PrinterLogic Integrates Serverless Print Management with Leading Cloud-Based Identity Services

ST. GEORGE, Utah, March 31, 2020​—PrinterLogic, the world leader in Serverless Printing Infrastructure (SPI), today announced a new integration with Okta, the leading independent provider of identity for the enterprise. This integration allows IT professionals to eliminate print servers and identity-related infrastructure by connecting the Okta Identity Cloud into PrinterLogic SaaS for SCIM provisioning and single sign-on (SSO). ​As an Okta embedded partner, PrinterLogic customers can leverage secure and seamless access to centralized identity management through Okta’s authentication technology​.

As more organizations adopt a cloud-first strategy, traditional on-prem identity management options such as AD are no longer optimal. ​Identity Providers (IdP), such as Okta, empower customers to centralize administration across cloud-based applications, improve security, and reduce infrastructure. By embedding the Okta Identity Cloud into PrinterLogic, it solves a common challenge faced by organizations trying to uncouple the many processes connected with AD, including printer management and deployment. In addition, the embedded integration allows PrinterLogic customers who would like to try Okta to connect their instance of PrinterLogic for free through the ​Okta Cloud Connect program​.

“This partnership makes so much sense. Our customers love eliminating print servers, and Okta’s customers love removing legacy identity infrastructure,” said Garrett Helmer, SVP Channels, PrinterLogic. “Together we will empower IT professionals to deliver on their cloud-first initiatives and give end-users the easiest and best printing experience, managed in the cloud.”

The PrinterLogic embedded integration has passed rigorous testing by Okta, and is now included in the Okta Integration Network of verified and approved Okta applications. PrinterLogic is the only embedded integration partner to enable ​Okta customers to fully eliminate print servers by provisioning a centrally managed direct IP environment that is truly SaaS-based and integrates with their existing Okta Identity Cloud solution.

“At Okta, we’re on a mission to enable every organization to seamlessly integrate and securely use any technology, said Maureen Little, Vice President of Technology Partnerships, Okta. “By bringing together industry leaders in identity and access management and serverless printing infrastructure, we are able to deliver a disruptive and modern solution for enterprise print management to ​our customers. The integration of the Okta Identity Cloud with PrinterLogic enables organizations to cut another cord to their legacy infrastructure.”

The integration with Okta builds on PrinterLogic’s mission to be the world leader in serverless printing infrastructure and to support organizations of every size and environment in their digital transformation journey. PrinterLogic and Okta’s integration is available today.

For more information, visit: ​http://www.printerlogic.com/idp​ or https://www.okta.com/integrations/printerlogic-saas/

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 end users with mobile printing, secure release printing, and

many 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.

Advanced Reporting Best Practices (and What to Look for) to Save Your Enterprise Time and Money

When we talk about PrinterLogic and all the advantages of its serverless printing infrastructure, we like to emphasize one thing above all else: It eliminates print servers. That’s super important to us. And it’s even more important to our customers. PrinterLogic’s serverless printing is what has helped them overcome the limitations, hassle and expense of old-school printing solutions.

Of course, PrinterLogic does way more than just eliminate print servers. It also provides advanced reporting capabilities that help organizations follow best practices when it comes to auditing and oversight of their print environments.

It’s worth taking a deeper dive into this functionality to see what exactly it is, which of its features make the biggest impact and how it can further streamline things in the long run.

What is advanced reporting from PrinterLogic?

PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting functionality shines a light on every corner of your print environment. It captures all kinds of print-related data and, just as importantly, enables you to make sense of it. That helps you truly understand your print environment at every level. Which ultimately drives better decision-making.

Among other things, advanced reporting provides detailed reports on all print activity throughout the organization. Any printer that’s associated with PrinterLogic—whether networked or USB—is included. Admins can then view that activity down to the user and device level across the entire organization. They can also automatically share the reports by having them emailed to department heads and executives per a custom schedule.

Auditing is another part of PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting. That allows admins to quickly pinpoint what changed in the print environment, who changed it and when it happened. All actions are stored and viewable for quick access.

While auditing is great for security, it’s also great just from a service standpoint. If an admin notices that a particular printer setting is being changed repeatedly, they can reach out to that user and provide printer support.

Which features will most benefit companies?

The ability to eliminate print servers is probably the most far-reaching benefit companies will get from PrinterLogic. But if we put serverless printing to one side and look just at PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting, there are tons of features that lead to cost savings, reduced IT overhead, improved printer support and fleet optimization.

