What Is Pull Printing?

Sprinting to the printer to pick up a confidential document can get anyone’s heart pounding. Sure, it’s great exercise. But have you ever thought, “There has to be a better way to do this?”

There is. And it’s called pull printing. 

You may have heard of pull printing before or one of its thousands of other monikers like follow-me printing, secure printing, or tap and print—to name a few. 

But what exactly is pull printing? And is it the right fit for you? 

 

Defining Pull Printing

Pull printing is a two-step verification for your print jobs. In the first step, a user initiates the job from a workstation or a mobile device in the same way as they ordinarily would. In the second, that same user permits the destination printer to execute the job.

However, when we place so much emphasis on streamlining the printing process, what’s the point of adding an extra step?

In a word: security

Pull printing ensures that classified documents, or those not intended for wider circulation, aren’t left sitting next to the printer for anyone to see by making the initiation and the release of the job two deliberate actions. This is especially handy when a user wants to print a job at a printer located on another floor or in a completely different building—say, before a meeting or a presentation.

 

Reasons to Implement Pull Printing

We just mentioned security as the number one reason to use pull printing. But, the benefits of pull printing stretch far beyond that. Below are a few key reasons to implement pull printing for your organization:

 

Sustainability

Even the most polished writers make typos, let alone end users. The problem is, once a user clicks Print, it’s impossible to go back in time and redo the print job—and that paper goes straight to the bin. The same applies to accidentally printing duplicates. Pull printing holds print jobs in the queue until users are ready to release them, making it easier to cancel unwanted jobs before they fall into the print tray. 

 

Fewer Helpdesk Calls

When IT is worrying less about printing, that’s a good thing. Equipping your printers with pull printing capabilities allows users to walk to another printer to release their print job when their go-to printer is down. This keeps users productive and doesn’t cause printing to come to a complete stop. Yes, IT will have to address the printer problem eventually, but you won’t get the same call four or five times about the same printer.

 

Simplicity

Printing should be a mindless process. Pull printing keeps printing simple for end users despite the added step. Gone are the days of running to the printer or panicking that someone will swipe your document. Think of it this way: When the user clicks print, the print job is placed in their back pocket until they are ready to release it. On top of that, users can pick up their print jobs in bulk and choose any pull-printing compatible printer they’d like to release their jobs. It’s simple, it’s efficient, and users hardly notice the extra step. 

 

Cut Costs

Print costs pile up in a variety of ways. But none hurt your bottom line more than paper and ink waste. One study estimates that 30% of print jobs never leave the print tray. That’s 30% that companies could save on consumables by holding print jobs in a queue before releasing them. Electricity consumption also drops because your printers are less active.

 

Printer Reduction

Every IT team dreams of having fewer printers, and pull printing allows you to minimize your printer fleet by removing individual desktop printers. Instead, end users can utilize shared printers to release their print jobs at their discretion without the risk of their documents being seen by wandering eyes. Removing local printers doesn’t sacrifice security, either. Pull printing helps companies maintain compliance standards and decreases attack surfaces by helping you reduce print infrastructure. 

 

Pull Printing with PrinterLogic

With PrinterLogic’s pull printing functionality, known as Secure Release Printing, users can print and issue the “pull” command to release the print job using one of four secure methods:

 

Touchless printing (QR code release): Using the QR code reader within the PrinterLogic Print Release App, simply scan the QR code on the printer directly from the default camera on the device. Users can then select the print job they want to release within the app.  

Web browser: Any device capable of running a browser—PC, Mac, Chromebook, or any mobile device—can release print jobs securely using PrinterLogic’s web-based app. For example, you can put an iPad or an affordable netbook near an active printer group and use it as a pull printing release station.

Badge/card reader: An external badge reader is placed at the printer, or a device already integrated into the printer itself is used. The reader integrates with your existing badge system to release the pulled print jobs at the authorized printer. It’s also compatible with CAC/PIV card certificates. 

Control panel application: With this method, the PrinterLogic app is installed directly onto a supported printer, allowing users to log in and release their print jobs directly from the device’s built-in display. Like QR Code Release, this method doesn’t require additional hardware.

 

PrinterLogic’s serverless printing solution allows you to leverage Secure Release Printing and implement modern secure print solutions to help drive your business forward and keep your data and documents safe. 

Want to try Secure Release Printing for yourself? Request a demo and get a 30-day free trial of PrinterLogic’s Advanced Security features. 

 

Print Management in a Hybrid Environment

Hybrid print environments can take many forms. 

