Direct IP Printing vs. Print Servers: Pros and Cons of Each

All IT managers and system administrators who manage print environments must eventually choose between print servers and configuring direct IP printers on their endpoints. Either approach has trade-offs, 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. However, 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 print 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 printing 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 print 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 print from IP isn’t ideal for hybrid or remote work environments that are constantly changing. 

Additional pain points of direct IP printer environments include:

Time-Consuming Configuration: IT teams have to add printer drivers and configure them by IP address 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 solution. 

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 (our cloud printing platform), so you can choose which version works best for you without sacrificing features or functionality. We have plenty of technical documentation to help your set-up go smoothly, too.  

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

 

 

Centralized Printing Management | The What, Why, and How of Centralized Printing

When you’re working toward streamlining your enterprise print environment, centralized printer management should be one of the highest priorities on your list. That’s because implementing centralized printer management addresses several key areas that are crucial to the process of simplifying and consolidating networked printers—and reducing IT burden. 

This is particularly true for retail, financial, healthcare, and government organizations with offices dispersed throughout regions or other countries. 

 

What is centralized print management?

Centralized printing management means instead of shifting between sites with different hardware and individuals with varied areas of oversight, you can administer all printing services from one terminal. That logistical integration alone makes your network printer management more efficient—saving time, money, and resources. It also eliminates the need for off-site visits just to address printer issues. 

 

Why choose a central print management solution?

Admins get “the four Cs” by moving to centralized print management:

Consolidation: Connect and manage all your users, devices, and locations from a simple interface—no matter where you are.

Convenience: Address printing issues immediately from a single pane of glass without having to make frequent off-site visits. 

Control: Easily set default printer preferences, add or delete printers in your printer fleet, and set up one-time or automatic deployments.

Cost-efficiency: Reduce operating and printing costs that impact your bottom line by gaining insight into print activity across your organization.

A solution like PrinterLogic offers these benefits and more. 

 

Centralized Print Management with PrinterLogic

PrinterLogic was developed around the concept of centralized printer management because it’s a sought-after feature in any scenario, regardless of whether you’ve got a highly distributed print infrastructure or just a single site. No matter where you or your IT staff are located, PrinterLogic’s intuitive web-based Admin Console allows you to monitor every networked printer in your organization—with or without domains or trusts—from a single pane of glass.

You can only imagine what this level of control offers you and your users’ printing needs.

Print-related requests can be taken care of instantaneously.

Printing disappears from your agenda during off-site visits. 

And user satisfaction increases since you can administer any network printer to them without a hitch. 

Using PrinterLogic’s Admin Console, you can easily create new printers and then deploy them to end users automatically without the hassle of having to use GPOs, scripts, or print servers. You can delete printers from workstations or entire departments, too, with just as much ease.

Plus, you can do everything in between regarding network printer management including maintenance activities like print queue management, print job troubleshooting and more–all from a central location. 

PrinterLogic lets you drill down to individual printers through hierarchies like country, building, department, and floor. Once you’ve selected a printer, you can modify individual settings such as the drivers, port, name, duplexing, color, paper type, and so on. Those changes are automatically pushed out to printers on the end user workstations. You can even set default printer preferences by simply checking a box.

Want to edit group properties quickly? Just use the find-and-replace function to adjust deployment assignments, print drivers, ports, comments, and other variables for hundreds or even thousands of printer objects at once.

This same approach to central printer management also applies to drivers. PrinterLogic also allows you to update drivers individually or en masse. And you can configure detailed parameters such as driver settings and profiles, giving you even more fine-grained control over printers throughout your entire organization. If you don’t want to deal with individual driver manufacturers, PrinterLogic empowers you to print to a universal driver for more flexibility. 

 

Start Managing Your Distributed Locations with Ease

Regardless of the size of your organization or the number of printers and locations you have, PrinterLogic simplifies how you manage print. We start with eliminating your print servers and moving you over to our cloud-native, direct IP printing platform. In return, you get increased productivity and a bird’s-eye view over “everything printing” in your organization.

So, if you’re considering a centralized print management solution as a means to cut printing costs and take back control of your distributed locations, what are you waiting for?

Here’s a free 30-day trial to get you started. 

Enterprise Secure Printing Systems: Why You Need Printer Security

Not to be confused with pull printing, secure printing has become a household name in the print management industry. Internal document theft is up. The financial damage caused by data breaches is getting harder to swallow. And companies are taking note.   

So what are secure printing solutions, and why do you need them? 

What is secure printing?

Secure printing is the process of releasing a print job at a designated printer using one of several authentication methods. Documents are held in a queue until the user is physically present at the printer. Authentication methods vary—from entering an employee PIN to scanning an ID badge or using a mobile application—and can be released only when the user is physically present at the printer. 

