Migrating processes to the cloud had become one of the primary ways businesses streamlined operations, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the pace. 2022 has seen this trend continue, with Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud report noting that year-over-year cloud spending for small and medium-sized businesses has increased—from 38% of total revenue in 2021 to 53% in 2022.

Migrating print services to the cloud is oftentimes an afterthought, as print systems and hardware can be ingrained as perennial in-office solutions. But this transition is speeding up as well. 2021 research by Quocirca found that two-thirds of respondents expected to adopt cloud print management by 2025, and 39% had already done so.

If you’re considering migrating your printing to the cloud, you’ll know that not all services are created equal. To find out which offering is best for you, there are some key questions you need to ask before pulling the trigger.

8 Questions to Ask Before Moving Print to the Cloud

#1. What are the advantages of moving to the cloud?

This question is more something you should ask yourself before you move any of your processes to the cloud, but your print management solution provider should have a good idea of the answer. If they don’t, they may not be the best option.

For most companies, cloud migration can streamline business and make scalability and growth easier in a number of ways. First is cost savings—a cloud printing system, for example, eliminates the cost of print server hardware and the human hours needed to maintain them. Next, security is improved with cloud migration, especially when it comes to print services. Moving to the cloud can also improve employee flexibility and productivity, improve speed-to-market, reduce data loss, and encourage collaboration across different offices and locations.

#2. Do print jobs get moved to or stored in the cloud?

For some organizations, storing print jobs in the cloud may be a concern. This question gets to the heart of security, and it’s the first question any savvy IT department should ask. In fact, at Pharos, we entertain this question in every presentation or demo.

Print-at-Home and Pharos Direct Print jobs do not go into the cloud—they are sent directly to the printer via IPPS/IPP. Job metadata is collected, encrypted, and sent to Pharos Cloud for analytics, but administrators have control over what information gets collected at a regional level to adhere to local data privacy and data sovereignty requirements.

Pharos Secure Release jobs can be configured to be stored either on-premises or in the cloud. Pharos Cloud protects data with end-to-end encryption and encrypts any prints jobs at rest that are awaiting release to a secured printer, leveraging industry standards.

#3. How do you secure the platform and data?

Printers and print infrastructure have been used as an attack vector by hackers, so any cloud-based solution should have security as its highest priority.

Pharos Cloud was built with a relentless focus on security. The cloud-native platform eliminates print server vulnerabilities, protects data with end-to-end encryption, and supports zero trust security principles. The platform has received an A+ rating using the Qualys SSL server test and undergone extensive vulnerability testing and examination from GreyCastle, a top security firm. There’s a reason why some of the largest organizations in the world trust it.

Pharos Cloud is a true cloud platform built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deliver a safe and scalable web application experience, and Pharos exclusively uses Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers that have achieved an SSAE 16 audit and ISO 27001 security certification covering all IaaS infrastructure and facilities. Additionally, Pharos Cloud uses a tiered application structure to isolate data within the cloud. Pharos conducts periodic vulnerability assessments in all production environments and throughout the development process.

#4. What reporting is available?

Printing has long been a mysterious area for many businesses, and it can be one of the biggest uncontrolled expenses companies face. Can the cloud solution provide you with actionable insights that help you maintain an efficient multi-vendor print fleet and identify opportunities for cost savings through modern and intuitive dashboards that can be customized?

Pharos cloud printing offers a robust analytics and reporting system, providing clarity into the key metrics of your entire 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 optimize print and reduce costs.

#5. How does the solution support remote or hybrid workers?

One of the biggest advantages of migrating any system to the cloud is flexibility and supporting the mobility of your workforce. This is especially important now that the COVID-19 pandemic has made remote work widespread. Can the cloud solution enable your workforce to print wherever they work while providing you visibility, control and security?

Your cloud print provider should enable remote and hybrid employees to print wherever they work. All of this should be done with proper tracking and security in place.

Pharos Print-at-Home gives your remote workforce the ability to print from their work computers to personal printers on their home network, while giving you control and visibility over what’s being printed. Pharos Secure Release enables your hybrid workforce to submit prints from any network (i.e. home, company, cellular, public) and release them from any Pharos-secured printer on the company network.

#6. How does the solution improve productivity?

Part of the reason to migrate to the cloud is to improve efficiency and productivity, both for end users and IT. Besides eliminating print servers, how else will a solution reduce burden on your already-strained IT staff?

Not all cloud platforms are created equal. Pharos Cloud print solutions lessen the burden on IT by eliminating vendor driver management, automatically discovering devices, and auto-populating them in the cloud system. Pharos Cloud also reduces burden on IT with a self-service approach that enables employees to add print devices or invite guests/contractors to print without engaging IT.

#7. How does the solution reduce costs?

Not only should your cloud print management service streamline operations, but it should reduce your print costs as well. Well-designed cloud platforms should leverage your existing multi-vendor print fleet, provide actionable insights to maintain an efficient print fleet and quickly identify outliers, and enable you to create policies that restrict what employees can print and educate them on mindful printing habits

#8. How is the platform or offering going to position me for the future?

It’s clear that the future of business involves cloud solutions in a big way. Many traditional on-premises solutions are already out-of-date, and soon those solutions will become completely obsolete. You want to know that your cloud print provider is continually evolving and active, not just throwing you into an automated cloud du jour system that will itself grow stale as technology evolves.

Pharos has a clear vision for the future and a legacy of innovation. A regular cadence of updates introduces new innovations and capabilities such as Print-at-Home, touchless print release, guest printing, data privacy, and regional document storage to help you support your changing printing requirements. Pharos Cloud enables support for the office print environments of today and prepares for those of tomorrow.

Cloud Print Management with Pharos

For every question here, your cloud print management provider should not only have an answer, but have the best answer and be able to give you everything you need and more. From security to flexibility to enhanced productivity, migration to cloud printing should be a major improvement for your business. Pharos Cloud is a comprehensive, secure, and flexible cloud-native print management platform that will help you step into the future.

Pharos Cloud platform is comprised of the following products:

  • Pharos Insights provides the actionable intelligence you need to optimize your print environment and reduce costs.
  • Pharos Direct Printmigrates direct-to-print workflows into the cloud to streamline  your print environment by removing print servers and vendor driver management.
  • Pharos Print-at-Home provides visibility and control of your employees’ at-home printing—with or without VPN.
  • Pharos Secure Release enables employees to submit prints from across platforms, from any network, and to any Pharos-secured device on the company network. It prevents sensitive documents from being left unattended by requiring owner authentication to release the prints.

When you’re ready to take the next step and see just how beneficial migrating your printing to the cloud can be, contact Pharos and request a personalized demo of Pharos Cloud.