Printing Management Software: Do You Need It?

Originally published July 5, 2023. 

According to printing giant Xerox, 61% of organizations have experienced data losses due to unsecure printing practices. Internal document theft is up. The financial damage caused by data breaches is getting harder to swallow. And companies are taking note.  

These are staggering threats from something as simple as printing a document. The good news is that secure printing solutions can protect your organization, as well as offer some cost-saving benefits.  

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 at the printer. 

Secure printing is slightly different than pull printing. 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 protects confidential documents. However, secure printing solutions provide benefits that extend to the remote workforce and help future-proof your print environment. 


How can secure printing solutions benefit you?

1. They help you reduce legacy infrastructure.

Secure printing solutions aren’t exactly “secure” if you can’t reduce legacy infrastructure. In this case, we’re talking about print servers. 

After the PrintNightmare fiasco in 2021, it became clear that print servers needed to be wiped from the picture. Secure printing solutions remove print servers from the equation and don’t hold print jobs in a spooler queue. Instead, print jobs are held at the workstation or the printer and remain on the local network until a user is ready to release it.

In addition to increased security, eliminating legacy infrastructure can save a lot of money. Up-front cost is a common concern when replacing entire systems, but some executives don’t realize that legacy printers require high amounts of electricity and frequently need repairs. Secure printing solutions allow teams to get rid of the expensive, clunky legacy equipment and offer more energy-efficient and long-lasting printing options. 


2. 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 working on an outside network. 

This functionality enables out-of-office end users to print freely and release documents at the office at their convenience, putting a stop to using home office printers (which are a huge security liability and impossible for admins to track). Even with remote employees working all around the globe, secure printing also offers visibility.

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.  


3. They adhere to Zero Trust standards.

Secure printing is a crucial aspect of complying with Zero Trust standards, meaning that anyone who wants to print must provide verification. The additional layer of security keeps confidential information 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 also has to integrate with the identity providers (IdPs) used in your environment. 

IdPs provide your company with a double layer of security that end users must go through before they can print. IdPs 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

 

4. 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 print jobs to a designated printer on the company network and release them later without having to hop on specific company computers just to print a few documents.  

However, there’s 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. 

 

5. They future-proof your business.

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

Secure printing solutions set you up for 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. 

Even better, they take pressure off IT.

With a more modern and free IT team paired with the ability to work with remote and hybrid employees, secure printing solutions pave the way for you to thrive now and in the future. 


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.
Schedule a demo and see how PrinterLogic can change your printing today.

How Does Pull Printing Support Your Organizations in 2023?

In today’s fast-paced digital era, businesses are searching for ways to secure their data and documents without disrupting printing processes. One feature that has gained mainstream prominence is pull printing. Also known as follow-me printing or secure printing, pull printing transforms traditional printing workflows by introducing a user-friendly approach to authentication and keeping confidential documents in the right hands. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of pull printing and uncover three ways pull printing supports businesses in 2023. 

 

What is pull printing?

At its core, pull printing is a print management strategy that allows users to securely release and retrieve their print jobs from any network-connected printer within an organization. Unlike the traditional “push” method, where print jobs are sent directly to a specific printer, pull printing employs a virtual queue system. Users send their documents to the virtual queue and can then authenticate themselves at any pull printing-enabled printer to release and print their files.

Pull printing has become so widely adopted that its capabilities have extended to remote employees that need to print off-network. Click here to learn more about pull printing for off-network and remote employees. 

 

How does pull printing streamline printing processes?

One of the key advantages of pull printing is its ability to streamline printing workflows, optimizing efficiency and productivity—while adding an extra layer of security. With the traditional approach, employees often face long queues at specific printers, leading to delays and frustration. To top it all off, users can retrieve all of their queued print jobs at the printer in bulk, instead of making a trip to the printer for every print job. 

Pull printing offers a device-agnostic approach to printing as well. Users can send print jobs from their computers, laptops, or mobile devices to a virtual queue (instead of spooling on a print server), allowing them to print on demand at their convenience. This flexibility saves time and improves productivity, as employees can retrieve their documents from any nearby printer without having to wait in line or walk to a specific location. 

Moreover, if a printer is out of order or busy, users can easily redirect their print jobs to an available device or simply walk to another pull printing-enabled printer to release their print jobs, further enhancing efficiency.

 

How does pull printing optimize security?

In addition to streamlining workflows, pull printing significantly enhances document security. In traditional print environments, sensitive documents may be left unattended in shared output trays, increasing the risk of accidental (or intentional) document theft. Even if documents aren’t stolen, the last thing you want is for employees to see sensitive information like how much money Tom in sales is raking in or a list of expected layoffs following a merger. 

Pull printing addresses this concern by requiring user authentication at the printer before releasing the print job, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access and retrieve the printed materials, mitigating the risk of data and confidentiality breaches.

Industries dealing with sensitive information, such as healthcare, finance, and legal services, greatly benefit from pull printing’s heightened security measures. Confidential patient records, financial statements, legal documents, and other sensitive materials remain protected until the intended recipient is physically present at the printer and authenticates their identity.