For instance, one hybrid environment might comprise a mix of new and legacy printing devices. Another might be a combination of mobile and desktop users. Yet another hybrid environment might piecemeal together printing software or print management services to serve the unique requirements of different user pools. It’s not uncommon for some hybrid environments to include a little bit of all of the above.

But the burning question is: How do you simplify print management in hybrid environments?

We’ll answer that. But first, let’s delve into the difficulties IT teams are facing.

 

The Problems With Print Management in Hybrid Environments

As workplaces move away from traditional desk-based models and become more varied, hybrid environments are increasingly the rule rather than the exception. That inevitably creates problems for IT, where standardization is typically the most efficient and reliable way to administer the organization’s hardware and software infrastructure.

However, standardizing your print management services can be difficult when your managed print environment is a kaleidoscope of printer makes and models interfacing with different operating systems, client devices, and users.

One of the biggest challenges to pain-free print management is user acceptance. Adopting a uniform printing software solution might be welcomed by the IT staff, but if it means your end users have to compromise functionality or jump through extra hoops, that solution can quickly turn counterproductive. Users who are frustrated or confused (or both) by printing will inevitably call the helpdesk. Instead of proactively handling the organization’s managed print environment, admins and support staff are stuck reacting to printer issues and support tickets.

 

Creating the Ideal Hybrid-Managed Print Environment

A hybrid-managed print solution should be easy to administer, transparent to the end user, and improve the print workflow—irrespective of front-of-house variables like OS, department, client type, or printer model. Ideally, it should do these four things:

  1. Allow an organization to streamline infrastructure without sacrificing functionality and security. 
  2. Enable admins to oversee and maintain their managed print environments from a single pane of glass. 
  3. Provide powerful print management services and advanced functionality without resulting in a lumbering Frankenstein of add-ons and third-party software.
  4. Extend printing capabilities to hybrid employees by offering an easy way to print to network printers instead of relying on vulnerable home office printers (nearly 66% of companies are worried that home office printers pose a risk to their security). 

Simply put, the perfect print management solution for today’s hybrid workforce unifies and streamlines the print environment while providing infinite scalability, incredible user-friendliness for admins and end users, and next-generation features like mobile and off-network printing.

 

The Solution: Serverless Print Management

Serverless print management software allows organizations to eliminate print servers from their managed print environments, removing the need to deploy, operate, maintain, and upgrade remote print infrastructure. At the same time, it integrates seamlessly with any existing printer fleet and many print management services, even in complex Citrix and VMware virtual environments, which allows for quick, smooth initial migrations followed by effortless administration from that point on.

All of this is possible with PrinterLogic.

PrinterLogic’s SaaS print management solution combines next-gen, centralized management with the proven reliability of direct IP printing. 

That means:

  • Admins escape the hassle of establishing every client–printer connection. And, unlike common alternatives to direct IP, PrinterLogic’s serverless platform eliminates print servers and removes their single points of failure.
  • Admins and authorized support staff can deploy printers and drivers according to criteria like Active Directory (AD), IP address range, and MAC addresses—without relying on GPOs or scripts
  • End users can install printers themselves through PrinterLogic’s Self-Service Installation Portal. Instead of choosing from long lists of printers, which increases the risk of incorrect installs, they can identify nearby printers using the optional floor plan maps and install them with just one click. This feature has reduced helpdesk calls by up to 95% for some organizations.

But how does serverless printing benefit IT teams and hybrid employees?

If your environment requires constant mobility and security, PrinterLogic offers various features that enhance the printing experience for hybrid employees, including:

Off-Network Printing: Empower hybrid employees to print to any network printer from the comfort of their home office, a cafe, or a hotel for later pick-up. Your print data doesn’t remain at rest in the cloud and stays encrypted until it is behind your organization’s firewall. This feature removes infrastructure costs like VPNs, hosting services, and external access portals. 

Mobile Printing: Enable users with any mobile device, regardless of OS, to print to authorized printers. There’s no client-side software to install, and it works with any new or legacy network printer. Mobile, BYOD, and guest users can print quickly, reliably, and easily to on-location printers no matter where they happen to be.

Secure Release Printing: Boost security with a two-step print-and-release workflow to ensure that end users are physically present to claim their jobs. Release options include CAC/PIV, badge or card readers, web browser, and ID/PIN entry at the control panel. In addition, PrinterLogic’s QR code release method allows for a secure, convenient pull printing release mechanism without investing in any dedicated print release infrastructure.