Unsurprisingly, the features with the biggest impact are also the ones that conform to recommended best practices. These include:

  • Metadata recording: Every print job is bundled with additional info, or metadata, on the initiating user, the workstation, document title, timestamp and more. This metadata is stored for easy access in the internally managed database.
  • Intelligent integration: Along with storing print job metadata independently, you can also integrate this data with your existing business intelligence (BI) tools. That way, you can leverage the power of both solutions.
  • Comprehensive tracking: PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting doesn’t just capture network/USB print and copy activity. It also ties consumables usage to actual costs, giving you a better fix on the dollar value of your usage.
  • Device monitoring: Admins can set up advanced reporting to monitor the SNMP status of printers and receive alerts. This is a major contributor to better printer support because it allows IT to be more proactive.
  • Information sharing: As already mentioned, admins can schedule periodic reports to be sent to decision-makers. That encourages accountability and educates the organization on often overlooked print usage and costs.
  • Data clarity: Through intuitive graphs and charts, it’s easy to determine things like departmental usage, printer usage and paper waste. You can then troubleshoot areas of concern.

How will using the advanced reporting tool save your company time and money?

By putting those features to good use, companies can adopt best practices for auditing and reporting as well as individual and departmental accountability. And those practices are considered the best for a reason. It’s because they contribute to the long-term success and health of a company.

PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting answers valuable and otherwise hard-to-quantify questions about the cost of printing on a single printer. Or the cost of toner and paper for the entire organization. Or the scale of color printing to black and white. The list goes on.

It can also inform new printer policies and fine-tuning of driver profiles for more efficiency. Or offer consolidation guidance to optimize the printer fleet. Or advance warning of printing devices that are starting to fail. That list goes on too.

These outcomes aren’t pie in the sky. EPIC Management is a California-based healthcare management and consulting services company that made PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting a key part of its organization-wide rollout. Through SNMP monitoring and automatic distribution of regular reports, EPIC Management has been able to offer superior printer support and migrate to a cost-plus printing model. Read the case study here.

And by working alongside PrinterLogic’s serverless printing, advanced reporting can maximize the gains from eliminating print servers to save even more time and money. So sign up today for your PrinterLogic demo and try our serverless printing infrastructure, advanced reporting and other amazing features completely free of charge for 30 days.

Cloud-centric companies can also check out PrinterLogic Insights, our new SaaS print auditing and reporting tool. It’s free of charge for up to 10 printers!

PrinterLogic SaaS Is OS Platform-Agnostic for Maximum Compatibility

Of the dozens of IT pain points, one of the most common has to be ensuring compatibility between all the components that make up an IT environment.

Compatibility would be less of an issue if everything were uniform throughout the entire organization. But we all know that’s not how things work in the real world. As hard as you might try to maintain consistency in hardware and software, today’s IT environments are a mix of operating systems: Chromebooks, mobile devices running iOS or Android, Windows-based PCs and even the occasional Linux machine.

With BYOD policies gaining traction by the nanosecond, things have become even more varied. All of this puts an enormous burden on IT. Nowhere has that burden been heavier than in the print environment.

Ensuring compatibility through serverless printing

Constant compatibility issues—especially where printing is concerned—has led a lot of IT pros to try and eliminate print servers from their print environments. Serverless printing is what makes that possible. By eliminating print servers in favor of serverless printing, you remove one unnecessary variable from the IT equation. 

While serverless printing has the potential to avoid compatibility issues, a lot of that potential comes down to your choice of solution. Something that’s just a glorified “serverless print server” could come saddled with the same limitations and headache that you were trying to escape.

And what good is migrating to a serverless printing solution if you’re just going to have to add new workarounds to make sure it works with the rest of your environment? That’s just exchanging one lackluster setup for another one.

PrinterLogic SaaS is truly OS platform-agnostic

PrinterLogic SaaS is the proven way to eliminate print servers without compromising on OS compatibility. Our serverless printing infrastructure allows IT admins to manage any workstation using our admin console to deploy printers. It doesn’t matter whether that workstation is running Windows, macOS, Linux or even Chrome OS. You can manage it from a single pane of glass.

That’s because PrinterLogic SaaS doesn’t just focus on making serverless printing easy. It also puts a lot of emphasis on making serverless print management easy too.

Aside from the obvious benefits, being OS platform-agnostic has some additional perks:

  • Backwards compatibility: Even if you’re an all-Windows shop, chances are that you have a few workstations running older Windows versions. PrinterLogic SaaS lets you extend full-featured printing support to those legacy machines.
  • Future compatibility: The big appeal of serverless printing is its flexibility. With PrinterLogic SaaS and its cross-platform print management, you’re future-proofing your print environment for the OSes of tomorrow.
  • Advanced printing features: Because it’s OS platform-agnostic, PrinterLogic SaaS allows you to introduce features like serverless secure printing across your print environment—regardless of the workstation’s OS.

There’s even more in store

Soon serverless print management with PrinterLogic SaaS will get even easier. Our native Chrome OS Client Extension will bring PrinterLogic’s centrally managed direct-IP printing to enterprise environments that are adding more and more Chromebooks to their fleet.

