How do I send jobs to a printer in the office when I’m working from home or on a different network?

New network strategies pose printing challenges

In the past, users accessed network printers via onsite network login credentials and Virtual Private Network (VPN) software. However, new network security measures and more reliance on remote workers and contractors have led to the prevalent use of Zero Trust Network Access. With Zero Trust, even regular full-time employees can reside on different networks from data servers and printers.

PrinterLogic offers new functionality that addresses the IT challenges resulting from these changes. The company’s new Off-Network Printing feature, available now on its SaaS and Virtual Appliance platforms, lets you keep printers on your most secure networks while allowing all workers to print—no matter what network they’re on. This makes printing easier for contractors, BYOD guests, and affiliate partners without resorting to VPNs or web portals.

How Off-Network Printing works

Off-Network Printing allows end users to print documents to printers located inside corporate networks and firewalls without having direct access to the network where printers reside.   PrinterLogic lets these users authenticate and make a connection from outside the corporate firewall to internal printer assets. IT admins can isolate a network where printers reside, but where employees, contractors, and guests cannot join for security reasons. 

There are two components in the solution: The external gateway and the internal routing service, which can be configured in several different ways, depending on the customer’s needs.

The external gateway

Typically, PrinterLogic sends print jobs via direct IP over TCP port 9100 to a printer on the same network. When configured for Off-Network Printing, PrinterLogic transmits the print job (encrypted over HTTPS port 443) over the Internet using an external gateway, where it’s then routed to a printer behind the organization’s firewall. 

The internal routing service

We complete the Off-Network Printing circuit by configuring an internal routing service. This service consists of at least one computer collocated on the network where the printer resides. It’s behind the organization’s firewall and is connected over HTTPS port 443 to the PrinterLogic-hosted gateway in the cloud. Multiple internal routing services offer failover protection and load-balancing for incoming print jobs. Print jobs originating at the end user’s workstation are routed immediately and are never at rest. 

All print job rendering and spooling occur on the end user workstation using a native print driver. Thus, PrinterLogic works with any kind of networked printer—laser, inkjet, large format, label printer—from any printer manufacturer. There’s no need to accept compromised universal printer drivers or rely on PDF conversion. Users get the output quality and complete printing feature set available on that device.

Is Off-Network Printing secure?

You might ask: How can this be secure? The PrinterLogic instance is a SaaS application hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). IT managers still control the deployment of printer objects to workstations, users, security groups, or network segments. They also control whether or not users can print via direct IP or over HTTPS. 

PrinterLogic’s Secure Release Printing is available for organizations that want even more protection for confidential data. With secure release, the user initiates a print job and then releases it only when they are physically standing by the printer. They identify themselves by swiping a badge, entering a PIN code, or even using a release app on their phone. 

The IT manager configures secure printing in the PrinterLogic management portal. Cloud identity and access providers are supported (e.g., Azure AD, Okta, Google Admin, and more).

Competing solutions are often more complex and costly because they depend on an on-premises print server infrastructure or even a cloud-hosted print server. PrinterLogic offers an enterprise-class, completely serverless secure network printing solution that works in any location, for any user workstation, and with any sort of networked printer.

Typical use cases for Off-Network Printing

There are at least four use cases for Off-Network Printing:

  1. Organizations that are adopting Zero Trust and using a suite of SaaS applications or IaaS desktop environments. Employees can access apps and resources but not the underlying network. When it comes time to print, IT needs a solution that maintains network security while meeting its employees’ printing needs.
  2. Employees who are working remotely. Employees use a company-managed workstation or laptop at their home office, but their workflow still requires printing at the main office for distribution or editing.
  3. Organizations that employ onsite contractors. These workers come to the office but aren’t allowed on the corporate network where printers reside. Rather, they are allowed on a guest network with limited access. Even still, they need access to the company’s printers to complete their work.
  4. Business-affiliate printing. A nurse employed by a hospital’s affiliate clinic needs to print a prescription using the hospital’s medical records (EMR) software. The clinic is an independent business and is not connected to the hospital’s secure network.

As the ranks of remote workers grow along with the demand for remote printing, PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing lets you maintain tight, Zero-Trust security while ensuring convenient access to company MFPs. For more details on configurations and scenarios, check out our white paper, or better yet, hop over to our website where you can set up a demo.

Benefits of the Epic Connector for Healthcare Organizations

​​At this time in history, all eyes are on the healthcare industry as the global pandemic forges on. In a field where each second is valuable, there isn’t time for outdated and time-consuming print processes.

During these turbulent times, we at PrinterLogic decided to focus on how we could help IT administrators working in healthcare do their jobs more effectively. After attending the 2021 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition, we’re confident our newest integration, the Epic Connector, will improve the health of print environments and allow IT professionals to take back more control.

Streamline Your Infrastructure

Forget about those long days of deploying and managing duplicate drivers and queues. The Epic Connector simplifies these processes so administrators can now manage all print settings from a single centralized Admin Console. 

With Epic, you no longer need multiple, expensive EMR print licenses or staff to handle significant issues. And forget waiting for outside intervention on updates or changes. Instead, everything can be managed from a single pane of glass. You’ll save both time and money by eliminating unnecessary labor and equipment expenses.