 

Get Stress-Free Print Management Free for 30 Days

Despite the nuances and complexities of hybrid environments, PrinterLogic removes the barriers that make it difficult for managed print environments to adapt. While realizing time and cost savings through their ability to eliminate print servers, our print software solutions empower end users, increase organizations’ flexibility, and equip them with a robust print management platform built for enterprises of all sizes.

To see firsthand how PrinterLogic can unify and enhance your hybrid print environment, request a demo for a free 30-day trial today.

Reduce Printing Costs With Effective Print Management Software

Many organizations begin researching print management solutions to eliminate (or avoid) print servers and introduce greater efficiency and simplicity into their print environment. That could be through features such as centralized administration, self-service printing for end users, auditing and tracking—or a combination of all of the above. 

 

What makes a print management software “cost-effective”?

The best print management software minimizes infrastructure and synergistically leverages modern print features to help companies reduce costs and increase return on investment (ROI). 

What’s often overlooked is that it takes a holistic system to generate maximum cost savings. A piecemeal approach through one or two discrete print management solutions that are limited in scope and function will only result in piecemeal cost reductions—not counting the fact that each solution also requires a separate investment.

In multiple case studies conducted by the independent research firm TechValidate, PrinterLogic is a print management solution that reduces printing costs and commonly generates an ROI of around 200% or more. A few more organizations have reported an ROI as high as 500%. 

But how does PrinterLogic’s SaaS solution help companies generate such an astronomical ROI?

Read on to find out how admins drive down costs with PrinterLogic. 

 

Elimination of Print Servers

Print servers aren’t just big fancy boxes in your server room. They cost money to install, maintain, upgrade, and replace. Quorcirca estimates the average cost to maintain and license a print server to be around $3400 yearly. Not a small number, especially when working with a few of them. What’s worse is the time and productivity wasted because of not-so-unexpected issues, including server crashes, failed deployments, and slow printing speeds. 

PrinterLogic replaces your print servers with a serverless, direct IP printing solution, eliminating all those financial outlays. Implementation is quick and easy, too. Using our automated migration tool, you can move all printer objects and drivers from your print servers to our centralized Admin Console—which we’ll cover more in the next section. 

 

Centralized Administration

After implementation, admins can manage, edit, create, and remove printers across the enterprise—no matter how distributed the print environment—from a single pane of glass. PrinterLogic is true SaaS print management software that gives you full visibility into and control over every printer in the organization, ultimately saving countless hours previously spent grappling with the finer points of printer management. 

On top of increased oversight, admins can identify underutilized printers to help minimize the company printer count and reduce electricity consumption. 

 

Self-Service Printing 

End users of all skill levels can easily view, identify, and install nearby printers themselves with an intuitive Self-Service Installation Portal. Users can simply open the customizable floor plan map or drop-down list to access nearby printers. Admins can add or subtract printers from the user’s view at any time within the Admin Console, helping eliminate unwarranted access to specialty printers or printers used by specific departments. 

This feature alone results in up to 95% fewer print-related helpdesk calls, saving time and boosting employee productivity. 

 

Comprehensive Tracking and Auditing

PrinterLogic provides a crystal-clear window into all aspects of your print environment—including the quantifiable details of page counts, ink and toner usage, and more. This alone can account for massive reductions in printing costs, as it provides a basis to monitor and address the individuals, groups, and departments responsible for the overuse of consumables. To keep executives informed on print costs and volume, admins can set up automated reports to be emailed monthly, quarterly, or yearly. 

 

Optimized Printer Uptime

In its ability to remove single points of failure and print-halting issues like driver conflicts, orphaned printers, and stuck jobs, PrinterLogic provides your organization with a print environment synonymous with rock-solid reliability. Less downtime means more revenue and fewer costs devoted to troubleshooting.

If a printer does need servicing, SNMP Monitoring and Alerts with PrinterLogic helps admins take care of printer issues before they happen instead of taking on bush-league helpdesk calls like “printer needs paper” or “printer is low on ink.”

 

Eco-Friendly Printing

It’s hard to find solutions that can lower costs and promote sustainability. 

PrinterLogic makes it possible in two ways:

  1. Adding a simple step before printing to create intentional printing habits.
  2. Empowering admins to configure default printer settings.

Features like pull printing and Secure Release Printing ensure that users authenticate at the printer before they print. Since print jobs are held in a queue instead of going directly to the print tray, users can cancel accidental color print jobs, documents with typos, and duplicates that would otherwise increase costs. They can authenticate via various methods, including QR code release, web browser, badge swipe, or by entering a PIN on the printer control panel. 