Currently the Chrome OS Client Extension is scheduled to roll out in Q2 of this year.

No matter how varied your print environment is, our platform-agnostic—and printer-agnostic—serverless printing solution eliminates print servers while turning OS compatibility into a non-issue.

The simple solution for the most common enterprise printing problems

There are seven pillars of wisdom and seven types of ambiguity, so maybe it’s not surprising that there should be seven common enterprise printing problems. These are the infuriating—but ultimately solvable—hassles that IT experiences on a regular basis when using legacy printing and print-management solutions.

The most common enterprise printing problems

In this blog post we’ll go into detail about what those pillars are:

  1. Decentralized print management
  2. Printer security breaches
  3. Help desk support
  4. No user print restrictions
  5. Incompatibility with BYOD
  6. Managing print servers
  7. End-user printing problems

1. Decentralized print management

In many organizations, print management is fragmented. There’s no single window onto the whole print environment; it’s more like a hall of mirrors. Visibility suffers, and admin tasks become tedious and piecemeal. Printer deployments, driver updates and profile changes require multiple steps, and the same operations often have to be repeated for different locations and user pools.

2. Printer security breaches

Print infrastructure often gets short shrift in the wider efforts to harden security. A widely cited 2015 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that 64% of respondents said their organizations prioritize computer security over printer security. Default passwords on many printers are never changed, creating an opportunity for man-in-the-middle attacks. End users also have a habit of printing documents with sensitive information and then forgetting them in the output tray.

3. Help desk support

Printer and print-management issues typically have one outcome: a call to the help desk. Has a printer run out of toner? Is an employee unable to print to their regular printer? Are end users experiencing crashes or system hangs from rogue drivers? All of that is likely to get them on the phone to IT. The steady stream of support tickets eats up resources and drags down productivity.

4. No user print restrictions

Daunted by the hoops that Group Policy forces them to jump through, some organizations choose to keep rights restrictions minimal. Otherwise they’re setting themselves up for—yep, you guessed it—more calls to the help desk. Or maybe their print-management solution doesn’t even give them the granular control they need to place essential limits on certain aspects of end-user printing.

5. Incompatibility with BYOD

BYOD policies are in more demand than ever. End users want to work with their preferred laptop, tablet or smartphone and move seamlessly between their time on and off the clock. But, despite stats indicating productivity increases and cost savings from BYOD policies, many organizations continue to struggle with implementing and supporting BYOD printing.

6. Managing print servers

When you’re dealing with legacy print-management solutions like print servers, you spend as much time managing the solution as you do managing printers. That’s because print servers need to be migrated, upgraded, rebooted and maintained. The best way to address this is to eliminate print servers and implement a serverless print infrastructure, as we’ll soon see.

7. End-user printing problems

Last but not least is the assortment of errors and roadblocks that end users face. Not being able to see certain printers. Default printers not working. Driver-related freezes, hangs and crashes. Print jobs being routed to the wrong printer. And, of course, all these problems create bad blood between end users and IT while also generating unwanted help-desk calls.

PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure is the answer

Through its powerful combo of direct IP printing and centralized management, PrinterLogic is able to solve all seven of these common enterprise printing problems in one fell swoop. Its serverless print infrastructure allows organizations to eliminate print servers completely while introducing more reliability, flexibility and ease of use to printing and print management.

PrinterLogic unifies your print environment, providing you with full control via a single pane of glass. Using this admin console, IT can quickly deploy printers, update or roll back drivers and configure advanced settings from one convenient interface. There’s no need for Group Policy or scripts to set up precise deployments. And queue management allows IT staff to cancel or remove problematic print jobs.

BYOD? PrinterLogic’s mobile printing functionality makes it easy to support user-owned devices. Security? PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure coupled with secure release printing and its advanced reporting (which includes auditing) all help to thwart malicious actors. User friendliness? PrinterLogic’s self-service printer installation portal empowers end users with the ability to easily identify and safely install printers with a click.

As a result, all the problems that used to culminate in support calls vanish. So the support calls vanish too.

No print environment is too complex

GH Metal Solutions thought their nationally distributed VMware environment was too dynamic to ever enjoy centralized print management, too complex to ever eliminate print servers. But that wasn’t true. PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure brought effortless print management, reduced help-desk calls and greater end-user satisfaction—which all amounted to strong ROI. Read the case study here.

PrinterLogic SaaS Is Printer-Agnostic – Here’s What That Means and Why It Matters

In tech circles, certain software solutions are often described as platform-agnostic. Which is a shorthand way of saying that they work with pretty much any operating system.

PrinterLogic SaaS is one of those solutions that could be called platform-agnostic. Our serverless printing infrastructure works across macOS, Windows, Linux, ChromeOS and even VDI environments to provide seamless, reliable cloud-based printing capabilities to workstations, laptops and mobile devices. But that’s just one way of looking at it.

