What is Serverless Printing?

*UPDATE: Originally published March  24, 2020*

There’s a widespread assumption that enterprise print management goes hand-in-hand with print servers. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

At PrinterLogic, we’re all about challenging conventional wisdom. We’ve shown thousands of customers that serverless print management is not only possible, it’s actually superior to traditional enterprise print management solutions because it avoids many of the fundamental weaknesses that print servers introduce. That’s why “eliminate print servers” is our mantra.

Serverless Printing Benefits 

You’re probably asking yourself, “Why should I opt for a serverless print environment?” In this article, we’re here to answer that very question by breaking down the five leading benefits of serverless printing, including:

  1. Removing single points of failure
  2. Reducing WAN traffic
  3. Managing printing from a single pane of glass
  4. Making printing more secure
  5. Gaining next-level features

We promise you’ll thank us later. 

  1. Remove Single Points of Failure

First off, serverless printing solutions remove single points of failure. When a print server goes down, it affects more than print operations and can bring an entire office to a complete halt. With PrinterLogic, you’re able to avoid this because our solution is inherently redundant; end users can continue printing uninterrupted—even in the event of a WAN outage or a host server failure.

This constant availability is virtually unheard of in environments that continue to rely on print servers. 

  1. Reduce WAN Traffic

Traditionally, print servers place a heavy load on the WAN. A serverless print solution like PrinterLogic drastically reduces print-related WAN overhead, allowing your employees to print directly from end-point devices. That means individual print jobs–totaling dozens or even hundreds of megabytes–aren’t crossing the WAN throughout the day. By cutting down the network congestion from print-related traffic, it accelerates print processes as well as basic Web access. That makes for a nice productivity boost that employees will appreciate.

Now for the cherry on top, PrinterLogic also integrates with caching technologies to further reduce its WAN footprint. When you’re deploying or updating drivers enterprise-wide or just in select departments, you can cache them locally to sidestep cross-WAN driver downloading.

  1. Manage Print From a Single Pane of Glass

Day-to-day management of traditional print environments is complex and tedious. The PrinterLogic solution gives you centralized, at-a-glance control of your entire print environment all from a single pane of glass. Deploying printers? You can do it automatically, enterprise-wide—without the need for GPOs, scripting, or other time-consuming workarounds to accommodate print servers. Modifying printers? You can make individual or batch edits by simply ticking a box or using the handy find-and-replace feature.

Ready for the kicker? End users can perform routine printer installs themselves with a single click–no IT assistance required. Try that with traditional print server solutions!

  1. Make It Serverless and Secure

If you’re worried about the strength of security with a serverless print approach, fear not!
PrinterLogic’s intuitive central management makes it easy for you to configure printer assignments, so you can fine-tune authorizations for users and printers. Our solution actually makes printing more convenient and transparent for the end user, while also giving you more granular control over permissions—meaning an increase in security along with ease of use. It’s a win-win! 

  1. Enjoy Additional Features 

Now that remote work is swiftly becoming the norm, we’ve got you covered with additional serverless printing features to help you quickly adapt to modern workstations. Learn more about Off-Network Printing, Secure Release Printing, and advanced reporting capabilities on the blog

Serverless print management might not be the only way to approach enterprise printing, but here at PrinterLogic, we’re confident it’s the best.

Zero Trust: What Is It? How Does It Work? Why Should I Use It?

The recent uptick in remote work has highlighted both the promise and the pitfalls of our connected world. Many of the same technologies that give work-from-home employees and contractors access to enterprise networks also create gaps that hackers and other malicious actors can exploit.

To lock down network security without causing productivity to take a hit, Zero Trust has emerged as a best practice and policy of choice for many organizations.


What is Zero Trust?

The origins of Zero Trust are rooted in the shortcomings of traditional network security methods.

Since the early days of enterprise risk management, organizations have typically taken a classic defensive approach to network security. There’s an internal network (the LAN), an external network (the WAN) and a protective firewall separating the two. Anything inside the firewall is trusted. Anything outside is untrusted.

The complexity of modern IT networks and the fluidity of today’s workplaces have proven challenging to this vaguely medieval “inside/outside” mindset. For example, this simple binary design doesn’t suit remote workers who need offsite access to internal resources. And what about contractors who might be physically inside the building but don’t merit full access privileges?

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, offer one way to expand the internal network to include this new class of mobile users. From a security management standpoint, the major problem with VPNs is that they implicitly assume trust. If an attacker manages to gain VPN credentials or exploit the VPN connection, that attacker has more or less unrestricted access to the internal network.

IT professionals therefore started looking for a viable VPN replacement. Zero Trust arose as a more identity based, hardline approach to network security that accommodates the nuance of the modern workplace and its dynamic mobile workforce.

Zero Trust is inherently more skeptical than traditional perimeter network approaches. Rather than eagerly award users with sweeping access to large portions of the internal network, the first instinct in a zero-trust environment is to withhold blanket access and instead grant it only on an as-needed basis to business-critical network resources. This is often called the least privilege model.


How does Zero Trust work?

The first implementations of Zero Trust network access (ZTNA) took a micro-segmentation approach. This made sense as an updated form of risk management, but the underlying inside/outside rationale didn’t change significantly.

As a result, micro-segmentation mainly served to fragment the internal network into smaller perimeter-bound networks that were further subdivided into cloud and on-prem architectures. This worked well enough as a VPN alternative but had the drawback of decreasing network-wide visibility and increasing admin overhead.

Today, the emphasis in ZTNA has shifted more from the how to the who. It’s not about developing complex blueprints for network compartmentalization or the finicky process of creating walls within walls. Instead it’s about verifying trusted users through their identity. That identity—validated by single sign-on (SSO) solutions, cloud-based identity providers (IdPs), or multifactor authentication (MFA)—becomes the basis for determining which resources users are allowed to access.

This has multiple advantages:

  • Tighter, more consistent security management at the gateway
  • Restricted access, even among trusted users, to lateral resources or low-level core infrastructure
  • Better support for hybrid networks that make use of cloud and on-prem solutions
  • A more curated experience for end users stripped of unnecessary functionality
  • Seamless, secure access for remote workers and contractors alongside onsite employees

Within that broad identity-based approach, ZTNA policies can vary depending on the organization or the user pool. They can require end-to-end encryption of all network communications. They can enforce “hygiene” checks by inspecting devices and data streams for malware during authentication or on an ongoing basis. Or they can prioritize the uniformity of the trusted user experience regardless of network location.


Who should use Zero Trust?

Every organization, large or small, can benefit from ZTNA. From agencies that need to allow regular contractor printing to global enterprises with ever-growing fleets of mobile devices, Zero Trust offers a secure, flexible path to better network security and improved risk management.

What form ZTNA ultimately takes will be up to each organization. If they’re looking for VPN alternatives that can scale to support large numbers of remote workers, they might want to explore ZTNA solutions centered around cloud-based digital workspaces. If zero-trust printing is the priority, then solutions that allow for off-network printing will be a logical choice. And if an organization’s business model is heavily reliant on IoT devices, ZTNA will naturally look quite a bit different from the other two.

Regardless of use case, however, Zero Trust is fast becoming the de facto network security standard. The NSA has recently endorsed Zero Trust policies and published detailed guidance on adopting ZTNA models. According to a Deloitte poll in mid-2020, more than 70% of organizations said that ZTNA adoption had either remained on pace or accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. All this speaks to the value of Zero Trust and its recognition as critical security practice going forward.