To prevent users from accidentally printing in color or simplex, admins can configure printer settings to default to greyscale and duplex after each print job. This can be done en masse or to individual printers, depending on the needs of your end users. 

 

Advanced Print Security

According to IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach report, the average cost of a data breach globally is $4.45 million. And this number has risen by 15.3% in the past three years. 

So, how does PrinterLogic ensure you’re not a victim of a print-related data breach?

PrinterLogic extends the security of your print environment to your mobile employees and remote workers via Off-Network Printing capabilities. Instead of end users relying on unsecured home printers to print sensitive information, remote users can print directly to any networked printer in the office to pick up later or collaborate with a colleague to ensure its retrieval at the printer.

PrinterLogic adds a Zero Trust layer of security to your print environment via integrations with popular identity providers. All users must authenticate and verify their identity before accessing printers in your environment. And, to top it off, our SaaS print management solution is ISO 27001:2013- and SOC 2 Type 2-certified which helps your company stay industry-compliant and protects your critical data. 

For more info on security and privacy with PrinterLogic, click here.  

 

Calculate Your Potential Cost Savings

We’ve shared the cost-saving features of our SaaS platform. But how can you put a realistic dollar amount on your savings after eliminating your print servers? 

Our print savings calculator accounts for print server maintenance costs, consumable usage, and printer driver updates to help you generate your potential savings after eliminating your print servers with PrinterLogic.

Try the free print savings calculator now.

How to Easily Migrate Printers from Print Servers with Automated Migration

With Windows 7 now officially past its end of life, OS upgrades and migration are on everyone’s minds. For IT departments and providers of managed print services, that’s not always a good thing.

 

Migrations cause migraines

Sure, the process has gotten a little easier over the years, but it’s almost impossible not to run into some hiccups. Even when moving from one Windows version to another.

With traditional printing solutions like print servers, migration takes on a whole new level of complexity. You’ve got to bring over drivers and profiles, many of which are incompatible with the new server version. You’ve got to reconnect workstations and cross your fingers that the client OS will play well with the new printing software. If you’re using group policy or scripts, you’ve got triple-check all the associations.

And then, of course, you’ve got to deal with all the end users who call the next day because they can’t print.

At least, that’s what migration looks like if you’re not using PrinterLogic.

Our serverless print infrastructure features an automated migration tool that makes life dramatically easier for IT and managed print services. With PrinterLogic, your organization can migrate away from legacy printing solutions once and for all.

 

What automated migration looks like with PrinterLogic

PrinterLogic’s built-in migration tool fully automates the transfer of printer objects from your existing print server to our next-generation printing solution. It’s a simple and straightforward process:

  1. First, the migration tool copies printer objects and drivers from the print servers you’ve selected into PrinterLogic’s centralized Admin Console.
  2. Next, the CSV uploader bulk imports any unmanaged direct IP printers you might have.
  3. Then, the PrinterLogic workstation client silently converts Windows shared printers into managed direct IP printers.
  4. Finally, the workstation client assumes control of all authorized printer objects.
  5. There is no step five. Your end users are now enjoying robust serverless printing, and you’re enjoying enterprise-wide print management from a single pane of glass.

We know that most admins can’t wait to say goodbye to their print servers. At the same time, they also don’t want to force downtime on their end users.

That’s why PrinterLogic’s migration tool makes things quick and seamless. RC Willey Home Furnishings transitioned several hundred printers—and 1,500 users—to PrinterLogic in under two hours (read the case study here).

And they’re not the only ones.

More than one IT professional has told us that their end users didn’t even know that a large print migration had taken place.

We also know that first impressions count. That’s why we designed our migration tool to be a stunningly smooth experience for large, distributed enterprise environments as well as managed print services providers who oversee multiple clients. And, yes, it’s just as straightforward with tricky Citrix printing environments.

 

The benefits of automated migration with PrinterLogic

Seamlessness, simplicity and ease of use are rare among printing solutions and therefore big pluses in any migration. But PrinterLogic’s migration tool also gives IT professionals granular control over which print servers they choose to migrate.

Using the tool, you can browse to your existing print servers through your Active Directory tree or the Windows network. Or you can target your print servers by IP address. That makes it easy to pinpoint the print servers you want to migrate and ultimately eliminate with PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure.

