New Pharos Cloud Release Enhances IT and User Productivity

We’re happy to announce the latest release of Pharos Cloud, the proven cloud-based print management solution with the proven reliability, scalability and security required by the largest organizations. ​Pharos Cloud is designed to help organizations eliminate infrastructure to drive IT productivity, reduce printing costs, enhance security, and enable employees with convenient and intuitive printing—and the latest release is no exception. Key enhancements with this release include:   

Delegate printing for Pharos Secure Release 

Delegate Printing improves user convenience by enabling users to print documents on behalf of someone else for Secure Release workflows. A user can nominate other users (known as delegates) to release their jobs from any Pharos-secured device. For example, a Manager can ask their Assistant—or a remote employee can request a colleague that’s in the office—to print documents on their behalf. 

Enhancements to the MS Universal Print integration for Pharos Secure Release 

The November release of Pharos Cloud introduced integration with Microsoft’s Universal Print (MSUP) to enable secure print workflows for organizations utilizing the Microsoft 365 cloud-based print infrastructure. This month’s release enhances usability by adding finishing options (stapling, folding, booklet, and reverse-order duplexing) to MSUP print jobs.  

Group assignments for Pharos Direct Print Direct Print 

The previous release of Pharos Cloud introduced Pharos Direct Print, which enabled organizations to migrate their direct-to-printer workflows to the cloud. The latest release improves IT productivity by providing Administrators the capability to efficiently manage access to direct printers by enabling or disabling the ability of specific groups of users to find and add direct printers.  

Policy Print Reporting for Pharos Insights 

The previous release of Pharos Cloud also introduced Policy Print capability, which enables organizations to reduce printing costs by enforcing company print policies and educating users of mindful printing habits at the point of print submission. Policy Print supports Pharos Secure Release, Pharos Direct Print. This month’s release provides visibility into the cost savings organizations have achieved with Policy Print by including job data on cancelled or aborted jobs in Pharos Insights for reporting. 

Delete Button in Device Inventory tab 

A new “Delete” button allows Administrators to delete a Print device from their device inventory instead of requiring a Pharos representative to remove the device. A device must first be marked as “Out of Service” in order to be deleted. 

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

Now available: Blueprint Enterprise 5.3 Update 7 Release!

We’re happy to announce the latest update to Blueprint Enterprise! Blueprint Enterprise is the premier on-premises print management platform for corporate enterprises, helping deliver cost savings, waste reduction, and enhanced security while managing an organization’s multi-vendor printer fleet. ​Update 7 provides enhancements that improve the user experience and security of Blueprint. Key enhancements with this release include:

Customized Sentry Print experience

Blueprint’s Sentry Print application embeds within multifunction printers to provide a common UI and consistent user experience across supported MFP models, regardless of printer manufacturer. The application operates as a layered interface above the printer manufacturer’s interface to provide print release and copy services. A consistent look-and-feel and user experience across all devices helps organizations with multi-vendor printer fleets to reduce the training required for employees. The new Blueprint release enables organizations to customize the Sentry Print UI to match the look and feel of your organization by updating the default logon screen with your company logo, colors, and custom text labels. A new UI mode allows administrators to control the user interface shown at a secured MFP and choose between the standard Sentry Print screen, MFP home screen, or automatically release documents via touchless printing.

Set pin code Expiry interval

To combat the rise in security threats and help keep their data safe, many organizations have adopted policies requiring employees to change their passwords regularly. When pin codes are used, the new Blueprint release helps enhance security by enabling Administrators to set a pin code expiry interval, between 15-365 days, requiring users to regularly reset their pin codes. When a pin code is within 7 days of expiring, users are alerted via customizable email that includes a link for them to easily update to a new pin code.

Improved monitoring

To improve system monitoring and the supportability of Blueprint, Device Scout has been added to the list of services checked by the Windows Service Health Test. If Device Scout is not installed on the system, the test will pass.

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

Migrating Your Printing to the Cloud: 8 Questions to Ask

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 benefits 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.

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 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.

From On-Premises Print Infrastructure to the Cloud: What to Expect

Traditional, on-premises print infrastructure has always been somewhat cumbersome and time-consuming to maintain, and recent technological developments have further underscored the need for a more convenient and reliable solution. Both digital transformation and the need for more secure platforms have driven companies to transition printing to the cloud. But after you decide to make the shift, what should you expect? 

Read on to learn what you can expect as you move from an on-prem print infrastructure to the cloud. 

