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Benefits of Serverless Printer Management

December 10th, 2020 by Brad Yocum

In today's environment of remote workforces and shuffling of staff to different locations throughout the office, supporting employee's technology needs can be very challenging. One of the biggest ongoing challenges for the IT department is the print hardware and managing print drivers. Making it even more challenging is still having the ability to maintain a secure environment. Print management applications have been available for decades. The value of controlling usage and tracking volumes has become more common in organizations. But what does Serverless Management offer that companies cannot already perform? We will look at several areas that could be valuable.

install printer

Centrally Manage Devices and User Settings

Depending on the size of an organization or how many locations they have, multiple points or servers manage the print environment. If a company manages its own IT needs, these professionals must monitor either the physical or virtual servers. Tasks would include installing and updating drivers and security updates, adding, or removing users' permissions and access to devices, or identifying any problem or corrupt print packages causing network issues. If the company is outsourcing their IT, the supporting group has all these same challenges and will likely charge them for these services. Additionally, each server's management costs could be $500 - $1000 per month per server. These costs add up over time.

By hosting all the printing needs in a serverless environment, the organization would eliminate these challenges. All devices would be managed from a central interface. With the integrating of Active Directory, users' permissions, access to tools, and firmware updating can all be performed and managed in one location. The customer does not need to provide servers or space in a cloud environment, eliminating the additional management costs, IT time, or charges for additional hours. New users would be automatically given access to the appropriate hardware while ensuring they have the latest driver updates. These applications will also allow IT departments to perform mass imports of Direct IP printers into a managed environment and have the workstation assume management of all printer objects. 71% of organizations that have employed these tools have seen a 50% reduction in time spent managing these tasks.

View and Manage Usage and Permissions

Most print management applications are installed to limit, track, or situationally control user access. These same serverless applications can do all of that and more. Most organizations see a reduction of 30% in print usage and consumption. You can do simple things like; view the use and volumes, set limits on how much printing can be performed in total or just color. IT management can set "Rules-Based" limitations, which means access to print in specific applications cannot be performed in color or print jobs of a specific size must be moved to a more cost-effective device. There are numerous ways that business leaders and conditions or control access and usage. Having these applications and controls in a serverless environment allows you to access this information and capabilities from anywhere you can be on the internet.

There are other advanced reporting capabilities for the same applications include:

  • Store print job metadata in the internally managed database
  • Integrate printing data with your existing BI tools
  • Track print job costs & USB printing activity
  • Monitor SNMP status of printers & get alerts of issues
admin console

Mobile Print Support

Current conditions may be more critical to support mobile access than ever before. Huge numbers of employees are working remoting or partially with split schedules of staff at the office at one time. These workers are not always hard wire connected to the office network or have mobile devices to take home. These serverless applications enable the capability to support these challenges for any Android, IOS, or laptop devices.

You can also support individuals who bring their own devices by creating a portal that allows them to easily connect to any printing device while also securing the information printed and tracking or controlling where items are printed. This condition also relates to guest printing for users that are not part of the organization with unique logins identified and managed. If they are entirely off-network, you can enable them by using "email printing."

With Mobile Printing, there's no client-side software to install. None at all. No unique apps, no device profiles, no daemons. That means any authorized device, regardless of operating system or manufacturer, is equipped to leverage enterprise mobile printing. And Mobile Printing works with any network printer—so even legacy printing devices can become part of your enterprise mobile printing infrastructure. That saves time when it comes to implementation, saves resources when it comes to supporting, and saves hardware costs.

Secure Release

One of the most significant errors companies make is not securing their print infrastructure. HP reports that almost 90 percent of enterprise businesses have suffered at least one data loss because of unsecured printing. These are areas that can be addressed thru applications.

  • Eliminating print servers reduces print-attack vulnerability
  • Secure Release Printing reduces risk from abandoned print jobs
  • Multifactor authentication boosts security for sensitive information
  • Every print job stays local and never travels to the cloud

There are also various options on how your organization can deploy Secure Release that best suits its needs.

  • Swipe a security badge at any printing device
  • Use and smartphone with the app installed
  • Enter Active Directory credentials, or a user ID/PIN at the print device
  • Use any web browser to release one or all of your jobs

All options can be used long after you have turned off your computer. These methods can also be utilized when traveling between locations or to a specific destination. You could be in the middle of traveling to a destination, select to print your document, arrive at the site, and release the needed information or delete what is not required.

secure release settings

Employing this method will also ensure that you reduce waste. Each year millions of pages of paper are discarded or completely unneeded. The cost per page that is saved would include paper, toner, storage, service supplies, disposal, and recycling. The positive environmental impact of employing this process will provide

In Conclusion

In companies where the print environment's scale and complexity are significant, the idea of a serverless printing infrastructure can seem like an unattainable goal. Print servers were first implemented to help tame enterprise-level complexity. They have now been the de facto standard in the enterprise for so long that even seasoned IT professionals find it hard to conceive of a print infrastructure without them. Alternatives to server-based print infrastructures do exist, though. And when done right, they bring compelling advantages that go far beyond the ability to eliminate print servers—although that represents a big win in and of itself. Organizations of all sizes can now realize these benefits to reduce costs associated with them.

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Posted in: Business Technology