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

Best Practices When Implementing Centralized Print Management in an Enterprise

It’s easier to keep track of things when they’re all in one place. That’s why centralized print management is such an important goal for IT teams. However, it can take a lot of work to implement in large organizations with many moving parts like different operating systems, printer models, locations, and user needs.

It’s even more challenging when your infrastructure is working against you. 

Print servers and other prototypical corporate printing solutions don’t allow you to view and manage everything from a single pane of glass. Instead of unifying the print environment, they fragment it.

However, with the right resources, centralized print management is more than just possible—it’s easy to implement. And the long-term payoff can be huge if done correctly. Read on to learn the best practices to implement centralized print management.

 

Eliminate your print servers

More infrastructure doesn’t equal more features and more convenience. This assumption is one of the most common mistakes in print management. It is also one of the leading reasons organizations end up adding print servers when their print environment is underperforming. Which, in turn, only creates more hardware to juggle and increases overall costs. 

And, after the PrintNightmare scare, admins wished they had eliminated print servers instead of adding to their fleet.

Serverless printing infrastructure empowers you to ditch your print servers. That’s because it uses direct IP, which creates one-to-one connections between computers and printers without servers. At the same time, it helps bring the entire print environment together. All of those client/printer relationships are housed under one solution and managed from a single console.

 

Simplify printer deployments and driver maintenance with a single console

If your organization is after centralized print management, chances are you’re looking for a more streamlined print experience for admins and end users. Centralized print management gets you one step closer to simplifying deployments by providing a single console that allows you to deploy printers with just a few clicks and manage your printer drivers from a single repository. 

Admins can add new printers or make changes to existing ones effortlessly. They can even use Active Directory criteria to set up advanced deployments. On the other hand, end users can leverage Self-Service Printer Installation features to install printers by themselves—drastically reducing helpdesk intervention. 

 

Find a scalable solution 

When you think of traditional direct IP printing, the term “scalable” doesn’t usually come to mind. But server-based corporate printing solutions aren’t very scalable either. To scale up, they always call for more infrastructure. Otherwise, performance goes downhill.

A serverless printing infrastructure enables print environments to become incredibly scalable. Even ones that are growing. If you open or acquire a new location, you can import its printers automatically. There is no need to airdrop another print server to service a new office. 

 

Prioritize print security

Protecting your printers has become as commonplace as locking your door before you leave the house. It’s more than necessary. And you don’t want your property to get stolen. 

So, how do you keep threats out of your print environment? 

It’s simple. Require your users to have a key (password) to be allowed inside. 

When you eliminate your print servers and move to cloud printing, you open the door to integrations with IdPs, which mandate users to verify their identity before giving them access to necessary applications—including printing. On top of that, serverless print management offers advanced security features like pull printing, requiring a second layer of authentication before print jobs are released. 

 

Consider your sustainability goals

Businesses are doing all they can to create a more sustainable workplace, not just in terms of future growth, but also making an intentional effort to lower consumable usage to help the environment. Printing is, of course, a great place to start. 

Centralizing your print environment by eliminating your print servers does wonders for your sustainability initiatives in a few ways, including:

  • Reducing the amount of electricity used by print servers
  • Removing unused printers from your print fleet
  • Providing features like pull printing to create intentional printing habits
  • Setting limits on maximum print job size to cut back on paper usage
  • Tracking and auditing print jobs to calculate print costs per user, group, and department

And these are just the basics. 

Sure, you could just ask people to print less, restrict access to most printers, and cross your fingers that they’ll print duplex. However, serverless printing gives you control over what end users can do and provides the features and functionality to make sustainable printing almost automatic. 

 

Get proven results with SaaS print management 

Moving to a serverless print management solution allows admins to eliminate print servers and get centralized print management on a single platform. 

Take our customer, Aquafin, for example. 

This large Belgian wastewater specialist first went from hundreds of Novell IP printers to four Windows print servers. Then, it migrated again to PrinterLogic’s fully serverless printing infrastructure. At each step of the way, our solution helped Aquafin apply best practices and get optimal results. Read the case study here.