What to Expect When Moving Print to the Cloud 

When moving print management to the cloud, you can expect considerable benefits stemming from: 

  • Eliminating print infrastructure
  • Gaining visibility into your entire print environment
  • Driving IT productivity
  • Supporting remote and hybrid users
  • Enhancing security

Elimination of Print Infrastructure and Fast Deployment 

One of the biggest changes involved when transitioning from on-premises to the cloud is the elimination of print servers. With a traditional print server, you shoulder the costs of hardware and software, as well as the resources required to support their maintenance and operation. Servers come with costs and management issues and are time-consuming for IT to maintain and update. With a cloud-based platform, you eliminate the upfront costs and time spent maintaining and upgrading them. In addition, because there’s less reliance on on-premises hardware, deploying cloud solutions is generally faster. 

Visibility Into Your Entire Print Environment 

A cloud-based platform enables you to easily centralize print operations. When print is decentralized, you don’t have visibility or insight into all the printing that’s occurring across the enterprise. This means you have no idea of the true print costs, what devices are under- or overutilized, who the individual and department outliers are in terms of costs, or what’s the best way to maintain an efficient fleet. With a cloud print management solution, you can easily and quickly discover print devices and gain visibility across your organization to gain the actionable intelligence needed to maintain an efficient fleet and reduce printing costs. 

For example, you could leverage the print data you collect to: 

  • Gain instant insight into high-level key print metrics and track to custom targets for your entire organization
  • Spend less time recording meter reads and more time focusing on preventative action
  • Monitor device volumes and utilization trends to recognize changes in your print environment
  • Explore top cost outliers (users, departments, and applications) to identify opportunities to automate workflows or reduce unnecessary expenses

Increased IT Productivity 

Well-designed cloud platforms not only eliminate print infrastructure, they’re also designed to be intuitive and easy-to-use—reducing the burden on your already strained IT staff. Cloud-based platforms enable administrators to manage their entire print operations from a web browser to easily secure printers, create and manage print policies, monitor fleet status, and view comprehensive analytics. 

In addition, well-designed systems eliminate the time-consuming hassle of vendor driver management with a “universal” print driver. With only a single package that supports thousands of printer models across all manufacturers—from low-volume printers to high-volume, multifunction devices, these systems require only a fraction of the administrative overhead of traditional driver management, simplify printing for employees with a common user interface, and reduce troubleshooting vectors for Help Desk staff.   

Support Remote and Hybrid Users  

The global pandemic changed the way people work. Migrating print to the cloud allows organizations to better support their increasingly mobile and remote workforce. A well-designed cloud platform will allow organizations to support remote employees and hybrid workforce with the ability to submit print jobs from any network (even their mobile devices) and print them at any secured printer on the company network. 

Enhanced Security 

The increasingly remote workforce and the recent PrintNightmare vulnerabilities have highlighted the importance of including print as part of an organization’s overall security strategy. Well-designed cloud platforms are designed with a relentless focus on security and don’t rely on common attack vectors including print servers and insecure protocols (RAW and LPR printing), protect data with end-to-end encryption, improve document security with secure release workflows, and support zero trust security principles. 

Reduced Printing Costs 

Migrating your print infrastructure to the cloud enables your organization to considerably save on costs. For example, you can conserve funds by: 

  • Eliminating costly print servers: Print servers also come with soft costs such as time spent managing hardware and software, electricity costs, data security costs, and physical storage costs.
  • Eliminating the need to buy new printers: Well-designed cloud solutions support multi-vendor print fleets, so you can leverage your existing print fleet. Even if you change printer manufacturers, you don’t need to switch print management platforms.
  • Leveraging print analytics: Using comprehensive analytics, you can discover ways to identify under/overutilized printers to drive efficiency in your printer fleet, and view job-level details to discover cost outliers and opportunities for workflow automation.
  • Creating and enforcing print policies: Well-designed cloud platforms will enable administrators to create and enforce company print policies (i.e. restrict color printing or local printing) and educate users of mindful printing habits (i.e. notification that suggests printing 2-sided or notifying if the document exceeds X pages) at the point of print submission to reduce printing costs.

Cloud Print Infrastructure 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 Print migrates direct-to-print workflows into the cloud to streamline  your print environment by removing print servers and vendor driver management.
  • 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.

Why Printing is Important for High-Performing Teams

In an era where hybrid workforces, digitization, and efficient processes rule the business landscape, high-performing teams need to keep up with the latest innovations to stay competitive and keep their edge.

To some, this may mean a reduction or even an end to paper-intensive workflows. While some processes have proven they don’t need to exist on paper anymore, the truth is more complex. It turns out that smart use of printed documents in the workplace is one way high-performing teams outperform their peers.

One common misconception of office printing is that it’s primarily driven by printing emails, presentations, and other documents that would otherwise be left on the screen. This perception is both incomplete and inaccurate. In fact, high-performance teams and highly-productive individuals print documents strategically in a number of ways.