As most IT pros know, clients are only half of the print-management equation. The other half is the printers themselves. If your print-management software can’t ensure compatibility with virtually any printing device, that raises your risk of encountering day-to-day printing issues now and in the future.

That’s why another good way to describe PrinterLogic SaaS is printer-agnostic.

What We Mean by Printer-Agnostic

Printer-agnostic means that our serverless printing infrastructure offers near-universal compatibility with the various kinds of networked printing devices found across the enterprise.

From inkjets to business-class laser printers, photocopiers to multifunction printers (MFPs), PrinterLogic SaaS is able to support the most diverse or specialized printer fleets. Whatever the make or model of the printer, admins can manage and deploy it using PrinterLogic’s convenient web-based console. And end users can print to that printer easily and reliably.

That broad compatibility might sound surprising. After all, PrinterLogic SaaS is designed to eliminate print servers from your print environment. So it’s tempting to think that removing print servers means giving up support for different printer types.

Yet it’s actually the opposite. PrinterLogic’s serverless printing is what gets rid of a major source of incompatibility: the print server itself.

Why printer-agnostic matters

There are tons of immediate benefits to a printer-agnostic serverless printing solution. It means you could migrate your enterprise print environment to PrinterLogic SaaS today. On top of eliminating print servers, you’ll start enjoying pain-free printing and print management right away.

Speaking of print management, one huge advantage of PrinterLogic SaaS is that it features a common driver repository for all your printers. Instead of maintaining multiple instances and versions of drivers across several servers, admins can easily deploy, update and even roll back drivers for the entire fleet. All from the same screen, all with just a few clicks.

PrinterLogic’s serverless print management doesn’t only mean smoother sailing with your current printer fleet, either. It also has implications for the future.

Let’s say your managed print services provider or CTO recommends swapping out brand X printers for brand Y. With PrinterLogic SaaS, that’s not even a concern. You can replace individual printers or the whole fleet as your organization evolves.

That translates to a fully future-proof and optimized print environment in terms of:

  • Cost: When printer compatibility isn’t a factor, affordability can take higher priority when choosing printers.
  • Efficiency: Flexibility of choice also means being able to pick the right printer for the right task.
  • Scalability: Admins can effortlessly rotate, add or remove printers to meet the changing demands of their organization.
  • Ease of use: Being printer-agnostic means features like self-service printer installation and serverless pull printing are available to every end user.

PrinterLogic SaaS Achieves Embedded Integration With Okta Identity Cloud

PrinterLogic has partnered with Okta, the leading cloud-based Identity Provider, to offer customers their first free Okta account via an embedded feature known as Okta Embedded Integration

Streamline your SaaS transition

As more companies embrace a cloud-first strategy, they face challenges with supporting a mix of legacy (on-prem) and cloud-based applications. Two of those challenges — eliminating print servers and cutting ties to Active Directory — are addressed with the new PrinterLogic-Okta partnership described below. 

For context, let’s start with a brief overview of PrinterLogic and its benefits.

The benefits of a true SaaS platform

PrinterLogic completely eliminates the need for print servers and replaces traditional infrastructure with an efficient, secure, centrally managed direct IP printing platform. It also gives IT the ability to empower end users with advanced functionality such as installing a printer on their own, secure release printing, and mobile/BYOD printing.

More and more, PrinterLogic customers are opting for a SaaS subscription, which provides all the benefits described above while doing away with IT having to manage server licensing, private-cloud resources, software configuration, and maintenance. Unlike other solutions, PrinterLogic SaaS is a true SaaS platform: It’s more than just an application hosted in the cloud that requires a VPN and lacks multi-tenancy.

Moving beyond Active Directory

Traditionally, customers have been able to connect PrinterLogic to their legacy Active Directory server to provide authentication services. More recently, however, organizations of every size are seeking cloud technologies that align with their digital transformation journey. As more customers choose PrinterLogic SaaS and offer more cloud-based applications, the need for easier provisioning and single sign-on (SSO) becomes more evident.

Okta and cloud-based Identity Management

As a cloud-based Identity Provider, Okta is edging out the need for legacy on-prem directory services such as Microsoft’s AD. Okta’s Rethink AD explains how AD, now over 40 years old, falls short of the modern demands of cloud computing. 

As Okta’s customer base and mainstream adoption for cloud-based identity management has grown, customers have been looking for a print management solution that integrates with the Okta Identity Cloud. 

PrinterLogic and Okta: A synergistic partnership

PrinterLogic and Okta are both rooted in an agnostic approach to solving technology problems. PrinterLogic created a platform that works with any network printer and any workstation OS. Okta integrates with other Identity Providers, including Microsoft’s AD, and supports industry-standard protocols such as SCIM and SAML 2.0.