Large or small, your organization can do the same. Schedule a demo of PrinterLogic today and get a 30-day free trial to discover how quickly and seamlessly you can achieve centralized print management in your print environment.

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.

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

 

 

What Causes Slow Network Printing? And How Do You Fix It?

Nothing irks end users more than long wait times at the printer. After begging the printer to spit out paper to no avail, the responsibility falls on IT to find the root of the issue. Unfortunately, there are many reasons for slow printing such as print server overload, network traffic from other offices, or outdated printer drivers.

Whatever the issue may be, there are ways to speed up printing without adding more hardware to the mix—which, let’s be honest, is never the best option. 

 

How to fix slow network printing

Before considering adding a print server, going the decentralized route, or increasing your hard disk space, it’s worth starting with a rudimentary approach to fix the problem. 

Here are a few steps you can take to speed up printing:

 

  1. Access the printer’s properties
  2. Adjust some settings
  3. Speed up slow spooling on your print server
  4. Try using fewer printer drivers 
  5. Use dedicated disk drives

 

Step 1: Access the printer’s properties

If you’re using some variant of Windows Server, I have some news for you. This happens to be the platform where most slow network printing issues arise. The first thing you’ll want to do is access the printer’s properties. Enable the “Spool print documents so program finishes printing faster” option. This actually helps the network printer avoid getting overwhelmed.

 

Step 2: Adjust the settings

Next, check the “Start printing after last page is spooled” sub-option. Not the “Start printing immediately” option. This is one of the top workarounds for slow network printing. It’s because it won’t split print jobs in the middle of printing. It also won’t delay the network printer for other users if another larger job is taking a long time to spool.

 

Step 3: Speed up spooling

In the same properties box, be sure to review the “Print spooled documents first” sub-option. If your network printer’s response is slow and a large client pool accesses the server, checking this option could speed things up. It prevents small jobs from getting stuck behind large jobs that take a long time to spool.

 

Step 4: Try using fewer printer drivers

Using too many printer drivers in Windows comes with a few glaring disadvantages. Drivers eat up resources and, even if you uninstall them, printer drivers can leave monitoring services running which takes up more space on your disk drive. A way to cut back on this is by using universal printer drivers or standardizing which drivers are used when you can. 

To find out more about centrally managing your printer drivers, click here

 

Step 5: Use dedicated disk drives

To optimize print performance, try using dedicated hard drives for spooling instead of a shared drive for spooling and the OS. If you have the budget, using solid-state drives (SSDs) can speed things up further and be more reliable.

On the off chance these steps don’t pan out, we have a surefire way to put an end to slow network printing—forever. 

 

If all else fails…try this alternative

Unfortunately, many of these solutions are temporary, costly, or not guaranteed to work. One of the best and most reliable workarounds for slow network printing is eliminating your print servers and managing your print environment from a central location. 

Consider the benefits for a second.

You get rid of the single point of failure, all printer objects are managed in the cloud, and you’ll be able to identify issues a lot quicker with increased oversight. Getting rid of print servers creates direct IP printing connections between clients and printers, removing the spooling process permanently and putting any worries of another PrintNightmare vulnerability to rest. 

Put all of these possibilities together and you can see how managing direct IP printing in the cloud translates into fewer print-related helpdesk calls. Overall, serverless printing is more stable and users will be more productive with faster print speeds. 

 

Never deal with slow printing again

PrinterLogic accelerates day-to-day enterprise printing in distributed environments that rely on a centralized print server. Because print jobs generated at remote sites have to first travel to the central server for rendering, then back again to the local printer, printing speeds are subject to WAN traffic loads. This frequently results in the local network printer being slow to respond. 

Available in on-prem or SaaS offerings, our platform is centrally located to minimize infrastructure and reduces print-related WAN traffic by keeping print job communication between user workstations and your printers without leaving the local network. So the next time you get calls about slow network printing, remember there is a way out

Learn more about eliminating your print servers and delivering faster print speeds to your end users.

Printing Management Software: Do You Need It?

You’re diving deep, contemplating if printing management software is right for you. You’ve looked into cost, feasibility, integrations, and every other tidbit on print management, only to remain in limbo about transitioning to a new solution. 