 

How does pull printing address sustainability initiatives?

Pull printing offers instant financial and environmental benefits to organizations by minimizing print waste and associated costs. Instead of automatically printing every document, print jobs remain in the virtual queue until the user releases them at the printer. This allows users to review their documents, make corrections, or delete unnecessary pages before printing. 

The reduction in print waste not only saves money on paper and ink but also contributes to a more sustainable environment. According to Deloitte’s 2023 Sustainability Report, 54% of organizations use climate-friendly solutions to achieve their sustainability goals. 

And this push for sustainability isn’t only to preserve the environment, either. It’s to lure in eco-conscious consumers. 

Research shows that consumers have become more selective in the brands they choose. A separate Deloitte study shows that consumers prefer companies actively reducing their carbon footprint and committing to ethical working practices—both of which pull printing can help cover.  

 

So, is pull printing a must-have feature?

If your organization is adopting additional security measures and viewing sustainability as a key player in your future business success—then, yes. Even if you’re only looking to cut print costs, implementing pull printing pays quick dividends. 

As businesses strive for increased efficiency, productivity, and security, pull printing emerges as a valuable tool. Its user-centric approach and enhanced document security make it an ideal choice for organizations of all sizes and industries. By implementing pull printing, businesses can optimize their printing processes, cut costs, and strengthen their overall security posture, setting the stage for success in 2023 and beyond.

At PrinterLogic, we offer a free 30-day trial so you can see if pull printing is a good fit for your current environment. Schedule a demo today

 

How Print Management Services Can Reduce Printing Costs

You’ve asked users to print less, stop printing in color, and use duplex for every print job. As a result, your users have risen up in rebellion and continue to make costly printing mistakes—printing in simplex, using color ink for every print job, and leaving jobs in the print tray. 

We’re kidding, of course. 

But when you’re trying reduce print costs in traditional print environments, it is a constant struggle. Print management services can help combat habits that make printing expensive. 

 

The reasons you’re overspending on printing. 

Printing and print servers have a closer relationship to your organization’s bottom line than you may think. Here are a few overlooked expenses in traditional print environments:

  • Print consumable waste (e.g., toner, paper)
  • Purchasing, deploying, and maintaining servers and endpoint devices
  • Time spent on print-related helpdesk calls—for users as well as IT staff
  • Lost productivity due to printer downtime and print service interruptions
  • Excessive time and resources devoted to deployments and driver management

And those are only the major ones. 

Add them up in dollars and it will likely amount to a shockingly high figure—which is money that your organization could be saving or allocating to other areas. The problem is, conventional print management services don’t address these issues in a systematic way. These preventable costs have become an accepted part of the status quo.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Forward-thinking print management services can reduce printing costs dramatically.

 

How do print management services save you money?

Think of print management services as the ultimate tune-up of your print environment. You’ll no longer be stuck performing tedious server maintenance, deployments are more precise, and you get access to features designed to cut costs without sacrificing efficiency. 

 

1. They eliminate print servers (and printers) from your environment

The costs of maintaining, licensing, upgrading, and powering print servers stacks up over time. You’re not only dealing with expenses here, either. Countless hours are devoted to print servers just to keep printing afloat in organizations. Print server crashes lead to hours of damage control and employees are less productive when printing services are down. 

Print management services enable IT teams to remove print servers from their environment and consolidate management to a single platform. With a bird’s-eye-view of your print environment, you can identify which printers aren’t being utilized in your environment and remove them from your printer fleet. 

The removal of legacy infrastructure doesn’t just cut down your company’s electric bill. You experience long-term saving by removing tedious server maintenance and increasing end user productivity. 

 

2. They allow you to track costs

Users print every day. With hundreds, if not thousands, of users to manage you can imagine how tracking print jobs seems like a daunting task. And it is. Especially in decentralized print environments. 

Print management services allow you to determine the cost of each print job (color and greyscale), allowing you to calculate the precise dollar amount of paper and consumable usage. You can narrow your search down to users, devices, and groups to see where printing is being used the most (or the least) and determine which areas to develop stricter printing policies to cut costs.

Who knows? You may find that a few users don’t need printers anymore, allowing you to minimize your printer fleet even further. 

 

3. They promote sustainability (and security)

You’re probably calling our bluff on this one. But sustainability and security go hand-in-hand in modern print environments. By authenticating end users at the printer before they can receive their print jobs, you can cut down on paper waste, cancel accidental print jobs, and make sure print jobs aren’t left in the print tray. 

And users aren’t inconvenienced by the extra step, either. 

You and your team can choose the authentication method that works best for your end users. Print management services offer a few of the following release methods like badge release, entering a PIN at the control panel, web browser release, and QR code scanning. 

Most solutions don’t offer the full lineup of authentication methods mentioned above. For more info on Secure Release Printing (pull printing) click here

 

4. They enable you to limit print volumes

Some IT teams have a tighter budget to work with. Having the ability to limit print volumes by setting quotas for users or groups is critical to maintaining healthy print costs. 