This is slightly different than its pull printing counterpart. Pull printing allows jobs to be released at any pull printing-enabled network printer. Regardless, secure printing and pull printing offer an additional layer of security that protect confidential documents. But secure printing solutions provide benefits that extend to the remote workforce and help future-proof your print environment. 

 

Enterprise Secure Printing Systems

Enterprise secure printing systems provide robust security and control over your organization’s printing environment. With features like secure release printing, documents are only released after user authentication at the printer. This prevents sensitive information from sitting exposed in output trays. 

Comprehensive auditing and tracking capabilities allow you to monitor printing activity across your large organization for compliance purposes. Advanced encryption and secure printing protocols safeguard data as it traverses your network. 

Centralized printer management streamlines configuration, enables print policy enforcement, and saves IT staff time versus managing individual devices. With the high-volume centralized print centers enterprises require, you maximize printer uptime and reduce costs.

Enterprise secure printing mitigates risk, bolsters compliance, and enhances operational efficiency–key priorities for any large business that can’t afford data breaches or operational disruptions.

 

How can secure printing solutions benefit you?

Whether you’re an enterprise looking for a secure printing system or an SMB needing a more secure solution to protect your data, the following advice is relevant to both business environments.

They help you reduce legacy infrastructure.

Secure printing solutions aren’t exactly “secure” if you can’t reduce legacy infrastructure. In this case, I’m not talking about your grandfather’s printers. 

I’m talking about your print servers. 

After the whole PrintNightmare fiasco, it became clear that print servers needed to be wiped from the picture. Secure printing solutions take print servers out of the equation and don’t hold print jobs in a spooler queue. Instead, print jobs are held on the workstation or the printer and remain on the local network until a user is ready to release it.

They allow remote workers to print securely.

Remote workers need a way to print securely without having to resort to printing on an unmanaged, off-network home printer. Secure printing solutions can give contractors, remote workers, and roaming employees the ability to print to an in-network printer while being on an outside network. 

This type of functionality enables end users moving between their home and the office to print freely and release their documents at the office at their convenience, encouraging employees to stop using home office printers which are a huge security liability and impossible for admins to track. 

Furthermore, secure Off-Network Printing capabilities offer employees a flexible way to deliver confidential documents to someone in the office instead of sending personal or customer information to them via email.  

They adhere to Zero Trust standards.

Secure printing is a crucial aspect of complying with Zero Trust standards. The additional layer of security means confidential information stays in the hands of those who printed it. That level of authentication is a step in the right direction. But to be considered a Zero Trust-caliber secure printing solution, it has to integrate with the identity providers (IdPs) you use in your environment. 

IdPs provide your company with a double layer of security your end users must go through before they can print. They also restrict users to the necessary applications they need to do their job. Adding secure printing functionality on top of that dramatically reduces the risk of identity and document theft, helping you achieve Zero Trust Printing

They give users mobile printing capabilities.

Secure printing capabilities can extend to your end users’ mobile devices. If you’re managing a BYOD environment, leveraging phones, tablets, and laptops to print securely is a great way to cut down on costs and boost productivity simultaneously. Users can send a print job to a designated printer on the company network and release it later—without having to hop on specific company computers just to print a few documents.  

There is a caveat to this one. 

Not all secure printing solutions offer 100% compatibility with all printer models and operating systems (this one does). So make sure to choose a solution that checks all the boxes for the devices and printers in your environment. 

They future-proof your business.

Theft isn’t going away. But it’s possible to mitigate it. 

Secure printing solutions set you up for future success and reduce the chances of information being exploited for personal gain or a competitive advantage. They’re able to meet the demands of a hybrid workforce and offer a consistent end-user experience that doesn’t hamper productivity. They enable printing from an array of mobile devices and are built around maintaining compliance throughout all industries. 

And most of all, they take pressure off IT.

Secure Printing Solutions on a Single Platform

One problem with most of the secure printing products on the market is that they require a print server, which means that if your print server goes down, everything ceases to work. 

PrinterLogic eliminates your print servers and removes the single point of failure while providing a centrally managed direct IP printing platform. On top of that, PrinterLogic is 100% device and OS-agnostic and integrates with all major IdPs. 

PrinterLogic’s version of secure printing, Secure Release Printing, holds print jobs on the user’s workstation and empowers users to release print jobs using one of the following methods:

  • Smartphone App/QR Code
  • Control Panel
  • Web Browser
  • Badge reader

Plus, get access to additional secure printing features like Off-Network Printing, Mobile App Release, and Concurrent IdP Support to extend the security reach of your print environment. 

See firsthand how PrinterLogic leverages secure printing features in the cloud and gives you the protection you need in today’s print environments. 

