Your Office Printing Is in the Cloud
By Matthew Baston | August 13, 2019
Every IT manager wants their internal printing operations to be secure, cost-effective, and user-friendly. One technology achieves all of these things, along with an impressively quick positive ROI: pull printing.
You’re probably familiar with the concept. Instead of “pushing” print jobs directly to specific devices where they are too often left lying around or forgotten completely, pull printing software enforces employee authentication at the device. People submit their print jobs the same as they always have, from Office apps or browsers or any other applications.
However, documents are held in a secure virtual queue until the user walks up to any convenient printer on the network to log in and “pull” their documents.
This authentication step is usually achieved with the simple tap of a proximity card, often the same ID card employees use to access the building. For many years, secure pull printing software has been a critical component of corporate security strategy and cost reduction initiatives.
In fact, secure pull printing delivers such a fast ROI that many Managed Print Services (MPS) providers report it as the most requested offering in their portfolio.
Print Joins the SaaS Revolution
Historically, pull printing has been deployed on-site, installed on the internal corporate network and managed by internal IT staff and/or expensive MPS. This is changing.
As IT managers increasingly move their specialized services to the cloud, office printing has recently become a priority. When you realize you can use cloud services to quickly secure your print environment, eliminate print servers and minimize your print queues and drivers, you tend to want to act fast.
Deploying secure printing solutions on-premises remains important to many companies, and we specialize in servicing large, complex organizations. However, IT managers increasingly see outsourced services as their best option. At the very least, they understand that the decision to go with cloud-based printing services is a matter of when, not if.
This is why I chose the title “Your Office Printing Is in the Cloud.” It’s either there already or it will be eventually. Whether that’s next year or three years from now or five, that’s where it’s headed.
Think about the many reasons why the SaaS model makes sense for internal printing: What used to require a multi-day installation and deployment process involving server provisioning, high availability planning and coordination with various internal departments can now be reduced to a few hours at most. Then you have all the traditional benefits of cloud services:
- Minimal up-front investment
- Subscription pricing
- Automatic software updates
- Effortless scalability
- No infrastructure or databases to manage
- Simple configuration and little to zero maintenance
- Unmatched data security
It’s more than just cloud-based secure pull printing. The print-as-a-service model gives business managers and IT leaders a top-down perspective on printing costs, comprehensive insights into the use and performance of their printer fleets, actionable print analytics down to the individual user, and segmented data views for various departments and lines of business. This makes it easy to set benchmarks and performance targets and identify opportunities to reduce unnecessary volume and costs.
Reduce Your Infrastructure
You’re probably already on the path of reducing your IT infrastructure and data center dependence, but you might not have yet considered how the configuration and maintenance tasks related to your printing operations can free up IT resources for other priorities.
Many large enterprises have hundreds of print servers and thousands of individual printer drivers and queues to manage. When you make the move to true cloud secure printing, you can significantly reduce server-related expenses and tasks and it becomes the solution provider’s responsibility to ensure that all elements of the system are properly maintained, secured and optimized. The system is always available and up to date.
Data Security: Trust the Big Names
Corporate cybersecurity is an ongoing war that has become too complex and expensive for many companies to manage on their own. Protecting your data requires significant resources and security experts. And too often, IT security teams don’t give their printing environment proper attention. Sometimes the greatest security risk is the one nobody is thinking about.
Network printers and multi-function devices are often overlooked because they are considered old, simple technology. But this is precisely why they must be considered a critical component of any corporate security policy.
The trend is to shift as much of this burden as possible from in-house resources to cloud services. The IP ranges in private data centers can be an easy target. However, a secure native cloud platform hosted on one of the major cloud application service providers (Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform) is not fixed to a location and provides a level of security that you can’t easily duplicate. Who can possibly outspend these companies in the war against hackers? Trust the big names.
Put Your Office Printing on the SaaS Train
As you consider the areas of your business that can be improved in terms of efficiency, security, flexibility and cost, be sure to take a hard look at your printing operations. When you’re looking for opportunities to implement cloud-based services to save your organization time and money, remember that your network printing environment represents a significant ongoing cost that requires a lot of maintenance and introduces serious security risk.
With some consulting to help you transition your office printing to native cloud services, your IT team will be free to focus on what they do best. And you can rest easily knowing that your company’s print data is secured by a best-in-class cloud platform.