

Trends to Monitor in 2022

A majority of workers who work from home now expect to be going back to the office in 2022—but only part-time. 56% of U.S. and 58% of European employees expect to be in a hybrid work situation by January 2022, which means an increase in on-site printing needs. Not to mention, print still plays an important role in workers’ at-home lives, both for work and personal reasons.

Much of what happens in 2022 will be determined by what happens with new COVID-19 variants, so companies need to be prepared for a shifting landscape. Security should be top of mind, and smart IT departments are investing in shoring up vulnerabilities in print equipment and networks. Meanwhile, managed print services are still maintaining traction.

With this in mind, consider some key trends, stats, and predictions to get a picture of what 2022 might look like:

1. Yes, 2020 and 2021 Saw Less Printing Overall, but It Is On the Rebound

It’s worth acknowledging that printing overall saw a drop in 2020 and 2021. Yale University released stats on its own printing needs in 2020 and found that from March to April 2020, there was a 90% decrease in costs associated with paper purchase and a 96% decrease in printing costs. However, office print volumes are expected to recover to 80% of pre-COVID output by December 2022. Meanwhile, home printing is expected to increase by 25% over pre-pandemic levels in that time.

2. Printing Is Still Preferred

55% of respondents in a print-from-home study conducted by Pharos said they’re more productive and retain information better when working with paper. Less than 20% preferred digital documents. This means printing is still important, and in general, printed materials are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

3. Business Printing Is Going Nowhere

According to Quocirca’s 2020 report on printer security, 77% of IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) in the U.S. and Europe believed printing would still be very important to their enterprise in 2021, even though COVID-19 radically changed the face of business interaction and set some employees on the path to permanent remote work. That 77% includes a significant group (29%) who considered printing as “critical” to their business’ success.

4. Demand for Cloud Services (Including Print) Will Continue to Rise

Companies continue to embrace cloud computing for a variety of IT services, and 34% of all organizations use the cloud for all their IT needs, with 70% of them planning to increase their budgets in the future. In fact, the cloud computing sector expects a CAGR of 17.5% between 2020 and 2025, bringing that market to $832 billion. Cloud-based print management stands to be a big part of that uptick.

In a study of 219 organizations conducted in January 2021, over 75% said they expect to adopt cloud print management by 2025, and 45% say cloud print management is a key consideration when choosing a managed print service provider.

At the same time, there’s room for growth here. According to Quocirca’s 2021 market landscape report, 21% of respondents are using cloud print services to manage more than 50% of the workload. This stands to increase in 2022.

5. Security Is Top of Mind

42% of respondents from a global survey say they’re already in the process of adopting a zero trust strategy. In total, 72% have either already adopted zero trust and security principles or plan to in the future. Security concerns were top priority even before the pandemic, but with so many workers working from home now, zero trust principles need to be top of mind, especially in printing, where security vulnerabilities are common.

In fact, 64% of IT Decision Makers in the above-referenced Quocirca report on printer security suffered print-related data loss in 2020, costing them an average of $1 million just from printer security failures. These losses were due to a conglomeration of factors, from malware to cyberattacks to improper disposal of printed material. Given the increased need for remote-ready operations, including the security risks this entails and losses already incurred, 78% of those same ITDMs surveyed planned to increase security spending in 2021. 2022 can be expected to look very similar in this regard.

6. Health Remains a Concern

Concerns over touching shared surfaces are likely here to stay. Perhaps because of these concerns, the gesture recognition and touchless sensing market is expected to grow by 22.6% to $37 billion by 2026. So touchless print release will remain an important innovation. Even academic institutions are getting in on touchless printing, with MIT announcing in February that touchless print release would be available for students returning to campus.

7. Print Analytics Will Be a Major Contributor to Success

As organizations look to keep up with the constantly changing post-pandemic landscape, robust analytics like Pharos’s Beacon Analytics help them understand how the pandemic has impacted their print office printing environment and adjust accordingly. Organizations will leverage actionable insights to identify outliers and cost savings opportunities. Businesses that take advantage of this data to optimize their print environment can remain efficient and ensure employees have the tools needed to stay productive.

9. Companies Are Embracing Managed Print Services

63% of the ITDMs surveyed in the print security report by Quocirca use managed print services, and according to the report, “a managed print service is fundamental to ensuring that an organization operates a secure and cost-efficient print infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, the managed print services market is expected to grow to over $50 billion by 2023 (up from $28 billion in 2016), with a CAGR of 8.5% between 2017 and 2023. Plenty believe this sector is primed for a comeback in 2022.

Specifically, managed service providers (MSPs) who are tailored to hybrid work environments, offering in-office solutions with robust security, stand to have the advantage in this new work paradigm.

Flexibility and Agility Will Define Printing in 2022

2022 promises to be an exciting year for business in general. Although the lingering COVID-19 pandemic isn’t showing signs of disappearing soon, companies and employees have learned a great deal about how to stay productive despite changing circumstances.

Printing, like all other industries, took a hit in 2020, scrambled to adjust in 2021, and now finds itself poised to enter a new era in 2022. The need for improved security, more ways to print regardless of location, and top-notch MSPs to help manage printing in a holistic fashion is clear.

So companies, employees, and print management providers will all have to remain flexible, agile, and innovative as 2022 plays out. Those players that can do this stand to come out ahead not only over the next year but also in the years to come.

Pharos is well positioned to help organizations be at the forefront of this new era. If you’re ready to find out how Pharos can help you adapt to the changing environment and become more resilient, contact us now for a demo of Beacon, Pharos’s innovative cloud-based print management solution.