Get your free 30-day trial of serverless printing today.

Cloud Print Management vs. Cloud Printing

When you hear folks talking about cloud printing, it’s hard not to get a little excited. The key benefits, such as access to select printers from almost anywhere and simplified printing from mobile devices, are impressive—particularly in light of today’s dynamic, mobile, and ever-changing workplace.

But there’s a big difference between cloud print management software and cloud printing. This can get especially confusing when you’re researching cloud print solutions because many companies claim to offer true cloud printing while still using outdated print technology. 

 

New Cloud Technology vs. Legacy Infrastructure

No one will argue that a cloud printing service comes with some wonderful advantages, yet it continues to be hampered by the traditional print management solutions that most organizations still have in place. This legacy infrastructure—usually in the form of print servers—can make cloud print setup much more difficult than it should be (if it’s even possible).

Furthermore, many cloud print solutions have fundamental limitations that take some of the shine off cloud print setup and cloud printing in general. For instance, most of the popular cloud print solutions require that you use special printers, which restricts your options, or they want your existing printers to be connected to an always-on PC running special software, which drives up the cost and complexity of your infrastructure. They also can’t always promise universal print compatibility with different printer drivers and operating systems.

 

So What Is Cloud Print Management?

Cloud print management has the ability to deliver all the benefits of cloud printing along with next-generation print management that makes print servers seem like 19th-century technology by comparison. That’s because cloud print management—when it’s done right—truly breaks free from the conventional model of on-premises infrastructure and puts all aspects of enterprise printing into the cloud, where it’s always accessible, always manageable, always available.

However, you’ll note that I made a point to include the caveat when it’s done right in the previous sentence. 

As more and more organizations look to cloud print services to address their enterprise printing needs, an increasing number of cloud printing providers have naturally sought to fill that expanding niche. However, cloud print management is not an easy thing to get right, and lesser cloud print solutions can quickly leave you wishing that you’d never ventured into cloud printing in the first place.

 

Using Cloud Printing with Managed Print Services?

Managed Print Services take a more comprehensive approach to print management, encompassing not only the hardware and software but also the strategic oversight of an organization’s entire print environment. MPS providers typically offer:

  • Print Fleet Management: MPS includes the management of all printers, copiers, and multifunction devices within an organization, ensuring optimal performance and minimizing downtime.
  • Cost Control: By analyzing printing habits and implementing cost-saving measures, MPS helps organizations reduce their overall printing expenses.
  • Security: Enhanced security measures are often part of MPS, protecting sensitive documents and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
  • Sustainability: MPS can help organizations implement more environmentally friendly printing practices, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.
  • Strategic Planning: MPS providers work with organizations to develop long-term strategies for improving efficiency and reducing costs, offering regular assessments and updates.

While cloud printing focuses on enabling flexible, remote printing capabilities, Managed Print Services provide a holistic approach to managing an organization’s entire print infrastructure. Both solutions have their place in the modern business environment. By leveraging the right mix of cloud printing and MPS, businesses can achieve a more efficient, cost-effective, and secure printing environment, tailored to their unique operational requirements.

 

Cloud Print Management with PrinterLogic

PrinterLogic has a proven pedigree as a cloud-native solution. It leverages PrinterLogic’s acclaimed on-premises print management solution and essentially transfers it to a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, thereby allowing you to enjoy the benefits of both effortless cloud printing and effortless cloud print management.

With PrinterLogic SaaS, cloud print setup is easy. From the moment you start, you can simply migrate all of your printers—including profiles, drivers, settings, you name it—from your print server using an easy migration tool. After that, you can add new printers, deploy printer drivers, manage queues, and edit print profiles across your entire organization from a single Admin Console.

Plus, PrinterLogic makes it possible for you to shrink your traditional print infrastructure down to its most efficient, cost-effective state. Our many features allow you to consolidate network printers and even completely eliminate your print servers while enjoying more robust cloud printing capabilities than other cloud print solutions are able to deliver—and all in a secure environment.

So remember, cloud printing is only half of the story. The right cloud print management will migrate your organization’s printing to the cloud with maximum benefit and offer a seamless experience that’s more efficient, more secure, and easier to use.

How Pull Printing and Secure Release Printing Are Different—and Why You Should You Use Them

Printer cybersecurity hacks are on the rise in 2024, with 61% of organizations experiencing print-related data loss within the past year. Forgotten documents in the printer tray, data-in-motion attacks, and printer hacks all pose a very real risk for businesses, with the average data breach costing $4.45 million in 2023.

Despite these risks, most CIOs place print security low on their agenda. Just 27% of SMBs say they’re confident in the security of their print infrastructure, and many businesses struggle to maintain the security of print management software, secure printing in remote work environments, and protect confidential information from being printed.