Paper vs. Digital: Why Printed Material Is Better for Comprehension

Over the past decade, much of what was traditionally read on paper has migrated to the digital realm. As companies have gone more and more digital, research has explored the impact this has had on how well material is retained— and the results favor printed material.

Details Are Better Retained with Printed Material

Printed material is easier to comprehend and retain than digital text. For short content that’s not as critical, like emails, this may not matter. But as material gets longer and more complex, detailed retention and understanding becomes crucial. For this type of material, says Anne Mangen, a literacy professor at the University of Stavanger in Norway, “digital reading impairs comprehension.”

Support for this hypothesis came from a 2016 study by Lauren Singer-Trakhman and Patricia Alexander, professors at the University of Maryland, College Park. Students’ understanding of the main point of a piece of reading material didn’t vary much between print and digital formats, but they missed important details and supporting information when reading on a screen.

The exact causes of this are still debated and likely include a confluence of factors, but one explanation is “shallowing”, a hypothesis that says consistent exposure to fast-paced, digital media teaches the brain to process screen-based information quickly and with less depth, according to Naomi S. Baron, professor of Linguistics Emerita at American University.

More Evidence That Comprehension Is Better with Printed Material

Other research has uncovered additional evidence of this, including:

In addition to the advantages printed material gives for comprehension of complex material, studies have also shown hand-written notes to be superior to typing when it comes to retention.

Key Considerations for Printing from Home

Although remote work has proven that some things are better left in the digital realm, printing is still a necessity in many high-functioning workflows. In some cases, printing is necessary to stay in compliance with regulatory mandates or other requirements. Some marketing materials—brochures, printed reports, presentations—need to be printed to be distributed. Training materials, manuals, point-of-sale material, posters, and product inserts are all types of content that often need to be printed.

Print Insights for Streamlining Operations

Print Insights also plays a major role in making sure employees are able to print efficiently. Analyzing usage with complete data means a better understanding of what’s being printed, why it’s being printed, and by whom—to quickly identify outliers and cost-savings opportunities. One company may find it cost-effective to provide materials like paper and ink cartridges to remote workers, and another may find it works better to print everything in-house. Considering all factors—usage, materials expense, time, and security—is key to making the right decisions.

Crucial Considerations When Printing in the Office

Printing Won’t Go Away

The idea of a paperless office has been around for at least 45 years. It was first described in a 1975 Business Week article titled “The Office of the Future,” which also predicted paperless offices by 1990. Of course, this did not come to pass. The fact is that print remains a necessary “dial tone” service for companies in many industries.

The 2003 book from MIT Press, The Myth of the Paperless Office, may be the most authoritative description of why paper is so sticky—people actually like using it to get work done.

There’s No Substitute for Printing

Some printed matter can never be replaced. Even in marketing, savvy marketers are finding that print materials such as flyers or posters can be more effective in getting attention and eliciting response than their digital counterparts. In a recent study from September 2021, researchers found stronger encoding and engagement for print ads over digital ads, as well as better memory retention. To that point, print ads can enhance the effectiveness of other forms of advertising.

Not to mention, print media is trusted over digital content across many demographics. Whether it’s an ad or a news article, studies continually find that consumers trust printed material over digital and online content.

Printing Works in Pre-Sale and is Needed Post-Sale

As the value of printed material from brochures to flyers to posters to direct mail remains high, so does the necessity for printed material post-sale. Manuals must accompany many products, from appliances to equipment to furniture. Training sessions need texts and workbooks.

Compliance and Regulations Often Require Printing

In addition, some material must be printed and stored to be in compliance with regulations. State organizations, for example, often require paper documents and forms or hard copies of licenses and other credentials. State agencies are often required to serve respondents with physical documents, and in some instances follow up via mail.

Understanding what needs printing and why is just one of many ways that high-performing teams excel in their job functions. Doing this efficiently is what puts them ahead of everyone else, which is why print management solutions are cementing their reputation as a workplace necessity.

High-Performing Teams Need High-Performing Print Tools

The role that printing continues to play in a highly digitized work environment cannot be overstated. Although this role is likely to diminish in the long run, it will not go away completely. Teams need to understand how printed material fits into their company’s overall master plan and how to best get the job done cost-efficiently.

This means high-performing teams need to keep up with ever-evolving trends and continue digitization and decentralization, and printing can’t linger in the past any more than other processes.

The tools great teams need for printing—all while staying efficient, under budget, and secure—are available and ready to help move printing into the future. If your team is ready to level up and take control of printing in the digital age, contact Pharos for a personalized demo of Pharos Cloud, our innovative, cloud-based print management solution.

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.

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.