Figure 1. When integrated, Okta becomes the trusted workforce identity authority for PrinterLogic. Users authenticate their identity through Okta, and they are authorized to access PrinterLogic.

PrinterLogic and Okta allow IT teams to eliminate infrastructure related to both print and identity management. This helps resolve a big challenge faced by many organizations moving to the cloud: the need to phase out legacy solutions.

PrinterLogic is not only part of the Okta Integration Network (OIN), but it has also achieved embedded partner status. Through the use of Okta Embedded Integration, PrinterLogic customers can create their first free Okta account from within the PrinterLogic Admin Console. A new “Become an Okta Member” button now appears in the console.

PrinterLogic passed rigorous testing by Okta in order to achieve this level of integration. It is the only print management solution to offer this first free-account benefit. 

How to get started with Okta in PrinterLogic

Get set up your first free Okta account from within PrinterLogic:

From the PrinterLogic Admin Console, go to Tools>Settings>General, then select Identity Provider Settings and click on “Become an Okta Member.” Complete the form to create the free account. Log in to Okta (https://www.okta.com/) to manage the new account. For customers using AD, install the Okta Active Directory agent and import your AD users and groups into Okta.

PrinterLogic SaaS Is a Truly Serverless Printing Solution

The cloud came with a lot of promises. You’d be able to reduce physical infrastructure, manage everything from one place, enjoy more flexibility and features. Migration to the cloud would free up IT resources and be more cost-effective.

As most IT professionals know, printing was one thing that proved harder to shift.

You can take your print management software and host it in the cloud, obviously. But some of the old problems don’t go away. You’re still stuck with single points of failure, awkward deployment mechanisms, on-prem servers, limited security and all the other drawbacks of legacy print management solutions.

That’s why PrinterLogic SaaS is unique.

Our industry-leading serverless printing infrastructure realizes the promise of what cloud computing was meant to be. It lets you fully eliminate print servers from your organization while gaining virtually effortless, totally serverless print management from a single pane of glass. You get centralized management of printers and drivers along with powerful reporting—all without having to rely on scripting or GPOs.

Unlike some “cloud-optimized” print management software, PrinterLogic is a true SaaS offering. It’s not some cloud-hosted shortcut that leaves you stuck with server licensing, configuration and maintenance. Nor does it force you and your users to tunnel through a VPN.

PrinterLogic SaaS also isn’t a hybrid approach that makes you keep servers onsite. Solutions like that involve too many compromises. When we say PrinterLogic eliminates print servers completely and permanently, we mean it.

All the Features (and More), None of the Infrastructure

Okay, so we know that PrinterLogic’s serverless printing eliminates print servers for good. How does serverless print management with PrinterLogic SaaS stack up against the status quo?

  • Maintenance-free. When you eliminate print servers, you don’t just get rid of physical infrastructure. You eliminate all the licensing, migration and other headaches that they entail.
  • Automatic upgrades. Like true SaaS solutions, updates to PrinterLogic’s serverless printing infrastructure are automated and seamless. That means your print environment always has access to the latest fixes and features.
  • Truly universal. More than just a serverless print server, PrinterLogic works with any printer, any OS and any VDI. Compatibility with your current and future IT environment just isn’t a concern.
  • Secure by design. Our serverless secure printing avoids common attack vectors because there are no shared print queues. And PrinterLogic’s robust direct IP architecture keeps confidential data on the LAN.

Hardened Security That’s Easy to Implement and User-Friendly

Considering the overlooked importance of print security, it’s worth highlighting that last point to appreciate just how secure PrinterLogic SaaS is.

  • PrinterLogic SaaS is AWS-hosted and therefore meets rigorous standards for security and compliance.
  • Eliminating print servers removes their inherent vulnerabilities. PrinterLogic’s serverless printing is the only way to eliminate print servers without sacrificing functionality and ease of management.
  • Features like serverless pull printing and secure release printing are now augmented by simple badge release and offline secure print release in PrinterLogic SaaS.
  • Plus there are many other release options for serverless secure printing. These include multifactor authentication (MFA) such as CAC/PIV as well as native control panel apps.
  • Integration with leading cloud-based identity providers (IdPs) such as Okta and Azure AD means users’ credentials are strong and centrally managed with the help of security experts.
  • Ours is the only print management software that’s been certified to meet with stringent U.S. government security standards like FIPS 140-2.
  • As security isn’t effective unless end users adopt it, we’ve always put a lot of emphasis on usability. PrinterLogic’s serverless pull printing, for example, is super easy for them to make a part of their everyday printing workflow.

Schedule a Risk-Free, Cost-Free Demo

The best way to understand exactly how these benefits play out in the real world is to see our serverless printing infrastructure in action. And the best way to do that is to schedule a demo of PrinterLogic SaaS. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to sign up. After that, you can deploy PrinterLogic as a proof of concept in your own environment entirely free of charge for 30 days.