As print security concerns grow, enterprise organizations are beginning to pay attention. Print management trends show that 79% of organizations plan to increase their print security spending over the next year. Likewise, print security maturity is slowly improving, with the number of print security leaders increasing from 18% to 27% between 2022 and 2023.

To combat data loss in their print environments, businesses are typically turning to pull printing and secure release printing.

At first, these two printer security methods seem pretty similar. That’s because they share a common two-step format. It looks like this:

  1. The user initiates a print job as usual. However, the printing process is on hold until the next step.
  2. The user intentionally releases the waiting print job to a specific printer.

The key difference between the two methods lies in that release step. In contrast to pull printing, secure release printing requires some form of user authentication. That commonly involves swiping their badge or entering a PIN code on the printer’s control panel.

 

What makes PrinterLogic’s secure printing unique?

With PrinterLogic’s serverless print infrastructure, both pull printing and secure release printing follow this general description. But PrinterLogic’s ability to eliminate print servers adds an extra layer of security and convenience.

Instead of holding the pending print job on a server, creating a prime target for a malicious actor, PrinterLogic holds the print job on the user’s workstation. Once released, the print job travels straight to the destination printer. That allows for more secure printing by design.

And the flexibility of PrinterLogic’s serverless printing enables any network printer to become a pull or secure release printer, so you can make legacy machines a part of your secure printing infrastructure.

 

When should you use pull printing?

From a security standpoint, pull printing is a step up from conventional printing. That alone is reason enough to implement it.

Pull printing is especially handy for remote workers and mobile employees who travel to different offices. Thanks to PrinterLogic’s versatile pull-printing functionality, they can print their documents wherever it’s most convenient. They don’t have to install any printers or drivers at a particular location. That saves them time, and it saves IT hassle.

You can also use pull printing to curb waste and build sustainable printing practices in the workplace. Though many organizations recycle, paper still makes up 26% of total waste in landfills. Paper production is also an enormous strain on the environment, leading to deforestation and massive use of energy and water resources. Since the average worker uses 660 pounds of paper every year, pull printing can do a lot to save trees, energy, and office spending. In fact, one organization that implemented pull printing was able to reduce their print consumables usage by more than 50%.

With pull printing, the release step is intentional, meaning print jobs that users no longer want (or forget about) don’t end up being printed in the first place. Since the average U.S. company spends $120 million on printed paper every year, all that unused paper and toner can add up to big cost savings over time.

 

When should you use secure release printing?

PrinterLogic’s Secure Release Printing is ideal for employees who deal with highly confidential information, typically at a designated secure printer. This form of secure printing is for organizations that really want to protect sensitive documents—think healthcare, legal, financial or government—while also enjoying the same benefits that pull printing brings.

There are multiple ways that end users can authenticate securely with a PrinterLogic printer:

  • Badge/card: Employees can easily swipe their ID card or badge through a printer’s integrated reader or a dedicated external device.
  • Embedded control panel: Release takes place once users enter a PIN or login credentials right on the printer’s control panel. PrinterLogic SaaS now has native control panel applications for every major printer brand.
  • Browser-based: PrinterLogic features a web-based release portal that enables users to authenticate from almost any device.
  • Mobile App: Android and iOS users can view, release, and delete secure print jobs right from their smartphones via the PrinterLogic Mobile App.

Importantly, PrinterLogic doesn’t eliminate print servers and then forces you to install a bunch of new hardware. You can use your current badge/card readers and your existing print infrastructure with these authentication mechanisms.

For proof, look no further than EPIC Management, L.P., a managed services provider for healthcare organizations. They needed to comply with the industry’s strict regulations on protected healthcare information (PHI) but didn’t want to add unnecessary cost and complexity. PrinterLogic’s secure printing fit the bill. Read the case study here.

How Manufacturing IT Teams Can Save Money

Manufacturing companies operate 24/7. A single production failure could lead to hours or days of downtime. Even though the manufacturing industry’s revenue in the United States hit roughly $7 trillion in 2023, companies are still struggling with shortages and are implementing layoffs. 

To keep profit margins up and production running, manufacturing companies need to be smart about how they cut costs. One way to save money and prepare for the future is to invest in output management software. 

Output management software is similar to print management software, although output management software also includes features such as application modernization, formatting support, and integration with workflow management tools. 

Here are some of the ways output management software can help manufacturing companies cut costs and shore up their finances. 