Citrix printing sometimes falls into a class by itself, but PrinterLogic has been verified as Citrix Ready and offers the same level of control when migrating (and eliminating) Citrix print servers.

After migration, regardless of the prior print environment, you’ll have more reliable, cost-effective and less resource-intensive printing with PrinterLogic. And that’s true whether you’ve chosen to migrate to our cloud solution, PrinterLogic SaaS, or our on-prem version, PrinterLogic Virtual Appliance.

You don’t have to make a full-scale print migration based on faith alone. As a proof of concept, sign up for a free 30-day PrinterLogic trial today. You’ll see how easy it is to move from your current printing solution—no matter if it’s print servers, Citrix printing, or unmanaged direct IP—to PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure.

Fix: Printer Not Showing in Remote Desktop Session

Remote desktop printing can often feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Make no mistake: There are a lot of benefits to remote desktop protocol (RDP) environments. A leaner infrastructure, more flexibility and centralized management, to name just a few. At the same time, the advantages of RDP environments can also pose serious problems for RDP printing.

 

The weak points of RDP printing

Because RDP relies heavily on the WAN connection, particularly in distributed environments, that makes the WAN a potential point of failure. If the WAN experiences bottlenecking on account of heavy network traffic or goes down completely, RDP performance is hindered or interrupted, resulting in unwanted and unexpected downtime. RDP printing is no different because it’s subject to the same vulnerabilities. As a matter of fact, RDP printing is a major cause of WAN bottlenecking.

But it isn’t just the WAN connection that causes trouble in remote environments. RDP printing often involves printer redirection as the preferred deployment method, and the instances of remote desktop printer redirection not working as it should are legion. One of the most common problems is printers not appearing in the session.

 

The basics of RDP printer redirection in Server 2012

To properly troubleshoot this issue, it’s important to understand how RDP printer redirection works in Server 2012 to begin identifying reasons why the printer might not be appearing. In a nutshell, the server first receives a list of local printers that are installed on the remote client. Next, the server creates the print queue within the remote session. When the end user goes to print from the remote client, the server is queried for accompanying printer drivers. All being well, the printer is then redirected.

As you can see, this is a chain of events that depends on a series of successful queries and responses. Any failure at any point along that chain can result in remote desktop printer redirection not working and, among many other errors, the printer not showing.

There are three immediate steps you can then take to solve this kind of RDP printer redirection problem in Server 2012:

  1. Ensure that local printers are enabled. Invoke the Remote Desktop Connection screen, look under the “Local devices and resources” section and make sure that the “Printers” option is enabled.
  2. Confirm that the Server 2012 settings are correct. Go to Server Manager > Remote Desktop Services > Collections > Tasks > “Edit properties.” Then go to the “Client settings” tab. For printer redirection, the “Windows printer” option should be selected.
  3. Install the drivers on the server. In many cases, the drivers haven’t been installed properly. This could be due to a faulty deployment or a simple admin oversight.

If all that fails, double-check user and system permissions on c:windowssystem32spool and grant access to both groups.

 

How PrinterLogic helps with RDP printer redirection in Server 2012

By using a unique centrally managed direct IP printing paradigm, PrinterLogic is able to eliminate many of the variables that are responsible for remote desktop printer redirection not working—including those elusive printers that don’t appear in a session.

In addition to streamlining and simplifying driver management (which avoids those problematic driver installs), PrinterLogic enables you to deploy printers accurately and dynamically without using GPOs or scripts (which can cause a whole host of deployment hassles). It integrates seamlessly with any remote desktop environment, including Citrix and VMware, and can help your organization to eliminate print servers completely and minimize infrastructure even further. It’s the complete, cost-effective RDP printing solution that will transform how you think about enterprise printing in general.

EMR and EHR Printing Solutions from PrinterLogic

Let’s face it. There’s no perfect way to get a job done. While Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software like Epic, MEDITECH, and Oracle Cerner are undoubtedly valuable tools for accessing and maintaining medical records, they don’t make print management a walk in the park. Instead, they often turn print management into a nightmare scenario by placing rigorous demands on a print environment’s hardware and workflow. 

The unification of a rock-solid print management solution and EMR software may have seemed unlikely before; however, PrinterLogic makes it a reality by providing an integrated next-generation EMR print management solution that’s uniquely suited to solving the fundamental printing problems with EMR systems.

Let’s take a look at three of the fundamental issues of EMR and EHR print architecture and how PrinterLogic solves them. 