You’ll quickly discover that PrinterLogic is efficient, flexible, secure, scalable and reliable—everything that printing should be, and everything that server-based printing isn’t.

That’s why PrinterLogic SaaS isn’t just print management software in the cloud. It’s better to think of it as what print management looks like on cloud nine.

The Downfalls of Multi-Vendor Printers and a Cloud-Based (SaaS) Enterprise Printing Solution to Achieve a Secure Printing Infrastructure

There are plenty of ways that companies can wind up with multi-vendor printer fleets.

Sometimes it’s an unintentional accumulation of printers from a variety of manufacturers over the years. This is a common outcome of mergers and acquisitions.

Other times it’s deliberate, because different printers serve different enterprise printing needs. For instance, healthcare organizations need certain printers for specialized tasks, and they might not all come from a single manufacturer.

No matter how they originate, there’s one thing that multi-vendor print environments have in common: Print management is anything but easy. And print servers don’t really help. They often just make the problem worse.

The potential downfalls

Besides the challenges of basic print management, a multi-vendor print environment has other potential downfalls. Here are a few:

  • They’re inconsistent. Different printers have different printing procedures. This makes it hard for end users to settle into a standardized enterprise printing workflow. If there’s a problem, it can also add to end users’ confusion.
  • They’re inefficient. It’s not just end users who struggle with printer fleets that have equipment from several vendors. Hybrid fleets can limit the productivity of IT professionals too. That’s because the more moving parts there are, the more IT has to keep track of. And the more things that can go wrong.
  • They’re expensive. Some companies assume that multi-vendor printer fleets are easier on the budget. That might be true for the initial cost of purchase. But when extra resources go into supporting the various makes and models, the costs of print management can drive TCO upward.
  • They’re risky. Not all vendors implement security the same way. A printer from Vendor A could have security features that a similar printer from Vendor B lacks. Which makes it tough for IT to implement tight print security in a uniform way across the company, which opens up vulnerabilities.

So what does all this mean? If you’ve got a diverse fleet of printers, are you out of luck? Do you have to get rid of it to overcome these limitations?

Nope.

There’s a better way to manage printing

You can enjoy pain-free print management without having to ditch your multi-vendor printer fleet.

Better yet, you can eliminate print servers to achieve a reduction in print infrastructure at the same time.

PrinterLogic’s serverless enterprise printing infrastructure is how. Whether your printers come from one vendor or one dozen, it brings benefits like:

  • Management of all printers from one place. PrinterLogic’s admin console lets you oversee and control printer objects from a single pane of glass. There’s no need to administer multiple print servers or use switch between different solutions to access different printer pools.
  • A more uniform printing process. Because PrinterLogic is vendor and platform agnostic, it’s easier for IT to create more consistency among a diverse printer fleet. And it’s easier on end users, too, because it means their enterprise printing workflows are more consistent.
  • Higher print security across the entire infrastructure. With PrinterLogic, pretty much any network printer can be used for secure release printing. So you not only get more mileage out of your legacy machines. You also get a higher level of print security across the board.
  • Streamlined updates. Want to update print drivers for an entire user group? No problem. PrinterLogic’s common repository makes it super easy to deploy new drivers. Want to update PrinterLogic to enjoy the latest and greatest features? That’s super easy too. Our SaaS solution gets seamless automatic updates.
  • The ability to get out of response mode. The days of damage control are over—at least as far as enterprise printing goes. When you eliminate print servers, you can stop throwing IT resources at print management and support calls and refocus on efficiency and optimization.
  • Advanced enterprise printing features. Mobile/BYOD printing seems like an impossibility with a multi-vendor printer fleet. PrinterLogic’s self-service printer installation portal and optional mobile printing unify your mix of printers with features that end users love.

Independent Photocopier Services (IPS) is a perfect example of what PrinterLogic SaaS is capable of. This MSP in Dublin, Ireland provides print management and enterprise printing services for several high-profile companies.

Using PrinterLogic SaaS, IPS is able to support its customers’ hybrid printer fleets, eliminate their print servers and enjoy comprehensive print management with a single, secure cloud-based solution. Read the case study here.

Whether you’re an MSP or a global enterprise, it’s easy to test PrinterLogic SaaS and all its features in your multi-vendor print environment today.

How to Resolve the Greatest Pain Points in Enterprise Printing

As humans, our brains are hardwired to avoid pain. We have a natural urge to pull back our hand if it gets too close to a flame. We instinctively walk gingerly on our leg if it’s injured. We sometimes even go out of our way to avoid uncomfortable situations.

Which is why it’s kind of surprising that we continue to put up with so many constant pain points in enterprise printing. Legacy printing solutions like print servers were never perfect. But these days the pain they cause is more acute because the enterprise is evolving to leverage cloud and mobile trends. Printing solutions that can’t keep pace end up affecting morale, productivity and the bottom line.