Every moment matters in a healthcare environment, and our goal is to simplify printing infrastructure across the board to make it easier to focus on patients.

Advance Your Safety and Security

This new output management process enhances security within your printing environment in addition to improving efficiency. We know the importance of privacy for both your organization and its patients, which is why print jobs are kept local and secure when managed through a single Admin Console.

Security for end users is also offered with our serverless print management solution. This includes Secure Release printing, an advanced feature that keeps a print job locked until the user personally retrieves it at the printer by entering a personal user ID/PIN. 

In addition, Secure Pull Printing includes a touchless option to reduce the use of shared surfaces while keeping any Protected Health Information (PHI) tightly controlled. Instead of entering a code directly into the printer, the end user can simply scan a personal QR code using their smartphone through our mobile app, or swipe their employee badge to obtain their documents.

Reduce Your Complex Processes While Increasing Output

At a time when healthcare workers are having to bounce between multiple hospitals and clinics, it’s unrealistic for EMR administrators to grant network access individually.

For example, a nurse employed by a hospital’s affiliate clinic needs to print a prescription using the hospital’s medical records (EMR) software. The clinic is an independent business and is not connected to the hospital’s secure network. With the Off-Network Printing feature from Epic, the nurse is able to make the connection from outside the corporate firewall to internal printer assets, all without involving EMR administrators. 

What was previously a persistent, time-consuming problem is now a streamlined process managed solely from one pane of glass. 

Gone are the days of frustrating, back-and-forth correspondence between hospital staff and administrators. It’s time to take back control of your printing environment by simplifying and automating print processes with the integration of the PrinterLogic Epic Connector

Zero Trust Security and How to Implement Off-Network Printing

Remote working was initially an unexpected turn of events in early 2020 in response to the global pandemic; however, it quickly became an effective option for the workplace—or lack thereof. IDC has predicted that mobile workers will come to dominate the US workforce over the next four years. By 2024, their number is expected to hit 93.5 million, up from today’s 78.5 million. Although workers have adapted to working from home, it often comes with its own set of challenges. 


Challenges Remote Employees Face

Sometimes mobile and remote workers need remote printing and on-demand network access. In IT circles, that access is known to carry certain risks. According to an article in IT Brief, more than 80% of IT leaders surveyed by Tessian expressed concern that their company could be more vulnerable to cyberattacks due to staff who are working from home.

Those and other findings—including a worrying rise in user-facilitated phishing attacks—were revealed in Tessian’s report titled Securing the Future of Hybrid Working.

For a growing number of organizations, the way to balance remote collaboration and security is through Zero Trust.


About Zero Trust

We now know employees have accessible printing capabilities outside of the workplace, but what is Zero Trust and how is it going to keep your network secure? Let’s break it down. 

Like its name suggests, Zero Trust is an approach that says end users and vital IT infrastructure shouldn’t mix.

In a Zero Trust environment, mission-critical infrastructure like servers and printers reside on their own tightly controlled network. This internal network is kept separate from the employee network. Denying access (rather than granting it) is the default. Server and printer access are only permitted as necessary based on user ID and other identifying criteria.

Since Zero Trust entails strict separation, it would seem to be at odds with remote collaboration and work-from-home policies. But that’s not true. Let’s explore how this environment works well with the example of remote printing. 


Remote Printing Can Coexist with Zero Trust

PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing bridges the gap between hardened security practices and a seamless printing experience for remote workers. Even when those users are on different networks, they can safely send their print jobs to authorized printers behind the company firewall. Their native print workflows remain the same.

To do that, PrinterLogic’s serverless printing infrastructure uses two components: an External Gateway and an Internal Routing Service. The first receives the off-network print jobs from the user’s remote workstation. The second detects and relays those incoming print jobs to internal printers. 

The solution is highly secure: Data is encrypted before it is routed through the internet and is not unencrypted until it’s behind the organization’s firewall and on the network where the printer is located.

That enables use cases such as:

  • Zero Trust networks. As Zero Trust becomes more widely adopted in the enterprise, organizations need to support remote printing without inconveniencing end users.
  • Onsite contractors. Fixed-term employees like contractors and freelancers are often limited to guest network access. But they still need local printer access.
  • Business-affiliate printing. This is common in healthcare scenarios. Here, an independent affiliate (like a hospital clinic), needs to print remotely to the partner organization’s secure primary network.

PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing is available with PrinterLogic SaaS as well as PrinterLogic’s Virtual Appliance.


Further Benefits of PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing

Creating a more seamless and secure environment for mobile and work-from-home employees to print remotely is just the start. PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing brings additional advantages, too. These include:

  • Reduced infrastructure. By eliminating the need for VPNs and external portals to provide printer access, Off-network Printing cuts down on costs and complexity.
  • High availability. PrinterLogic is part of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. That helps to augment reliability through optimized routing of print jobs and added redundancy.
  • Mobility and remote collaboration. No matter where team members are, they can all print to the same devices as long as they’re connected to the Internet.

As the ranks of remote workers grow in tandem with the demand for remote printing, PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing lets you maintain tight, Zero Trust security while ensuring convenient access to company MFPs. For more details on configurations and scenarios, be sure to read our white paper on Off-Network Printing.