 

#1 Confusion Caused by Dispersed Print Environments

It’s tough to manage a printer fleet that is spread across multiple locations. This is one of the significant issues that IT professionals face in a fragmented and complex print environment that depends on print servers. Dispersed printing environments make fundamental practices like adding a printer to the network a chore. The prime reasons are that the IT departments have to make sure the printer is compatible with every type of environment and come up with GPO deployment rules.

Not only must the IT department scramble to find solutions to printer problems, but employees are also left scrambling to find the right printer to print to. In a dispersed print environment, convenience is hard to come by and end users feel powerless. Plus, they constantly rely on the IT helpdesk to fix issues that could be solved with a user-friendly interface and more user empowerment. 

 

Solution

Consolidating and simplifying your print management is possible with PrinterLogic’s centralized Admin Console. Our solution’s web-based management portal allows you to administer your entire print environment—no matter how distributed—from a single pane of glass, and any changes you make can be instantly synchronized across any number of EPSs throughout your organization. That saves time and reduces the likelihood of mistakes, as OhioHealth discovered when simplifying its Epic printing environment by deploying PrinterLogic’s print management software.

 

#2 Poor Cost Management and Productivity Due to Limited Visibility

It takes a ton of effort to increase transparency in a conventional healthcare printing environment because most don’t have monitoring, auditing, and reporting features that are needed to keep up. This is evident in a typical Epic printing environment. Each Epic print server (EPS) requires manual intervention when adding, changing, or removing printers. This means that a single change for, say, one model of printer has to be repeated for every single EPS – and commonly for every single instance of that printer model on that EPS. 

Not only is that style of management incredibly tedious, but manual repetition also opens the door for typos, oversights, and human error. These simple mistakes could prove costly. It’s a painfully inefficient and potentially problematic approach to EMR print management.

 

Solution

PrinterLogic allows you to gather data and organize it quickly and efficiently to find out where you’re spending company dollars. This gives admins insight into how they can implement cost-saving initiatives by revealing things like:

  • Which printers are seeing the most traffic
  • When certain print jobs were carried out
  • Which users account for the most print jobs in a given department
  • Who printed “classified” documents

These features keep everyone from playing the print monitoring game by making the decision-making process smoother to address future company needs. 

 

#3 Risk of Exposing Confidential Information

Keeping client information confidential seems like a simple task, but it continues to be a problem even with the technological advances in print management. Maintaining the privacy of sensitive client information is especially difficult in distributed healthcare environments since employees are constantly rotating shifts or moving from department to department. 

In dynamic environments like this, client information gets lost easily through accidentally being picked up over other print jobs or remains a vulnerable piece of paper in a random printer tray waiting to be picked up by anyone around. It’s hard to stay HIPAA compliant in an environment where you can’t manage who sees your clients’ information. 

 

Solution

PrinterLogic gives end users the power to hold their print jobs in their workstations through Secure Release Printing. Not only does it keep sensitive data in the hands of employees who need it, but it also greatly minimizes cost, keeps your company HIPAA compliant, and requires minimal effort by employees to execute a print job. 

Using PrinterLogic’s Secure Release Printing feature, you simply click “Print” but instead of the job being sent directly to the printer, it is held at your workstation. Once you are ready to print, simply walk over to the nearest printer and authorize the print job by using a badge/card reader, a PIN, or our smartphone app (iOS and Android). For an extra layer of security, badge+PIN or user ID+PIN options are also available. 

 

Make EMR Print Management Easy for All with PrinterLogic

PrinterLogic has simplified healthcare printing environments and, at the same time, eliminated companies’ costs of purchase, operation, and maintenance – not to mention their single points of failure. Here are some of the companies that have benefited from PrinterLogic’s EMR print management solution:

  • Guthrie: PrinterLogic simplified Guthrie’s Epic print environment by enabling mobile employees to print from any office and reducing the time and cost of print-related helpdesk calls.
  • Saber Healthcare Group: PrinterLogic’s centralized Admin Console helped take pressure off a distraught IT team that needed simplified, around-the-clock print capabilities for a growing business. 
  • UW Health: PrinterLogic helped stamp out their WAN chokepoints by leveraging direct IP printing while maintaining centralized management. This greatly increased their overall print speeds and helped avoid headaches associated with high network traffic. 
  • OhioHealth: To keep their goals of a 10-fold expansion to their Epic print environment within reach, PrinterLogic offered OhioHealth a solution for streamlining print server and printer configurations. With one simple click, they can now update all printers and servers automatically. 
  • Princeton Community Hospital: Utilizing a MEDITECH print environment, Princeton Community Hospital realized that MEDITECH’s inability to work well in heterogeneous environments was causing them too much inconvenience. After installing PrinterLogic, they gained unprecedented print availability and uptime, and user-initiated printer installations. 