As we’ll see, PrinterLogic’s serverless printing streamlines print management and future-proofs the enterprise print environment by eliminating print servers. But first let’s briefly revisit why and how print servers are responsible for causing so much headache.

What are the biggest pain points in enterprise printing?

Any IT professional who’s involved in print management can probably list a dozen pain points that they endure on a daily basis. Broadly speaking, though, there are three categories that have the biggest overall impact.

High printing costs: There are so many contributors to this issue that it would take several white papers to describe them all. One common contributor is end users printing unnecessary color jobs. Or sending jobs to the wrong printer. Or forgetting to claim jobs they’ve already printed. And then there’s the cost of all the management and support overhead for printer deployments, installations, print-server maintenance, troubleshooting and so on.

An overwhelmed IT support desk: Printer issues make up a disproportionate percentage of helpdesk tickets. When basic print management (e.g., printer deployments, driver updates) already takes up so much time, it’s easy for extra support requests to put IT in chronic damage-control mode. IT then takes a productivity hit, as do all the end users who are stuck waiting on resolutions.

Employee dissatisfaction: If end users are frustrated by printing problems, they don’t pin the blame on the printing solutions. They blame IT. That results in an adversarial “us versus them” mindset—a sense that their coworkers and the company’s technology is working against them when it should be empowering them. That’s not healthy for morale.

How exactly does PrinterLogic’s serverless printing relieve those pain points? 

Through its serverless printing infrastructure, PrinterLogic creates a unique pairing of centralized management and direct IP printing. That gives it the ability to address all the factors that contribute to pain points in enterprise printing.

  • Simplifies printing in virtual environments: Unlike printing solutions that want to force their own methods (with unpredictable results), PrinterLogic seamlessly enhances the native print functionality of VDI environments like Citrix and VMware.
  • Increases security and reduces waste: PrinterLogic can automatically default printers to black and white after every print job. You can also set up enterprise-wide secure release printing to ensure that documents aren’t abandoned by end users and that they remain confidential. 
  • Streamlines printer driver management and deployment: A common driver repository is just one more benefit of centralized management. Deploy, update or roll back drivers individually or in bulk. All from a single pane of glass.
  • Prints from any mobile device to any network printer: A lot of IT departments are still trying to figure out how to implement intuitive, reliable printing from smartphones and BYOD devices. PrinterLogic’s mobile printing is the answer.
  • Offers powerful reporting and alerting features: Visibility into the print environment doesn’t stop with deployments. PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting can email comprehensive periodic reports on print activity to decision makers.
  • Eliminates print-related WAN traffic: Serverless printing using direct IP means that print jobs travel straight from the client to the printer. That keeps bandwidth-hungry print data on the local network.
  • Gets rid of scripting and GPOs: PrinterLogic does away with the need for custom scripts and convoluted Group Policy configurations. Enjoy faster logons and easy-to-configure advanced deployments using Active Directory criteria.

It all comes down to eliminating print servers

By eliminating print servers, PrinterLogic simplifies tedious print management and cuts down on expensive print infrastructure. Just the potential ROI alone might be reason enough to migrate. But PrinterLogic’s ease of use and scalability are what make it ideal for organizations looking for permanent relief from enterprise printing pain points.

Navicent Health faced an especially challenging situation. This healthcare nonprofit had a distributed print environment that was complicated by a fleet of VMware thin clients and a Cerner EMR solution. Group Policy deployments only made things worse. The management team had to create dozens of printing sub-environments, and the helpdesk was deluged with support tickets. Talk about painful.

Serverless printing with PrinterLogic was the remedy. PrinterLogic streamlined deployments, driver updates and profile changes, which in turn drastically reduced the number of support tickets. And that led to PrinterLogic paying for itself in roughly seven months. Read the case study here.

No matter what printing solutions you’re currently using, and no matter how distributed or large your environment, PrinterLogic can help your organization kill the pain of enterprise printing. Best of all, the cure is instant. Sign up today for a free, 30-day demo of our serverless printing infrastructure and see how quickly it can turn pain into pleasure.

PrinterLogic SaaS and Cloud-based Identity Providers (IdP)

PrinterLogic, the world leader in Serverless Printing Infrastructure (SPI), has announced General Availability of Version 1 of its integrations with the cloud-based IdPs Okta and Azure AD. For PrinterLogic SaaS customers, this release provides support for SAML 2.0-based federated authentication. 

PrinterLogic gives organizations the ability to eliminate print servers and provides a centrally managed direct IP print infrastructure. PrinterLogic publishes two distinct web pages and installs a client on end-user workstations to communicate with the server and facilitate printing.

To function properly all these elements have the need for user authentication and authorization. This blog explains where the integration points are.

