How to Achieve the Printing Efficiency You Need with Rule-Based Automation

Output Management Rules & Routing

Your electronic medical record system, enterprise resource planning, and other large-scale applications your organization relies on form critical parts of business processes. It’s crucial the output from those systems ends up in the right place, in the correct format, and on time.

With Vasion’s introduction of Output Management comes higher reliability, speed of delivery, and unification of management for both office and back-end application print management when printing from these systems, but still leaves the opportunity to further increase the efficiency, accuracy, and reliability of print and workflow tasks. 

 

Our customers stress that better efficiency is necessary for their output processes.

One of the concerns commonly brought up by customers I’ve spoken to has been ensuring uptime for critical printing with their printers themselves. If the printer designated for shipping labels or customer invoices breaks, it can put a serious dent in productivity while it’s down, and it’s not always easy to redirect traffic to a new printer within a customer’s application, resulting in unacceptable downtime.

Additionally, these environments often bring processes requiring manual intervention. A healthcare organization we worked with hoped to reduce costs by printing the majority of their documents in black and white, with only after-visit summaries printed in color to maintain a positive patient experience. Now, a manual touchpoint is introduced into the printing process, and it’s up to the individual clinician to remember to select the correct setting for just that type of job every time. 

 

These, and many other examples, drove Rules & Routing, a rule-based automation feature, as part of our Output Management Bundle. 

I challenge you to look deeper into your printing processes–you’ll notice those manual touchpoints often arise in your print environment, like manually converting documents to print-ready PDFs, paper notes taped to the printer reminding employees to print only in black and white, and attaching digital files to emails after scanning. These can all be automated as rules that trigger specific actions based on a set of behaviors. 


The three main components of Rules & Routing: 

  • Triggers are used to watch for specific events that should prompt the Rules & Routing service to decide which course of action to take.
  • Conditions provide the qualifying attributes that decide whether or not an action should be performed.
  • Actions are the actual behavior applied when conditions are met. 

These automated rules reduce or even eliminate any manual intervention, alter print data, increase document security, ensure proper delivery of documents, and more. In addition, document delivery goes beyond printers, including delivery direct to storage folders or through email, eliminating the manual touchpoint for your coworkers. 

 

Let’s look back at the example above from our customer needing to ensure continuous uptime for their printing processes. 

To solve this issue, I would create a rule that automatically reroutes my print data to a backup printer in the event we detect print failures on the primary printer to avoid long periods of downtime by following these steps:

  1. Create a rule with the trigger “Print Job Failed”
  2. Choose a condition selecting the primary printer(s) you are watching for failures
  3. And the “Redirect print job” action, where you’d select the backup printer
  4. Optionally, you could also add an additional action to email the originating user to alert them their job is located on a new printer

What Are the Key Components of a Serverless Print Infrastructure?

As IT professionals are looking to move away from legacy print solutions, the idea of a serverless print infrastructure is becoming more widespread. That’s true even in large enterprise organizations, where print servers have been an unnecessary evil for far too long.

A serverless print infrastructure brings more flexibility, greater scalability, and increased resiliency to the print environment. There are fewer moving parts without servers acting as single points of failure. 

There’s also less that can go wrong. 

But what features and functionality does a serverless print infrastructure have?

 

Key Components of a Serverless Print Infrastructure

Before we delve into what life after servers should look like, it’s important to answer: What is a serverless print infrastructure?

A serverless print infrastructure is cloud print management hosted under a SaaS solution or on-premises. Instead of relying on print servers for management, driver deployments, and other printing needs, serverless solutions leverage the cloud to unify print management for organizations and provide IT teams with increased oversight of print ecosystems from a single UI.

Below are some key components of a serverless print infrastructure to show you what you can expect when making the switch. 

 

Reduce print infrastructure

Implementing serverless printing means consolidating your entire print environment. All print servers in your organization become obsolete, and you can manage your locations on a single platform. This consolidation and oversight of your environment allows admins to weed out unnecessary printers in your fleet that aren’t being used. 

Serverless printing infrastructures are also more device agnostic, enabling you to utilize all of your company’s operating systems and devices while avoiding additional hardware purchases for compatibility purposes. 