 

Break Down Siloed Workflows

To stay competitive, manufacturing companies need to maximize their internal efficiency. Breaking down siloed workflows and becoming more agile will be the key differentiator between successful and unsuccessful manufacturing companies. In fact, a renewed focus on business agility was the top trend listed for 2024 manufacturing industry trends

Manufacturing organizations use many different systems to generate, store, and send supply chain and quality control documentation for production lines and tasks. These systems may not have native ways to communicate and integrate with each other. Although each system offers important services, it doesn’t always work together—and neither do the associated team members. 

Manufacturing IT teams can use an output management solution to help bridge that gap. To break down siloed workflows and unite different systems, your IT team can implement an output management solution that cuts costs on repetitive and unnecessary tasks, improves document visibility, increases collaboration, keeps documents consistent, and streamlines workflows and approvals. 

 

Control Print Volumes

Manufacturing IT teams can save their companies money by using output management systems to control print volumes. One way to do this is to implement printing quotas. 

Obviously, this can save money on printing materials and prolong the life of the printing machinery. However, there are other cost advantages associated with implementing print quotas. Quotas encourage employees to share documents virtually, which increases collaboration, streamlines document workflows, enhances the security of sensitive information, and improves overall efficiency.

By controlling print volumes, IT teams also get complete visibility into print activity and document distribution. This process ensures documents are delivered to the right place, at the right time, and in the right format. IT teams can help prevent errors and duplicate printing, too, which also saves print costs because there isn’t a need to reprint. 

 

Prevent Expensive Downtime 

Downtime is one of the most expensive mistakes that manufacturing companies can make. The costs add up to much more than the missed work. According to a 2022 Siemens report, unplanned downtime now costs Fortune Global 500 companies 11% of their yearly turnover. That downtime amounts to almost $1.5 trillion in losses.

Imagine that a manufacturing company misprints a batch of documents (such as shipping labels). It was a small error—maybe a single number was off, or a barcode was wrong. The mistake shuts down a large portion of the warehouse as employees scramble to figure out which labels are correct and which are wrong. All other processes stop, and shipping is paused. If some mislabeled products have been sent out already, a recall may be necessary. This downtime becomes drastically more expensive than the cost of the mis-shipped products alone. 

Output management software can prevent this expensive downtime. Manufacturing IT teams can keep the supply chain moving by controlling the flow of automated business processes in ERP environments. With the print and document management features of output management software, IT teams can minimize costly errors like barcode misprints or faulty ERP documents and meet data security compliance standards.

 

Protect Against Cybersecurity Risks

Cybersecurity should be top of mind for manufacturing companies’ IT teams. According to an IBM report, manufacturing was once again the top-attacked industry in 2023 for the third year in a row, representing 25.7% of cybersecurity incidents. Any kind of cybersecurity breach can lead to stolen information, lost data, PR and brand damage, and severe system downtime—all of which cost your company money. 

To protect your company and save costs, one of the first steps your IT team can take is to begin using output management software. Output management’s secure release printing features protect sensitive information by implementing access controls and encryption.

 

Avoid Regulatory Issues and Stay Compliant 

Ensuring the security and compliance of documents, especially sensitive or confidential information, is a significant concern for manufacturing enterprises. Compliance with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA can be challenging without proper controls. Additionally, many organizations struggle with effective document archiving, making it challenging to access historical documents when needed. 

To save money, manufacturing companies can invest in output management. Output management software keeps your documentation compliant, which can prevent hefty fines from regulatory bodies. Staying on top of compliance issues also helps future-proof your company against having to make larger and more expensive process changes later down the road. 

How Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Vasion’s Output Management Software

Vasion’s Output Management solution is ready to help manufacturing companies’ IT teams with their cost reduction strategies. By centralizing control, Output Management connects processes from legacy applications to manage all aspects of document distribution, printing, and routing for fewer expensive errors and increased efficiency. Through the unification of print and document processes, manufacturing companies can enjoy better data security while avoiding downtime. 

To see how Output Management from Vasion can help your manufacturing company cut costs, schedule your free demo today

Three Ways to Make Printing More Reliable

General office printing requires reliability and availability, so in-office and remote employees can continue their work. A direct IP printing model works well–it relies on a direct connection from the workstation to the printer without using the Internet. Even if an Internet outage occurs, printing continues.

But you’re not only managing general office printing. Your organization integrates many core business processes with electronic record and resource applications that store, manage, and generate documentation. This is especially prevalent in the healthcare industry with electronic health and medical record systems managing all patient information with physicians and nurses needing access to distribute care accurately. 

Your print servers are heavily tied to these vital business processes, intercepting spooled print jobs from the source application and distributing them to the printer or channel they need to go to. 

Consider an output management software.

Output management software either works with your print servers or replaces them entirely. It sits between the source application and your printers to facilitate communication. This software automates, manages, and distributes output from any source application to multiple channels, either physically or digitally. 