No more Active Directory

The PrinterLogic web-based Admin Console enables administrators to centrally manage both printer and driver deployments by users and groups. This console supports role-based access control (RBAC) so admins have access rights only to the information they need. Traditionally, PrinterLogic SaaS has relied on Active Directory and LDAP to authenticate admins and automate deployment of printers to end users.

PrinterLogic’s Self-service Installation Portal enables end users to perform routine printer installs by themselves with a single click, and traditionally relies on their AD identity to grant them access to only the printers they are allowed to install.

Windows and Mac clients also traditionally rely on the user’s AD identity to perform their tasks such as installing and removing printers and/or new profiles.

What is a cloud-based IdP?

Cloud-based IdPs allow IT admins to deliver SaaS applications securely and to the right person. Identity management also supports Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) and Single Sign-on (SSO). 

Authentication and Authorization are both common terms in the world of Identity and Access Management (IAM). Cloud-based IdP is a subset of this larger IAM market space.

Authentication is the act of validating that users are who they claim to be, while Authorization is the process of giving the user permission to access a specific resource or function. Authorization is often used interchangeably with Access Control or Client Privilege.

SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) is an XML-based standard used for exchanging authentication and authorization data between an IdP and a Service Provider (SP). The SP is typically a cloud-based application, and in Figure 1 below the SP is PrinterLogic.

In an SSO system, a user logs in once to the system and can access multiple systems without being prompted to sign in for each one.

PrinterLogic SaaS support for IdP

PrinterLogic SaaS is part of the Okta Integration Network (OIN) as both a SAML- and Provisioning-enabled Application. It is also part of the Microsoft Azure App Gallery. 

Online documentation is available for Azure AD and Okta to help IT teams configure PrinterLogic for integration with these services.

Figure 1 illustrates the integration between PrinterLogic SaaS and a cloud-based IdP.

Figure 1: Integration between PrinterLogic SaaS and a Cloud-based IdP.

How IdPs and PrinterLogic work together

The flow of communication between the the IdP and PrinterLogic is as follows:

  1. The end user logs into PrinterLogic SaaS Self Service Portal via a web browser.
  2. PrinterLogic SaaS generates a SAML authentication request and redirects the browser to the IdP’s SSO portal.
  3. The end user enters their credentials and requests authentication from the IdP.
  4. The IdP parses the SAML request and authenticates the end user.
  5. The IdP generates an encoded SAML response and returns it to PrinterLogic SaaS.
  6. PrinterLogic SaaS authorizes the client and grants access to the Self Service Portal.

There are two separate sign-in flows through which authentication can be handled by SAML, both of which are supported by PrinterLogic SaaS. 

  1. The first known as an SP-initiated flow, occurs when the user attempts to sign in to a SAML-enabled SP via its login page. Instead of prompting the user to enter a password, an SP that has been configured to use SAML will redirect the user to the IdP which will then handle the authentication and redirect the user back to the SP as a verified user.
  2. The second flow is known as an IdP-initiated flow. This occurs when the user logs into the IdP and launches the SP application by clicking its icon from their home page. If the user has an account on the SP side, they will be authenticated as a user of the application and will generally be delivered to its default landing page, which in the case of PrinterLogic is the Self-service Installation Portal page.

PrinterLogic SaaS IdP integration also supports the System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM), which allows for the automation of user provisioning. When changes to identities are made in the IdP, including create, update, and delete, they are automatically synced to the SP in real-time according to the SCIM protocol.

A look at Version 1’s functionalities

Version 1 of IdP integration supports the following core functionalities of PrinterLogic SaaS:

  • Support for Windows and Mac workstations
  • Access to the Admin Console and full RBAC
  • Full Reporting
  • Deployments by User or Group
  • Portal Security by User or Group
  • User login via IdP Website
  • Adding/Removing IdP Groups
  • Adding/Removing IdP Users

Version 2 of the PrinterLogic IdP integration will support Secure Printing while Version 3 will support the Mobile Printing modules. These updates will be automatically delivered to PrinterLogic SaaS customers later in 2020.

Support for Google Cloud Identity is also set for later in 2020, which combined with the recent release of the PrinterLogic Chrome OS Client Extension, will provide a robust solution for Chrome OS printing and give enterprises a uniform print experience independent of end user operating systems.

Seamless integration with PrinterLogic

PrinterLogic SaaS now integrates seamlessly with leading cloud-based IdPs, ensuring customers secure, appropriate and convenient user access to cloud-based networks and applications. Organizations already standardized on a cloud-based IdP can confidently take advantage of PrinterLogic’s infrastructure reduction, centralized printer management, and secure print benefits.

You can start a PrinterLogic SaaS trial here. For more information on IdP, see our Printerlogic-IdP integration FAQ here.

To talk with someone at PrinterLogic in North America, phone 1. 435.652.1288. Click here for international contact information.