Starting Your Enterprise Print Audit

As security and cost-cutting become more prominent themes within enterprise IT, organizations are coming to the realization that true print management is about more than adding and removing printers. It’s also about oversight. That’s prompted many organizations to conduct their first comprehensive print audit—often with the further intention of making it the start of an ongoing print-audit process.

A print audit is a great way to get a good fix on the state of your entire print environment and brighten the corners that get overlooked during day-to-day printer administration. Without intuitive, centralized print management, who has the time or resources to monitor specific print activity when there are five angry users waiting for a printer to be deployed? In terms of security, a print audit gives your organization the detail necessary to assess and manage potential risks. And in terms of cost savings, a print audit can help you identify where, say, consumables usage is unusually high.

Getting Started with Your Print Audit
Although I will discuss how you can radically simplify the print-audit process below, under most circumstances a thorough and useful print audit is no small task. Here are some basic questions you’ll want to ask as you get started. At the outset, these mostly relate to cost.

  • High-volume networks: Are there networks or departments in your organization with high print volumes? Are their print volumes expected to be higher than others, and by how much?
  • Grayscale versus color: What’s the ratio of color to grayscale printing in your organization? Is that anticipated, or does it seem like many end users are defaulting to color printing when they don’t have to?
  • Print-job costs: Now that you’ve quantified consumption, what’s the actual cost of that paper, ink and toner? How much could your organization be saving by curbing excess?

Identifying and trimming this kind of waste is the easiest place to start seeing immediate gains through your print audit.

Some organizations gather this data by delving through the logs of their print-management solution for things like page counts. That’s incredibly time-consuming and is one of the most inefficient ways to conduct a print audit. Other organizations install discrete print-tracking software with the express purpose of auditing. However, you should bear in mind that that can have its drawbacks too. Most off-the-shelf print-tracking software introduces yet another solution into the print environment, which compounds the administrative burden and can cause compatibility issues with the existing print-management solution.

A Deeper Dive
Once you’ve identified cost-saving opportunities, whether that’s by combing through logs or using dedicated print-tracking software, it’s time to look at print activity that can pose a threat to the security of your organization.

  • Confidential documents: These can include anything from top-secret intellectual property to patient healthcare records. Which users have access to these sensitive documents and how frequently are they printing them?
  • Large print jobs: A single user frequently initiating large print jobs can be an indicator of potential risk in your print environment. Does it look like large print jobs are regularly originating from one account or one workstation? And if it’s not a security risk, is it at least a cost-saving opportunity?
  • Printing outliers: While every company has its early birds and night owls, one warning sign of illicit activity is a lone employee initiating print jobs very late at night or very early in the morning. Are there print jobs that fall far outside the window of typical working hours? What about other unusual print habits?

None of these indicators on its own is necessarily proof of a security breach, of course, but together they could have the makings of one. This is where it pays to be proactive rather than responsive, and the need for constant monitoring and vigilance becomes apparent. The problem is that conventional print-tracking software can’t always alert you when one of these criteria is triggered. Oversight becomes a matter of hindsight.

Choose PrinterLogic for an Efficient, Comprehensive and Ongoing Print Audit
PrinterLogic’s integrated print-auditing capabilities make it possible for organizations to gather both high-level and detailed data about the print activity throughout their environments. Beyond that, its powerful print-reporting capabilities also make it possible to interpret that data to spot individual anomalies as well as larger trends.

Here are just a few print-audit data points you can capture with PrinterLogic:

  • Printers with the heaviest use
  • Print jobs arranged according to date, user, job title, document name, duplexing and much more
  • Grayscale and color usage
  • The company’s heaviest print users
  • Departmental print volumes based on week, month or quarter
  • The actual cost of print jobs calculated through current real-world consumable costs

Unlike ordinary print-tracking software, this functionality is a fully integrated part of our solution and as a result allows administrators to email periodic reports with breakdowns of this information to department heads, C-level executives and other decision-makers automatically.