Pharos Products and Log4j Exploit

December 15th Update: This blog post has been updated with new information as we learn more. For the latest information on Log4j impact on Pharos products and how we’re mitigating the risk of this exploit, please visit our Community Page

Background

Recently, a new zero-day vulnerability in the popular Java library Apache Log4j (CVE-2021-44228) was uncovered. This vulnerability allows attackers to inject arbitrary code in Log4j versions 2.0-2.14.1. This Java library is widely used by multiple closed and open source projects. 

This vulnerability is rated critical (CVSS severity level 10 out of 10), with immediate patching or mitigation recommended if affected, because it allows a possible Remote Code Execution when an attacker sends a malicious code string that gets logged by Log4j. That string allows the attacker to load Java onto a server and therefore take control. 

Impact of Apache Log4j Exploit on Pharos Products

After initial review, Pharos believes that Pharos customers are not impacted by the Log4j JNDI exploit.  

A non-customer facing cloud component used by Pharos was potentially susceptible to log4shell – specifically ElasticSearch, which is used by Pharos to log events across our infrastructure. We have applied patches to all production environments. In addition, Pharos has scanned all our logs and confirmed that no attempts were made to exploit this vulnerability.  

Pharos uses Java in our embedded solutions for some devices; however, the vulnerable library version is not used. 

For more detail and up-to-date information, please visit our technical page on this topic on our community site. If you have further questions, please reach out pharossecurityteam@pharos.com.

Blueprint 5.3 Update 5 now available!

We’re happy to announce the latest update to Blueprint Enterprise! Update 5 provides several enhancements that improve system management and user experience. Key enhancements with this release include:

Sentry Print Support for Additional Print Manufacturers: The latest release expands the print manufacturer support for Sentry Print to include Canon, Lexmark (FW 3-6), and Toshiba. Now, organizations can use Blueprint to secure and manage their Canon, Lexmark, and Toshiba devices within their multi-vendor print environment to:

  • Enhance security by controlling access to managed devices and require authentication at the device via proximity card or keyboard login to release prints
  • Provide employees with an intuitive and consistent Sentry Print experience to manage job lists and release documents at any Pharos-enabled device, with minimal training required

Secure Print Failover: If Print Scout is unable to contact the configured Collector, employees will still be able to print and retrieve their documents. Secure Print Failover enables employees to print directly to one of their last five printers without requiring authentication. Once the interruption has been resolved, normal secure printing is restored automatically.

Up-to-Date Printer Models: Updated print device information enables Administrators and Analysts to model data and obtain more accurate insight into their print environment and easily integrate new printer models with secure release. Data is now pulled from Pharos’ managed database, and Administrators will have the ability to update their fleet information quarterly.

Device Scout for Blueprint: Pharos is rolling out Device Scout to reduce the time required to deploy for Blueprint by improving fleet discovery time. Device Scout replaces Pharos Site monitor and continuously discovers new devices on the network, collects device-specific data such as meter, supply levels, and device status, and provides a migration path to cloud-based print management going forward.

For a complete list of new features in this release, please refer to the New Features Guide (PDF).

New Beacon Release Enhances System Management and User Experience!

We’re happy to announce the latest update to Beacon! The November 2021 update provides several enhancements that enhance system management, user experience and security. Key enhancements in this release include:  

Support for New Print Manufacturers

The latest release expands the print manufacturer support for Beacon Sentry Print. Now, organizations can use Beacon to secure and manage their Canon, Toshiba (available soon, pending certification), and Framework level 3 and 4 Lexmark devices within their multi-vendor print environment to:  

  • Enhance security by controlling access to managed devices and require authentication at the device via proximity card or keyboard login to release prints
  • Provide employees with an intuitive and consistent Sentry Print experience to manage job lists and release documents at any Pharos-enabled device, with minimal training required

Integration with Universal Print 

Universal Print is a Microsoft 365 cloud-based print infrastructure that simplifies office printing for IT administrators and employees by eliminating on-premises print servers and print driver management. If your organization is using Microsoft 365 in an Azure AD environment, Universal Print introduces a cloud-based print workflow.  

With this Beacon release, Sentry Print has been added to Microsoft’s Universal Print to enable secure print workflows, including end-to-end encryption. Beacon Sentry Print requires users to authenticate at a printer in order to release their documents, reducing the likelihood that sensitive information gets into the wrong hands, as well as waste from abandoned prints left at the printer. A single queue enables users to release prints via proximity card or passcode at any Pharos-enabled printer, regardless of manufacturer.  

Extended Support for macOS 

Updates to Print Scout support the Apple M1 CPU and introduce it as a “Universal” application optimized for performance on Apple’s M1 Macs. Print Scout now supports mac OS 10.14 ‘Mojave’, 10.15 ‘Catalina’, 11 ‘Big Sur’, and 12 ‘Monterey’.  

Expanded Support for Authentication to Home, 2nd swipe Logout and OpenID passcode authentication  

The previous Beacon release introduced several capabilities that helped improve user experience and enhance information security. The latest release expands these capabilities to an expanded set of MFPs.  

  • Authentication to Home enables approved users to access the default device home page (vs Pharos home page) and additional MFP features (copy/scan/fax) — and not just print—upon authentication. Authentication to Home is now enabled on Canon and Toshiba* MFPs, in addition to HP, Konica Minolta, Lexmark and Ricoh.
  • 2nd swipe Logout reduces the chance sensitive information gets into the wrong hands by immediately logging out with the swipe of a proximity card (vs time out or device UI). 2nd swipe logout has been expanded to Canon and Toshiba*  in addition to Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Ricoh, and Xerox.
  • OpenID passcode authentication provides an alternative way for users to authenticate at printers and release documents if their ID card is lost, damaged, or unavailable. Open ID Passcode support is now enabled on Canon, Toshiba*, and Xerox devices in addition to HP, Konica Minolta, and Lexmark.

For a complete list of new features in this release, please refer to the Release Notes

*Toshiba available soon, pending certification