Here are three ways we suggest improving the reliability and efficiency of your output processes using output management software: 

1. Confirmed Delivery of Print Jobs

Printers on their own don’t give you all the information you need about the status of your print jobs. Most of the time, it’ll tell you it received the job, then radio silence. If your batch print job of 50 documents made it to page 35 on the first document before stopping, and it’s not a lack of paper or ink, you aren’t sure how to diagnose the issue. Or worse, you’re unaware of any issue until missing invoices, shipping forms, and contract pages grind everything to a halt. 

Output management software often provides bidirectional communication as part of the print job’s journey. It’s extra assurance and confidence that your print jobs and output processes were delivered where they need to go. These updates could also tell you what page the job failed on and what issue occurred, giving you the chance to address the issue immediately without hours of troubleshooting. 

2. Redundant, Low-footprint Infrastructure

Using a Windows, Linux, or Unix print server offers load-balancing and clustering as long as it’s configured and maintained properly, but often operates as a single point of failure if the servers crash from any kind of software or network issue, printing can’t continue, which, of course, is a detrimental interruption to your processes and workflows. 

Output management software doesn’t have to run on a print server. Some use a service client–a low-footprint client that performs similarly to a print server but is much simpler to spin up and maintain redundant instances, eliminating the single points of failure. Print jobs are spooled and received by a service client, load-balanced to the redundant clients, processed, and distributed simultaneously. With significantly less effort and maintenance, your processes can easily scale with your organization’s demands and speed. 

3. Rules-based Automation 

With the advancements in machine learning and robotic process automation in recent years, automation should be introduced in some form for your document processes. Automation can save employees three hours a day, roughly 30 hours a month, eliminating manual touchpoints such as converting individual files to PDFs for printing or reprinting if print jobs fail.

Setting rules that automatically perform specific actions when certain triggers and conditions are met significantly reduces, if not totally eliminates, manual tasking. One popular case is if a print job fails due to an unavailable printer, it automatically redirects to an available backup printer to complete the job successfully. Compounding with the hundreds of documents and outputs processed daily, this simple redirect rule significantly extends your environment’s value and reliability. 


Vasion’s Output Management solution has the reliability you’re looking for. 

Replace your Windows, Linux, or Unix print servers in your environment with a much more reliable and highly available Output Management solution that ensures any output makes it from your source applications where it needs to go, in the format it needs to be in, and when it needs to be there. The solution is backed by a robust feature set that ensures reliability at every stage:

 

If your organization manages multiple critical output processes for the business to function efficiently and successfully and is trying to do it over various disparate systems, or if you’re just looking for more reliability overall, chat with us about your goals, and we’ll discuss where we can help. 

Schedule a demo today.

PrinterLogic SaaS Is a Truly Serverless Printing Solution

Originally published March 17, 2020. 

The cloud came with a lot of promises. You’d be able to reduce physical infrastructure, manage everything from one place, and 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?

Centralized Management 

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. In its place, you can manage all printing from a single location.

Simple Implementation

 It’s easy to configure PrinterLogic SaaS and additional security features. Best of all, there’s no need to reconstruct your current print environment.

Unlimited Scalability 

Cloud printing adapts to your needs and seamlessly scales with you as you grow—from a single site to multiple offices, across multiple locations.

Convenient for End Users

All end users, regardless of role, can print where and when they need to—with minimal effort and less helpdesk tickets.

Cost-efficient

With cloud printing, print jobs become more deliberate, and you save by removing infrastructure and consolidating vendors and licenses.

Enhanced Security

Protect yourself from data breaches with secure and safe serverless printing. Confidential data doesn’t remain at rest in the cloud and stays encrypted until it’s behind your firewall. 

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

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

AWS-hosted. PrinterLogic SaaS is AWS-hosted and therefore meets rigorous standards for security and compliance.

Zero-trust Printing

PrinterLogic supports microsegmentation and integrates with native Identity Provider (IdP) integrations to keep your data secure. Features like serverless pull printing and Secure Release Printing are now augmented by simple badge release and offline secure print release in PrinterLogic SaaS.

More Release Options

Along with pull printing and Secure Release, serverless printing offers other release options for serverless secure printing. These include multifactor authentication (MFA) such as CAC/PIV as well as native control panel apps.

IdP integration

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.

Federal Compliance

Ours is the only print management software that’s been certified to meet stringent U.S. government security standards like FIPS 140-2.

Seamless User Adoption

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 takes just 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.