And with PrinterLogic’s centralized print management and easy-to-use administrative tools, organizations can actually act on what they uncover through a print audit. Admins can set limitations and quotas on printing, which can help to shape printing behavior across the enterprise. With this combination of print-management data and tools, organizations of any size can establish a secure, cost-saving printing strategy in line with current best practices. That’s not unlike what distributed organizations like OhioHealth (read the case study here) have done after implementing PrinterLogic.

If your organization is ready to eliminate print servers through our serverless print infrastructure while also gaining the advantages of centralized print management and comprehensive print auditing, sign up for a demo and test PrinterLogic in your print environment for 30 days completely free of charge.

Homegrown Southern Utah Software Firm PrinterLogic to Break Ground on World Headquarters in St. George

Global leader in serverless printing infrastructure stays close to its geographical roots as anchor company for Tech Ridge

ST. GEORGE, UT—May 23, 2019—PrinterLogic, developer of cloud-based serverless printing infrastructure software, will break ground on its new headquarters facility at noon Friday, May 31, becoming the first company to build at Tech Ridge.

PrinterLogic’s 125 local employees and their families are expected to join Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, St. George Mayor Jon Pike and other community officials in a ceremony to mark the event at Dixie Technical College and the adjacent building site. The public is invited to attend.

Rapid growth has led to workforce expansion, requiring the company to look for a larger space to house its increasing headquarters operations in St. George. Privately held PrinterLogic has 185 employees at offices in St. George; Raleigh, NC; London, U.K.; Frankfurt, Germany; and Sydney, Australia.

“Over the years St. George has proven to be rich soil for PrinterLogic as we’ve grown,” said Ryan Wedig, PrinterLogic CEO. “Seven years ago PrinterLogic was basically two guys with a startup budget and a great story to tell. Today we have almost 200 employees with customers and offices throughout the world.

“Tech Ridge validates what we have been saying for a long time: that you can build and sustain tech companies here. With Tech Ridge coming to fruition it’s a perfect opportunity for us to build. We’re honored to be part of this project and can’t wait to join our friends at Dixie Tech as anchors in the development. This is a major milestone. It says a lot about the strength of this community.”

The 150-acre Tech Ridge development is located at the former site of the St. George Municipal Airport west of the city center on the Black Ridge. The airport was relocated south of the city in 2011, and since then economic development officials have worked to prepare the site for a mix of business, residential and retail uses. Dixie Technical College opened its 30-acre campus on the site in March of 2018.

About PrinterLogic
PrinterLogic helps IT professionals eliminate all print servers and deliver a highly available serverless printing infrastructure. With PrinterLogic’s centrally managed direct-IP printing platform, customers empower their workforce with mobile printing, secure release printing, and many other advanced features that legacy print management applications can’t provide. The company has been included multiple times on the Inc 500 and Deloitte Fast 500 lists of fastest growing companies in North America.

Tracy Merrill

Eliminate Slow Network Printing

It’s no great revelation that we live in a fast-paced world. Letters used to take weeks to arrive, and now we expect our written communication to be delivered instantly. We lose our cool if traffic doesn’t move quickly enough, struggle to remember life before two-day shipping was the norm, wonder how people entertained themselves without an entire library of TV and movies on demand. We want everything to be available right now and at the press of a button. In many cases, our businesses depend on it.

So how can anyone continue to justify slow network printing? If we can pack an entire workout into seven minutes, why on earth should it take that long (or longer) for a print job to travel from a workstation to a network printer?

Blame print servers. They’ve systematically lowered our expectations of enterprise printing over the years. They’re single points of failure, limited in their scalability, vulnerable to rogue drivers and require group policy or scripts to deploy printers accurately. And along with those shortcomings, they’ve made slow network printing seem like an inevitability—something that just goes with the territory.

Common causes of slow network printing
There are dozens of reasons why print speed might be suffering, but one major cause is the basic structure of the print-server model.