Along with the ability to integrate with Epic and MEDITECH, PrinterLogic has added Oracle Cerner to its list of compatible EMR software. 

Implementing PrinterLogic to enhance your printing environment takes the complexity and chaos out of EMR print management—even in distributed organizations with hundreds or thousands of printers. In addition to providing security to client data, PrinterLogic’s advanced reporting capabilities make it simple for admins to track print jobs and how client files are being printed. By saving time, headaches, and ultimately costs through its small footprint and ease of use, healthcare organizations can place focus on delivering superior customer service and stop devoting unnecessary time and effort to delivering basic EMR printing to end users. 

 

Comparing Print Servers vs. Direct IP Printing

All IT managers and system administrators who manage print environments must eventually choose between print servers or configuring direct IP printers on their endpoints. There are trade-offs for either approach, and several factors come into play when deciding which method is best. 

Company Size Matters

If your company only has a handful of employees, the differences between using a print server and managing printing via direct IP are not that obvious. But as the organization grows, the pain points stemming from IT’s print management choices become evident. 

 

Why Use Print Servers?

A print server can alleviate growth-related pain points because admins get centralized management for drivers, profiles, and print job auditing. You can set printer permissions and use Group Policy to map printers to users or workstations. They integrate with backend applications like EMR, CRM, and ERP and provide one print environment for the entire company. They also haven’t changed in functionality for decades, so they are easy to maintain and manage with the proper experience.

 

Where Print Servers Miss The Mark

Despite the few positives of employing print servers, it’s hard to keep up with them in the modern-day workplace because they require more maintenance than ever before. Company data is at risk if you fail to stay up-to-date with print server patch installations. Print servers also thrive with homogeneous printer fleets, meaning a printer fleet of mixed manufacturers can cause serious issues. 

Additional negatives of print servers include:

Vulnerabilities: Print servers introduce many headaches and vulnerabilities. This means there is a single point of failure for everyone attached to that server. Organizations can expect performance and functionality issues when every printer driver lives, works, and spools on the same device. 

Unreliable GPO Scripting: If there are multiple locations and only one print server, some of your print job traffic will traverse the WAN, often increasing the time it takes to print. On some WAN links, print job traffic can cause congestion and impact other communication across the link.

Price: You can install print servers at each location, but depending on how you deploy them, it can get expensive. Think of the hardware, licensing, and maintenance costs when using multiple print servers. 

Limited Support: Windows print servers are typically set up for Windows clients only. There are ways to support Mac clients, but they come with limitations.

 

Figure 1: The advantages and disadvantages of print servers

The Benefits of Direct IP Printing

With direct IP configurations, users are free to manage their printers and profile settings. You gain the advantage of local spooling and rendering print jobs which boosts security. And those jobs go directly from the workstation to the printer. 

Direct IP printing is the most efficient way of printing and reduces overall network traffic. A driver issue or a job stuck in the queue will only affect one user instead of your entire organization. Direct IP is also cost-effective because there’s no additional print management hardware to buy or maintain.

 

Problems With Direct IP Printing

The decentralized nature of direct IP printing environments is often considered a pain point for IT teams. Admins can’t track costs or identify print job activity throughout the company without employing a third-party print management solution for assistance. Plus, direct IP printing isn’t ideal for hybrid or remote work environments that are constantly changing. 

Additional pain points of direct IP printing include:

Time-Consuming Configuration: Printer drivers have to be configured on every workstation. Not to mention IT teams have to keep up with changes and driver updates. 

Difficult Printer Replacement: A simple task of changing out a printer could require IT staff to touch all affected workstations, which is time-consuming. In dynamic environments, these efforts will inevitably fall behind, hurting user productivity.

Less Oversight and Management: Employees set their own printing rules without centralized group policy management, making it hard to keep up with print environments. 

Not a Scalable Solution: When the number of printers in your fleet reaches the hundreds and thousands, the manual labor required becomes overbearing just to keep printing flowing. 

 

Figure 2: Direct IP printing benefits and disadvantages

PrinterLogic: The Best of Both Worlds

What if I told you there is a way to get the centralized management benefits of a print server while maintaining the stability and efficiency of direct IP printing? You know, have your cake and eat it too.