Now is a better time than ever to step back and ask yourself a few basic questions:

Are print servers causing printer downtime?

Is print management the brunt of my workload?

Are most helpdesk calls print-related?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, print management services are certainly something to consider.

But first, let’s discuss what printing management software is to help you decide if it’s right for you.

 

What is printing management software? 

Printing management software can be hosted on-prem or in the cloud and streamlines the print management process by giving administrators a centralized platform to oversee print jobs. 

Print management solutions offer businesses a way to utilize all their devices, operating systems, and printer manufacturers, all while delivering a streamlined printing experience for end users.

With this compatibility and oversight, admins can control costs, provision printers to the right end users, and better secure their print environment since print jobs aren’t spooled on a print server—all of which we will cover later. 

 

What are the benefits of printing management software? 

The benefits of print management software go far beyond centralized management of print jobs. They eliminate the guesswork from print management by providing admins with all the tools they need to address gaps in their environment. 

 

Printing management software reduces infrastructure.

Whether you’re moving to on-prem or cloud-based printing management, you can reduce legacy infrastructure in your environment by eliminating some (if not all) of your print servers. Along with reduced infrastructure, users enjoy quicker print speeds and IT doesn’t have to worry about print server maintenance and licensing—which can be time-consuming and expensive depending on how many you have.

Cloud-based solutions make print servers obsolete altogether. And print servers aren’t the only thing you can eliminate. The oversight you gain from print management software helps you identify unused printers in your environment, helping you decrease the number of printers in your fleet. 

And security patches? You’ll never have to think about those, either. The best print management solutions are constantly fine-tuning in the background to fill any potential security gaps. 

 

Printing management software increases overall productivity.

You can imagine how printing management software boosts IT productivity. Less infrastructure to manage means more free time to do other projects. Centralized management means quicker response times to address print-related issues. And increased insight leads to more accurate cost tracking.  

End users benefit just as much, if not more. Printer downtime is almost non-existent without spooler crashes. Fewer printer problems translate to fewer helpdesk calls. Cloud print management solutions even have self-service capabilities that allow users to install their own printers without relying on IT support. 

 

Printing management software is better for the environment.

Companies are doing their best to lower their environmental impact. In most cases, the first step is cutting back on paper usage in the office. But for most IT teams, it’s hard to tackle sustainability initiatives without inconveniencing end users. End users need to print and shouldn’t feel guilty when they have to. 

Serverless print management software makes printing more intentional by allowing admins to configure default settings for printers company-wide. For example, suppose your organization uses too much paper and color ink. In that case, you can set printers to revert back to greyscale and duplex settings after a user initiates a print job. This minimizes unnecessary color printing and encourages duplex print jobs to reduce consumable usage.  

 

Printing management software secures your documents and data.

A must-have in every organization, document and data security creates a safer space for users to print and protects customer information from internal and external threats. Cloud print management protects companies in a few different ways:

Authenticate All Users: Printing management software offers IdP support which authenticates users before they access applications required to print. This keeps malicious actors out of your network and only gives printing access to those who need it. 

Pull Printing Functionality: Another essential layer of authentication, pull printing, requires users to verify their identity at the printer via PIN, password, or badge swipe before they can release their print jobs, removing the possibility of users leaving documents in the print tray.  

Secure Printing for Mobile Employees: Contractors and contingent workers can print securely to any network printer from anywhere in the world—without having to be on the company network.

Keep Print Jobs Local: By centralizing your print environment with on-prem or cloud-based print management solutions, print jobs don’t leave the company network. 

These are a few basic necessities to secure your documents and data in today’s print environments; however, few solutions offer airtight security without sacrificing ease of use. 

 

So, do you need printing management software?

We’ll leave that decision up to you. 

But. (There’s always a but.)

We recommend testing the waters to see which print management solution fits you best. PrinterLogic offers a 30-day trial of serverless printing—no strings attached. 

Click here for your free demo

Need a little more guidance? Check out this Going Serverless Guide that walks you through a five-step process to eliminating your print servers and simplifying print management.