If your print servers are consolidated, it means that every client is routing print jobs through a single centralized point. That can take a really heavy toll on remote locations, where the print job has to pass through the local WAN connection to the distant centralized print server, then make the return trip to the local network printer. Even in a best-case scenario, you’re looking at a minimum of two potential bottlenecks that can result in slow network printing.

Distributed print servers don’t fare much better. This model balances the printing load and restricts print servers to smaller pools of users, but it’s also more difficult for admins to oversee and maintain. That lack of oversight can allow background processes or outdated drivers to consume additional resources, which in turn will affect printing speeds.

Regardless of how they’re set up, print servers are subject to periods of high usage and excessive printing demands that can easily overload their finite capacity. Heavy network traffic from non-print-related activity can also impact the speed that jobs are received by the print server and passed to the destination printer.

Eliminate print servers to eliminate slow network printing
To eliminate print servers and replace them with a next-generation direct-IP printing solution would not only get rid of these drawbacks, it would also open up possibilities for print-infrastructure reduction too. But that naturally raises an important question: If you eliminate print servers, what do you put in their place?

Easy: PrinterLogic.

With PrinterLogic’s software, you can completely eliminate print servers in favor of a serverless print infrastructure that’s highly scalable, easy to manage, inherently robust and offers advanced features (secure-release printing and mobile printing to name just two) as a seamless extension of its core functionality. It takes all of the long-held assumptions about enterprise printing and turns them on their ear.

Among enterprise printing solutions, PrinterLogic is uniquely positioned to do this because it makes use of a centrally managed, direct-IP printing paradigm. While allowing the entire print environment—even in geographically distributed organizations—to be administered from a single pane of glass, it establishes one-to-one connections between clients and printers. This means that print jobs travel straight from the initiating machine to the destination printer.

By minimizing WAN hops and increasing print efficiency through this forward-thinking model, PrinterLogic’s direct-IP printing solution tackles the root causes of slow network printing and speeds up print jobs by design. Along with that, it optimizes both printer and driver management by eliminating scripts and GPOs and makes drastic reductions in print infrastructure possible. That’s a huge net benefit: greater ease of print management, increased productivity for end users, fewer calls to the help desk about slow network printing, and less money spent on purchasing, operating and upgrading print-related hardware.

Efficiency that follows you into the cloud
PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud) brings this same direct-IP printing solution to a flexible SaaS model, so enterprises that are looking to achieve a massive print-infrastructure reduction can migrate to the cloud without the usual fear of slow network printing on account of excessive WAN reliance. Even if the WAN connection is bottlenecked by heavy network traffic or interrupted altogether, end users can still print quickly and reliably via PrinterLogic SaaS.

Hamilton County, Indiana (read the case study here) is just one of many examples of how PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure can transform a cumbersome, sluggish print environment into a lean, efficient one with enterprise-quality uptime and features. For them, thanks to PrinterLogic, slow network printing is now a distant memory instead of the daily reality.

To experience the benefits of PrinterLogic for yourself, you can easily test the water before deciding it’s right for your organization. Sign up today to demo PrinterLogic in your print environment for 30 days entirely free of charge.

Business IT Solutions for Print Environments

Finding the right business IT solutions can be challenging under any circumstances, but the stakes can be higher in enterprise environments when scale becomes a decisive factor. That’s especially true for enterprise print environments. The size and makeup of large printer fleets along with the intricacies involved in accommodating nuanced organizational structures and different user pools can cause things to get complicated fast.

The scale and complexity of the enterprise naturally makes it harder to provide the services and capabilities that every single end user needs at any given moment. From an administrator’s point of view, there’s no greater reminder of this than the number of help-desk calls that come in when those needs aren’t being met by the existing business IT solutions. In particularly bad situations, IT departments can become overwhelmed by the volume of support tickets.

When it gets bad enough, what often happens is that the organization looks to additional business IT solutions to compensate for the shortcomings of the ones that are already in place. But, of course, the addition of a further solution only adds to the complexity of the environment. Which only succeeds in compounding the current problems.