How to Unify Printing for Multi-Site Manufacturing Companies

After the slowdown from the pandemic, the manufacturing industry is picking up speed again. As companies ramp up production, they’re changing locations. More than 90% of manufacturing companies in North America have moved at least some of their production or supply chain in the past five years. Additionally, the construction industry is seeing a surge in spending for building new manufacturing facilities

As manufacturing companies expand to new sites and adapt to their new locations, they’ll need a streamlined print management system that works in all their buildings. Manufacturing companies are already investing in newer technology, but if they want to keep up with competitors, they will have to include serverless printing. 

  

Common Print Obstacles in Manufacturing 

Every manufacturer struggles with downtime. Total losses due to machine downtime are estimated at US$864 billion annually across Fortune Global 500 industrial companies. 

When printers don’t work or they’re too slow to print labels and other important documents, a company can experience dangerous downtime. Enterprises may struggle with complex and inefficient printing workflows across systems and multiple locations, hindering seamless document management and distribution. Ultimately, a lack of print solutions can hurt uptime, data accuracy, and the ability to track activity across an enterprise.

Another concern is cybersecurity. Ensuring the security of documents, especially sensitive or confidential information, is a worry for enterprises. The average annual cost of cybercrime for energy businesses (including oil and gas) is about $14 million. 

Additionally, according to an IBM report, cybercriminals focused more extortion attempts on manufacturing than any other industry. The printing process is a common vulnerability for data theft and cyberattacks, yet many companies don’t protect their printing systems.  

Beyond cybersecurity, document management and compliance pose additional challenges. Compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can be challenging without proper controls. Additionally, many manufacturing organizations contend with ineffective document archiving, making it challenging to access historical documents when needed. Without effective document control, workflows suffer from slow completion times, improper reviews, and a less collaborative environment. 

Finally, sustainability is another hurdle. The manufacturing industry produces about 1,800 pounds of waste for every person employed. To better care for the planet, governments are instituting new waste management laws and regulations. Staying compliant and more sustainable often requires changes in machinery, software, and processes—including printers and print systems. 

 

 

Benefits of a Streamlined Print Management System 

A streamlined print management system offers many benefits to manufacturing companies, especially companies with multi-site operations. Here are some competitive advantages companies gain when they move to a serverless printing system: 

Increased Productivity and Efficiency 

When manufacturing companies invest in a streamlined print management system, the system allows many kinds of production documents (such as invoices, receipts, supply chain documents, and quality control documentation) to automatically route to their destinations efficiently with rules and routing workflows. Admins can set rules to automatically reformat and resize documents into the required formats for printing, email, and cloud storage folders as needed for standard processes. This process streamlines workflows, which improves employee collaboration and productivity across all locations. 

More Uptime

More uptime means more money, more products, and happier customers. Manufacturing companies must ensure their printing systems have more uptime, which keeps other systems functioning with the documentation they need. A unified, serverless printing system can unite disparate systems and multi-site operations to make sure they’re all connected and functioning correctly. Doing this equals lower operating costs, more uptime, less manual intervention, and faster production. 

Stronger Data Security 

Data security should be a priority for companies, especially for those with several locations, as papers can be forgotten amid the multi-site shuffles. Additionally, having more locations creates a greater possibility of data breaches. Serverless printing solutions help manufacturing companies restrict employees’ ability to print specific documents to maintain security and compliance. 

When connecting back-end applications through output management software, customers can also utilize front-end printing capabilities like secure release and off-network printing for additional security. 

Less Waste and More Sustainability

Data from McKinsey shows that companies that integrate environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) priorities into their growth strategies outperform their peers. If manufacturing companies want to start implementing sustainability initiatives, print management is a great place to start. Streamlined print management solutions help companies avoid unnecessary paper waste. In turn, operational printing efficiency saves the company money, ink, and paper, as well as wear and tear on printers. 

 

Get More Uptime with PrinterLogic

Ensure every document reaches its intended destination and achieve greater control over document access, security, printing costs, and more with PrinterLogic. PrinterLogic delivers brand-agnostic printing to unite disparate systems at all your multi-site operations. To learn how PrinterLogic can support your manufacturing company with more uptime and better data security, schedule a free demo today

Chromebook Printing Got You Down?

Originally published March 14, 2023. 

January 2021 marked the beginning of something special: no more Google Cloud printing. 

Google Cloud Print offered Chromebook users an easy way to print, but let’s be honest, it wasn’t exactly the most robust printing application on the market. 

Why is Chromebook printing important?

Chromebook printing is important because Chromebooks generally offer the same memory, speed, and functionality as other operating systems—without the high price tag. 

Chromebooks are cheap (mostly under $400), the operating system is stable and fast, they have an outstanding battery life, and are utilized heavily in the education industry for distance learning. 

Additionally, it’s easier to put Chromebooks in the hands of students and workers alike because they give them all of the tools needed to perform daily tasks.

Except for printing with a Chromebook, that is. 