Serverless Printing Infrastructure Advantages

“Serverless printing.” 

No, we’re not talking about an off-the-shelf printer connected to a USB cable or a couple of Wi-Fi-connected printers in a tiny office. 

Although both of these scenarios are technically serverless, they aren’t built to meet the goals of organizations trying to grow. In an enterprise, where the scale and complexity of the print environment is significantly greater, it’s hard to imagine ditching print servers to manage 50-plus printers.

However, if done right, serverless printing offers advantages that go far beyond just eliminating print servers.

 

What is serverless printing?

Serverless printing means no longer relying on print server architecture to handle your printing processes and management. Instead of jobs rendering in a print spooler, jobs are sent from the workstation directly to a networked printer. All print management tasks are handled on a centralized platform, print jobs stay local, and any concerns around server security vulnerabilities are removed as well. 

Serverless printing is designed to fit the needs of growing organizations and allows IT to adapt to unexpected changes that would derail traditional print infrastructure. It’s also the best solution for companies that are:

  • Reducing legacy infrastructure
  • Moving to a remote/hybrid workforce
  • Experiencing security concerns
  • Unifying devices and locations
  • Cutting down on consumable usage
  • Adopting Zero Trust Network Architecture

These are just a few examples of steps companies are taking to future-proof their business. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how serverless printing solutions allow companies to take all these steps all at once. 

 

Advantages of Serverless Printing

Serverless printing pays immediate dividends from the moment of implementation. IT no longer has to provision, license, or maintain print servers. Contrary to the IT burden servers cause, serverless printing offers the tools IT teams need to effectively “set it and forget it.” 

Plus, there are additional advantages of serverless printing that streamline IT print management:

 

Serverless printing eliminates all your print servers.

Going serverless means eliminating all of your print servers and replacing them with a cloud solution so you can manage company-wide print activity from a central location. 

The returns are evident from the get-go. 

No more PrintNightmare or single point of failure. Server crashes, spooler hangs, and other downtime vulnerabilities that impact print availability go away. Data-heavy print jobs no longer have to travel across the WAN to and from a datacenter or a consolidated server. Plus, you reduce infrastructure, increasing productivity across your company.

 

Serverless printing gives your hybrid users mobile printing capabilities.

In this case, mobile printing means printing on-the-go, regardless of location.

End users moving between offices can gain instant access to network printers in your cloud based on their location. Serverless solutions allow admins to either set up automated deployments based on IP address range or empower users to install printers themselves without requiring elevated privileges. 

Serverless solutions also offer off-network printing capabilities, enabling users to print to any networked printer from anywhere and keeping jobs encrypted behind your company’s firewall. This functionality discourages users to print from home and keep confidential print data secure—without tapping into costly VPNs.

 

Serverless printing increases your print security. 

Eliminating your print servers already offers a significant security boost; however, the security benefits of serverless printing extend much further than servers. In particular, going serverless prevents document theft and provides automated security updates

Document theft is a risky business. But it can be done easily by leaving documents unsecured in the print tray. Serverless printing removes that risk by providing secure printing features that enable end users to hold print jobs on their workstations until they authenticate at a designated network printer. Popular authentication methods include badge swipe, control panel application, or mobile app release.

Serverless solutions also roll out automatic updates hundreds of times per day to fill in any existing security gaps in your print environment. This takes the pressure off of admins to apply patches manually just to keep attackers out. 

 

Serverless printing consolidates your print management.

Whether you have one or 100 printers, serverless printing provides a way to centrally manage all of your users and devices on a single platform. 

What does this do for admins?

Print-related requests can be addressed quicker. Deployments can be done in just a few clicks—without GPOs and scripts. And you can delete or add printers and users with ease. 

This is awesome for IT. But users benefit just as much.

Users get printers faster, printer uptime increases, and they stop calling the helpdesk to add or install printers. Serverless printing solutions are also more device-agnostic than traditional print environments, meaning users can utilize any networked devices to print regardless of operating system or printer manufacturer. 

 

Serverless printing creates eco-friendly habits through cost-efficient printing.