It follows, then, that the answer lies in addressing the root issue. With enterprise printing, this root issue is almost always the server-based architecture that has become the standard among print-management solutions in all kinds of organizations. To eliminate print servers means eliminating the problems they cause, such as unreliable deployments, inadequate print availability, poor scalability and limited functionality.

Eliminate print servers to simplify infrastructure and administration
PrinterLogic’s serverless printing architecture removes the need for print servers entirely. In fact, “eliminate print servers” has been our mantra for years because we saw how legacy print-management solutions—even those claiming to be enterprise-ready business IT solutions—were hamstrung by the server-based architecture and the software that was designed for it.

It’s this next-generation ability to eliminate print servers that remains the biggest benefit of our centrally managed direct-IP printing model, as it allows organizations to drastically reduce their infrastructure while also bringing greater ease of management, unprecedented scalability and flexibility, higher availability, and sought-after features like mobile printing and print auditing to their print environment. Some of those many features include:

Mobile printing: Conventional print-management solutions have a tendency to treat mobile printing like an extra layer of functionality. Maybe that’s no surprise. Legacy server-based architectures more or less demand that it be treated that way.

PrinterLogic, on the other hand, approaches mobile printing like an extension of its core functionality. Android and iOS users can print natively from their devices without having to install any client-side software. Any network printer, including legacy devices, can be configured to receive mobile print jobs. Meanwhile, BYOD and off-network guest users can leverage PrinterLogic’s proven email-to-print capabilities to easily send jobs to authorized printers.

Pull and secure printing: Given the increasing awareness of risks to print security, organizations are looking for ways to implement features like pull printing, which splits the printing process into two steps: printing and release. Secure printing builds on pull printing by adding an authentication mechanism. Often, however, this calls for a dedicated pull-printing solution above and beyond the basic print-management solution along with expanded hardware infrastructure for authentication.

With PrinterLogic, organizations can use as many as five separate authentication mechanisms to securely release print jobs. These mechanisms can include anything from CAC/PIV (used primarily for high-security government agencies and contractors) or a repurposed tablet in kiosk mode. There’s even a convenient new PrinterLogic Print Release App for iOS and Android smartphones that synergizes the benefits of mobile and pull printing. And, like mobile printing, pull and secure printing harness PrinterLogic’s native print capabilities, so they can be easily configured, managed and extended to any printer using a single web-based administrative console.

Print auditing: With increased emphasis on security comes the desire for increased oversight. PrinterLogic’s print-auditing feature gives admins the ability to monitor print activity in detail across the entire print environment. This is possible because, even though the client-to-printer connections are direct IP (and more robust as a result), printing takes place through PrinterLogic’s common platform.

What’s more, our print-auditing capabilities are augmented by reporting. Admins can automatically share the wealth of data gleaned through print auditing by having periodic reports emailed to department heads and decision-makers. PrinterLogic’s print auditing can thus create a solid, informed foundation for cost-saving and efficiency initiatives.

Self-service portal: One of the most longstanding challenges to enterprise print environments is the need to deploy the right printers to the right end users at the right time. The approach adopted by most business IT solutions is to all but remove the end user from the equation and instead put all the responsibility for deployments on the admin’s shoulders.

At PrinterLogic, we recognized that there was a lot to be gained from end-user empowerment. By making the printer-installation process as simple as viewing a floor plan map and clicking on the desired printer, our self-service portal has given end users the resources they need to make sound installation choices while also helping them avoid making mistakes. They no longer need to call the help-desk every single time they need a new printer, and admins can be confident that printer access is still tightly controlled.

Your organization can eliminate print servers
Based on their past experience with legacy print-management solutions, IT professionals can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking, “Eliminating print servers will never work in our organization!” Our customers tell a very different story. QTC, the largest provider of government-outsourced disability and occupational health-examination services in the United States, was able to eliminate print servers and enjoy an estimated 93% reduction in the time its IT team spent of print management (read the case study here). That’s just one of many, many examples.

But there’s an even better way to be sure: Try PrinterLogic for yourself. Just sign up today to test our serverless printing solution free of charge in your organization for 30 days.