 

Keep print jobs local

The WAN connection is the Achilles heel of traditional print solutions. If that connection is interrupted, printing is too. The speed of printing—along with all other Internet activity—can slow to a crawl if WAN traffic is heavy. 

The best way to increase print speeds for users is by removing the need to spool print jobs on a server and preserving network bandwidth. 

Serverless print infrastructures provide faster, more secure printing through a direct IP printing model. Print jobs are sent directly to the user workstation to the printer via direct IP and stay behind your company’s firewall on the local network. 

 

Native printer driver support

Lots of organizations have legacy printers that are fussy about drivers. They’ve also invested in current-gen hardware with advanced features that are only supported by native drivers. Supporting old hardware alongside the new is a big reason why those organizations are reluctant to eliminate their print servers.

Although you can use universal drivers if you prefer, a serverless infrastructure should have native driver support that lets you take advantage of your printers’ full range of features. Plus, you can manage, update and roll back printer drivers from a single user interface.

 

Next-gen integrations with apps and devices

Server-centric print environments lack integrations with modern-day solutions that power successful businesses. Even if they do integrate, the features are mediocre at best and don’t bring out the complete functionality of your devices. 

Serverless solutions should integrate with EMRs, ERPs, and VDIs to simplify printing in all complex environments. They should also work seamlessly with your identity providers (IdPs) so you can authenticate users before they have access to printing features. 

 

VPN-free printing

Some software print solutions make a big deal of being hosted on a cloud server. But these still require a VPN tunnel into your network, which limits accessibility. A robust, serverless print infrastructure should be accessible from any device with an Internet connection—no VPN required.

This is especially critical for hybrid employees who are always changing locations. They shouldn’t lose printing capabilities when they are off-network. Instead, any serverless option should offer ways to print securely on any network from any location.  

 

Print data and document security

Security is the watchword in enterprise circles. Moving to a serverless printing infrastructure means no longer losing sleep over PrintNightmare vulnerabilities. But there’s more to enhanced security beyond going serverless. 

The best print management solutions also present opportunities to leverage secure printing features like pull printing or Secure Release Printing, both of which require users to authenticate at the printer before receiving their print job. These features reduce the risk of losing critical documents after leaving them in the print tray and help maintain industry compliance standards. 

In terms of protecting your print data and ensuring your security needs are met, serverless solutions should be able to protect your data from end-to-end and should be constantly monitoring their security posture to remove future threats to your data.

Check out ISO 27001:2013-certified serverless print solutions here.  

 

Self-service printing 

Mobile employees need access to printers on the go. But in traditional print environments, these users inevitably call the helpdesk for assistance just to install printers. 

You can imagine how much of a headache this is for IT. Every time a user changes locations or needs a new printer, they get a call. 

Serverless printing should provide features like self-service printing, empowering your end users to install printers freely—without IT intervention. This cuts down on costs associated with helpdesk tickets and end-user wait times, boosting overall productivity and freeing up time for IT teams.

 

Automated, location-based deployments

Another component of a serverless print infrastructure is location-based deployments or proximity printing. This automated feature delivers printers instantly to users in the background based on their IP-address range. Automated deployments offer a streamlined way to give printers to users without requiring advanced scripts or GPOs.

Let’s consider a crew of traveling nurses going to and from branch hospitals for a second.

Time is always of the essence in healthcare settings. In a serverless print environment, admins can give nurses immediate access to printers in any networked location. So when a nurse takes out their device, they can simply choose the printer they want and print to it. This ensures faster printing and keeps jobs secure since they are kept on the local network (mentioned above). 

Automated, location-based deployments also greatly reduce helpdesk calls and allow admins to determine printer settings in bulk so end users don’t indulge in unnecessary color or single-sided printing.  

 

Try Serverless Printing Free with PrinterLogic

You’ve seen what a serverless print infrastructure can do for users, your IT team, and your organization, so why not experience it for yourself?

PrinterLogic unifies printing for all your locations on a single SaaS platform. Our centralized, direct IP approach to print management streamlines deployments, empowers users to install printers themselves, and offers the integrations and feature sets needed to secure your data. 

Try a no-risk, 30-day free trial of serverless printing today.