Sustainability and savings go hand-in-hand with serverless printing. This is possible through tracking print jobs and setting print quotas

Serverless solutions unify your entire print environment, providing insights into print jobs by user, device, and department. This allows you to calculate costs per print job and generate reports to see where your organization could be saving money. You can also manage printer settings in bulk, such as ensuring users are printing with duplex settings and only using color ink when necessary.

To stay within budget and create more intentional printing habits, you can also set print quotas by volume or price. This keeps printing costs down and promotes sustainability throughout your organization.

Learn more about how serverless printing promotes eco-friendly habits here.  

 

Serverless printing drives Zero Trust adoption.

Users in Zero Trust environments are essentially guilty until proven innocent. They’re required to authenticate and are continuously validated before gaining access to necessary applications. 

With serverless printing solutions, you can reduce legacy infrastructure, receive constant security updates, and authenticate end users throughout the printing process to prevent data theft. Going serverless makes it easier to adopt Zero Trust, allowing you to:

 

Minimize Attack Surfaces: Removing legacy infrastructure like print servers minimizes your company’s chances of being breached.

Protect Confidential Data: Keeping print jobs local and implementing secure printing features ensures documents and data stay in the right hands.

Authenticate End Users: Requiring end users to verify their identity before they can print keeps out internal attackers.

Defend Against Attacks: Receiving automated security updates allows you to verify that your devices and data are fully protected.

Support Hybrid Workforces: Allowing hybrid workers to print securely to network printers when they are outside the company network keeps work moving. 

 

Try serverless printing for free. 

These advantages highlight just how serverless, centrally managed printing is actually far better suited for today’s enterprise environments than print servers. By implementing serverless printing, Cott, a massive beverage corporation with global reach, was able to eliminate more than 50 remote print servers, dramatically reduce the time and resources the company was devoting to print management and establish a scalable print environment for future growth.

The good news is you can go serverless too. 

PrinterLogic is a cloud-native, direct IP print management platform that centralizes your print environment by eliminating your print servers. We offer a complete SaaS platform that streamlines print management and empowers end users to install their own printers, helping to reduce helpdesk calls by up to 95%.

Get your free 30-day trial so you can experience serverless printing for yourself. 

Click here to get started.

Print Servers Not Working? Eliminate Them!

Horror stories surrounding print servers are all too common. In fact, before PrintNightmare flooded the tabloids, you’d hear about disappearing “ghost” printers, spooler crashes caused by heavy print traffic, and, of course, plans to add more servers to distribute workloads. 

The list of potential print server issues is as long as a high-volume print queue. 

You’ll see what issues we mean in the sections below. 

 

What’s the REAL problem with print servers?

Print server issues tend to be wide-ranging and recurrent. Permanent fixes for printing issues are few and far between, and the smallest problems can lead to a cascade of events that affect IT and end-user productivity. Take this basic occurrence for example:

  1. You deploy a printer to a user.
  2. The user clicks “print” and nothing happens.
  3. Frustrated, the user calls the helpdesk for help.
  4. The user waits around until they can print.
  5. IT arrives and devotes time to solving the issue, only to discover it was a botched printer installation. 
  6. Rinse and repeat.

The more users and printers you have only add to your workload. This is exactly how a tiny print server mishap can spiral out of control. Depending on how severe, several minutes or hours can pass by before printing is able to continue, and in cases of corrupted drivers or print queues, the problem might affect other users in the meantime, which, you guessed it, translates into more calls to the helpdesk. 

print cycle

It’s time to let print servers go. 

It starts with the single point of failure. 

Print server crashes cause printing to come to a screeching halt. Productivity decreases, panic ensues, and you’d think the whole organization is on the brink of a catastrophe. 

Having more than one print server doesn’t mean the issues stop, either. More servers increase the need for more resources and labor to maintain them. Plus, admins forfeit centralized control making it harder to track print jobs, keep costs down, and deploy printers to correct users. 

 

The IT workload is overbearing.

In terms of workload for IT teams, there’s server maintenance, licensing, and replacements. And, depending on the size of an organization, servers may require around-the-clock babysitting to ensure printing stays afloat. Printer deployments are becoming more complex as businesses expand, open new locations, and adopt mobile and dynamic work environments. 