Here we are two years after Google Cloud Print’s deprecation. You’re still digging to figure out how to manage Chromebook print environments. Or you might be stocking up on Chromebooks for the first time, wondering what all the fuss is about. 

Either way, don’t let Chromebook printing get you down. 

We’re here to help by providing you with a list of Chromebook printing “don’ts” and an easier path to Chromebook printing once and for all. 

The Don’ts of Printing from a Chromebook

Before you start endlessly researching How to print with Chromebooks or How to print after Google Cloud Print, let’s eliminate the complicated tutorials and jump right into the “don’ts” of Chromebook printing. 

Don’t spend money on Chromebook-compatible printers.

Many quick fixes ask you to buy printers compatible with Chromebooks. Chromebooks can connect to newer printers via WiFi or a USB cable and have the drivers built in to handle most manufacturers. Many network and USB printers can work with your Chromebook right out of the gates. 

Have a lot of older, incompatible printers in your fleet?

Before you start thinking about buying Google-certified printers just to get your Chromebook print environment off and running, some solutions offer extensions that provide you with the compatibility you need to have a fully Chromebook-agnostic print environment. Solutions like these help you save money on time and hardware costs.

Don’t forget to update your systems.

If you haven’t updated your system in a while, it might cause your Chromebook to be uncooperative. Even if you set Chromebooks to update automatically, you still might have to “Restart to Update” to complete the installation. 

Furthermore, don’t forget to keep your printer firmware up-to-date to avoid running into future problems. Updating your printer firmware ensures smoother printing, enhances security, keeps compatibility with new operating systems, and unlocks new features that may not have been available on previous firmware versions. 

Don’t waste time manually connecting Chromebooks to your printers.

Admins assigned to a large fleet of printers with different makes and models simply don’t have the time to manually connect printers to their Chromebooks. Even if you successfully complete the daunting task of manually connecting all your Chromebooks with your printers, you’ll likely still be running infinite circles to ensure your users can always print. 

Some older printers don’t have the internet capability to connect manually via an internet connection. If you have a lot of older printers in your fleet, you could find yourself connecting Chromebooks using a USB cable. This old-school process significantly reduces end user mobility and wastes more of your valuable time. 

Don’t limit user mobility.

It’s easy to throw in the towel and ask your end users to connect to the printer via USB to print. Although it’s a great security measure, it’s not the best in educational settings or professional environments. Students moving from classroom to classroom need to be able to print on the fly. The same goes for hybrid work environments where users move from office to office. 

Any time a user is on your company network, they should be able to print to the nearest printer on the local network. Connecting via USB or limiting a group of users to a specific printer decreases productivity and doesn’t allow you to fully utilize other printers in your environment or equally disperse print job traffic.

Don’t sacrifice security.

It’s common to see admins manage Chromebook print queues using print servers. While they may be effective in terms of management, they pose too much of a risk in today’s print environments. Print spooler vulnerabilities like PrintNightmare turned routine printer installations and driver deployments into full-on marathons so users could print. 

Not to mention, there are situations where end users may use their Chromebooks to print to their home office printers, which aren’t always on a secure network. Printing to unsecured printers not only puts personal information at risk but puts the company’s critical data at risk as well. 

So how do you get the most out of Chromebook printing in your environment without overspending on compatible printers, wasting time on manual updates, and sacrificing security? 

Chromebook Printing for Enterprises and SMBs

Take all the uncertainty out of Chromebook printing with the PrinterLogic Chrome OS Extension. Get broad printer compatibility with driverless printing technology and access your printers’ advanced features on-the-fly to get the best possible output on every print job. The 100% device-agnostic Extension quickly pulls the printers’ settings and configures them for Chromebook users.

No more IT intervention necessary!

Better yet, no internet connection or a cloud-based service is needed to make printing work. 

 

FAQs

What printers work with Chromebooks?

While you’ll see various articles recommending Chromebook-compatible printers, we don’t recommend that as your first step. We’ve built a Chrome extension for Chromebook printing that bypasses the need to purchase new printers just so they “work with Chromebooks”. 

 

How do you print from a Chromebook?

By using our Chrome extension, of course. But if you’re not using that, there are quick steps to print from your Chromebook. Simply hit CTRL + P, select your Destination and preferred Printer. Click Print. Again, the challenge is some available printers may not be compatible with your Chromebook so try out our extension if you have trouble. 

 

Why can’t my Chromebook connect to my printer?

The most common issue is your devices are not connected to the same network. If that’s not the case, consider rebooting the devices involved: printers, Wifi, your Chromebook, etc.

 

Start getting the most out of your Chromebook print environment and provide your end users with the flexibility they need to print on the go. 

Get a free 30-day trial of our Chrome OS Extension today!