PrinterLogic eliminates the need for print servers while providing a way to manage and install direct IP printers centrally. With PrinterLogic, you can easily convert your existing Microsoft print server environment to our serverless direct IP printing platform. 

Have multiple print servers? We take care of that too. 

You can also manage all printers and drivers from a single web-based Admin Console. PrinterLogic gives you more visibility into printing activity with an Advanced Reporting feature, allowing for a detailed view of all print jobs by users, departments, printers, and more.

PrinterLogic offers an on-premise solution and PrinterLogic SaaS, so you can choose which version works best for you without sacrificing features or functionality.

Figure 3: PrinterLogic offers centralized management plus the efficiencies of direct IP

 

 

Best Strategies for Deploying Print Servers

So, your organization has reached a point where it’s time to deploy another—or maybe your first ever—print server. Just like every other hardware, there’s a good way and a not-so-good way to deploy them. And there are alternatives to print servers that you might not have considered yet. 

Before you start down any path, you’ll want to think about your preferred topology. 

Will you have a single centralized network print server or will you have localized print servers distributed across your organization?

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each one. 

 

The Good and Bad of Centralized Print Servers

A centralized print server consolidates your print management infrastructure in one place. That makes print management more convenient, but it also introduces two potentially serious problems. The first is WAN vulnerability, as the WAN connection will be the only link between the network print server and remote locations. Should the WAN be interrupted, so will print activity for the affected location. 

The second issue is that a centralized print server creates a single point of failure. To guard against this, expensive redundancy measures are needed, although this will also create additional work for the print management team.

 

The Good and Bad of Localized Print Servers

Localized print servers allow you to keep the number of clients per server low. Because print server performance can suffer as the number of connected clients increases, fewer clients on more print servers sounds like a wise idea. 

However, increasing the number of print servers also complicates print management because the printer drivers, print queues, software, and user pool need to be maintained across each of them which drives up costs. When you upgrade, you’ll usually need to rely on a print server migration tool (provided a suitable one is available) to bring every single print server up to date.

 

Tips for Choosing the Best Print Server Model

Understanding the strengths and drawbacks of those two basic topologies will help you determine how to best structure your current print server deployment to build a solid foundation for future upgrades and deployments. Because print servers in any configuration have limits to their scalability, whichever architecture you choose will have an impact on how your IT environment expands and evolves in the coming years.

Starting as you mean to go on is an equally good mantra when setting up your organization’s network print server. Here are a few friendly pieces of advice to consider:

  • Clutter is the enemy, and less is more (or at least more manageable). 
  • Keep drivers to an absolute minimum, as too many drivers can be resource-intensive and cause print spooler problems. 
  • Test initial drivers thoroughly before deploying them. Rogue drivers are notorious for crashing print spoolers. 
  • Enable driver isolation and use up-to-date (v4) drivers to minimize the possibility of spooler crashes.

Lastly, you’ll need to look at your current as well as your future IT environment with a wide-angle lens. Does your organization have a mix of clients running different operating systems? Are you planning to transition to mobile or Chromebook-type clients? Is secure printing important to your organization? 

Your answers to those questions will determine what shape your print server deployment takes and whether or not you’ll need to augment that infrastructure with additional third-party solutions.

 

Do you really need a print server to print?

With all that in mind, perhaps the most fundamental step in print server deployment is asking yourself whether you really need one at all. PrinterLogic’s next-generation print management solution does everything you demand of print servers—but without the WAN vulnerabilities, the expanding infrastructure, the limits to scalability, and the susceptibility to PrintNightmare.

PrinterLogic’s SaaS solution allows you to manage your entire print environment, no matter how distributed, from a single pane of glass. Better still, you can deliver printers to users without relying on GPOs or scripts and easily implement advanced functionality like Mobile Printing. You can even empower end users to install printers themselves in the Self-Service Printer Installation Portal

 

Already using print servers?

So, what if you’ve deployed a print server (or several) in your organization? 

PrinterLogic makes the transition to powerful, centrally managed direct IP printing quick and easy. It features a handy print server migration tool that imports all your printers, drivers, and profiles, so you can seamlessly manage your entire print environment from a centralized location and eliminate your print servers—and all their attendant costs and hassle—in record time.

Even when done properly, print server deployment is no small task. It takes a lot of time and planning, but even if you make all the right moves, your organization is still stuck with their inherent limitations and security vulnerabilities. 

It stands to reason that the best way to deploy print servers is not deploying them…ever.

Go serverless.