In traditional print environments, users don’t have the ability or resources to install their own printers, resulting in calls to the helpdesk just to gain access to printers. In truth, most print-related requests would disappear just by empowering users to handle their own printing needs.  

 

Security issues are a concern.

PrintNightmare was a wake-up call for organizations. Admins felt the brunt of it with security patches and strict deployment methods taking over.

We could just stop here on our security rant. But, we won’t.

Hybrid work has brought another headache to print security: home printers.

Employees are printing confidential documents from home more than ever and, if printed on an unsecured network, the data and information from those print jobs can be swiped by cyber attackers. Plus, a lot of these jobs go untracked by IT. The only way to limit the security risks is to ask users to connect their home printers to their computers via a USB cord or use expensive VPNs.

And then there are unattended print jobs. 

Although sometimes unintentional, many print jobs are accidentally picked up by other users, improperly disposed of, or just sit in the open for too long. This critical customer and company information can be used with malicious intent by internal actors for financial gain or competitive advantage—both of which are detrimental to an organization. 

 

Print servers affect your company’s bottom line.

Printing costs companies up to 3% of their total yearly revenue

It doesn’t seem like much, but a company that makes $20 million is projected to spend $600,000 on printing alone. And these costs are untraceable in traditional print environments—especially under a decentralized management model. 

print cycle

Wasted paper and ink caused by unnecessary print jobs, failure to print in duplex, and printing personal documents at work are all reasons companies spend too much on printing. However, many of these issues can be circumvented by gaining more insight into print activity across your organization.

Plus, in distributed print management models, your organization is on the hook for licensing, maintenance, and replacement costs for each server you have. Quocirca estimates a single print server costs organizations up to $5000 per year. 

Depending on how many print servers you have, you save a lot of money by eliminating them. 

 

What do you gain by eliminating your print servers?

Faster printing, less printer maintenance, and increased oversight to name a few. But you’ll immediately notice the aforementioned issues with servers and traditional print architecture go away when you eliminate your print servers and move to cloud print management. 

print cycle

Centralized management: Cloud print management solutions unify your distributed print environment allowing you to see and manage all printers and users in your organization from a single console. Support native drivers from any printer manufacturer in a single repository. 

print cycle

Boosted security: Eliminating print servers enables you to reduce infrastructure along with them, minimizing attack surfaces and removing PrintNightmare concerns. Take advantage of next-gen IdP integrations to authenticate users before they print.  

print cycle

Fewer helpdesk tickets: No more spooler crashes or print-related helpdesk calls to install printers. Cloud print solutions empower users to install their own printers—without requiring elevated rights. 

print cycle

Easier deployments: Set up customized deployment criteria from a centralized console and deploy printers in just a few clicks—without scripts or GPOs. Automatically deploy printers based on IP address range to deliver them to users on the go. 

print cycle

Cost-efficient printing: Cloud print management allows you to keep tabs on print costs per print job, user, machine, and department. Leverage features like Print Quota Management and Secure Printing to make printing more intentional and cut down on consumable usage.

print cycle

Hybrid-friendly features: Mobile employees gain access to printers automatically when moving between floors and office buildings. Put an end to home office printing concerns by giving hybrid users the ability to print securely off-network.

 

Print servers not working for you?
Eliminate them. 

As much hassle as print servers are, as much time and money as they waste, it’s a head-scratcher that organizations keep going back to them like they’re the only game in town. 

There are superior alternatives out there. But few deliver a full SaaS experience that requires zero on-prem architecture, is ISO 27001:2013 certified, and addresses the most prominent pain points of traditional print management. 

So the next time a print server crashes, fails to show all associated printers, or just stops working altogether, remember you don’t have to continue down the same path. 

PrinterLogic can help you.

Our centralized, direct IP approach to print management allows organizations of any size, sector, or structure to eliminate print servers completely while enjoying increased uptime and advanced features like secure printing that drive sustainability—even in tricky virtual environments where VMware or Citrix printing is a must. 

Get a free 30-day trial to experience serverless printing today