A few ways Print Quota Management can help organizations on a budget:

  • Admins can set a maximum allowance on print jobs per user/group based on price or volume
  • Limit print jobs to a specific page count (i.e., users can’t print more than 10 pages per print job)
  • Assign print quotas by modes (i.e., color, greyscale, and duplex)
  • Set time delays between print jobs to reduce unintentional print jobs
  • Create recurring quota periods to reset every month, quarterly, or yearly

This feature set enables admins to identify which users and groups are printing the most, helping you determine how to allocate print volumes across your organization. Plus, you stop losing sleep over questionable 100-page color print jobs that have nothing to do with work. 

 

Start saving today with SaaS print management. 

Print management services provide ample ways to reduce the financial burden printing can have on your organization. Yet, few solutions offer a complete SaaS platform that unifies your entire print environment, eliminates your print servers, and promotes sustainability with its feature set like PrinterLogic does. 

What’s more, PrinterLogic is free for your first 30 days.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about serverless print management.   

Managing Your Clinical Printing with Epic from a Unified Platform

This blog is part of a three-part Output Management series about the Oracle Health EHR , Epic, and SAP connectors. Read the other installments on Oracle Health EHR and SAP

Epic Systems Inc. is the leading supplier of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software in the U.S. and is expanding its customer base worldwide. It’s a highly trusted solution for many healthcare organizations. 

Despite Epic’s many strengths, managing printing in this environment is often challenging for IT because Epic queues are handled separately from other forms of (non-clinical) printing. There’s a way to unify the management of both administrative and clinical printing in a single Administrative (Admin) Console, with additional secure print methods—I’ll explain below.

But first, how can Epic host your environment?

Epic has two primary hosting architecture options: an on-premises, customer-hosted model and a cloud-based, Epic-hosted model. Customers may choose either model based on their infrastructure and the amount of control they want to have over their environment.

On-premises

An on-premises, customer-hosted model is a traditional method for Epic installations. It offers IT admins more control but requires more infrastructure and resources. Print management can be labor-intensive. Because printing is mission-critical, IT admins must create and manage multiple identical print servers for load balancing. They monitor their status and keep them synchronized.

Cloud-based

When Epic hosts the solution in the cloud, print servers are no longer controlled by the healthcare client, and administrators can no longer add to, remove from, or make changes to their print queues. Nor can they install software to help them manage their environment. They must contact Epic to open a ticket for every change. The response can be fast, but in some cases, there are delays. Many admins we work with want a more straightforward solution they can control. 

Either model has upsides and downsides. In any case, managing printing can be cumbersome without a solution to reduce the complications of multiple asynchronous servers and limited administrative access.

That’s where PrinterLogic comes in. 

PrinterLogic gives IT full control and allows healthcare organizations to manage all of their printing from one Admin Console—both for the clinical Epic environment and business-management office printing.

There are two ways PrinterLogic manages printing for Epic customers. One involves keeping the traditional Epic print servers but providing a powerful Admin Console for managing drivers and print settings across the Epic infrastructure. The other method is available by installing the PrinterLogic Epic Connector. Our Epic Connector eliminates the need to deploy drivers and queues to print servers altogether, unifying all forms of healthcare print management—including clinical and general office printing—from a single pane of glass. I’ll explain how it works. 

How does the PrinterLogic Epic Connector work?

The PrinterLogic Epic Connector reroutes print jobs so that, rather than flowing through a web of disconnected servers and drivers, it’s directed through PrinterLogic to the destination printers. The PrinterLogic Admin Console then becomes “mission control,” enabling you to manage the various servers, drivers, and queues across both Epic and clinical printing without the need for third-party equipment or services. 

Here’s how it works in 4 steps:

  1. The Epic Connector utilizes Epic’s Output Management API to receive documents to be printed directly from Epic, sent via HTTPS.
  2. These documents are sent with an XML file specifying the destination printer, print settings, the user who sent the job, and additional metadata. 
  3. The Epic Connector processes the job without a driver, eliminating the need to spool and render the job as with a traditional driver. If a driver is needed for specialty printers like label printers, the Connector will fall back to a selected driver for direct IP printing.
  4. Once printed, the Connector will use the included metadata to properly report user-level printing records and respond back to Epic that the job was successfully printed. This service includes automatic redundancy to protect against failures ensuring business-critical Epic printing is not interrupted. 

 

 

This architecture can be used with either on-premises or cloud-hosted instances of Epic on version 2018 or later.

This solution allows end users to securely hold their print jobs, which requires the user to authenticate their identity at the printer with an employee badge swipe, QR code scan from a mobile device, pin or password, and other release mechanisms, for the job to print. Secure Release can reduce print volume by up to 20 percent and prevent PHI or PII from being exposed to unintended viewers. 

Off-Network Printing is another method—allowing any traveling or contracted providers working in a hospital or clinic temporarily to still access networked printers and print, while not having official network access. When a job is printed via an off-network print queue, the job travels through the cloud, is received by an Internal Routing Service on the network, then pulled to the destination printer. 

How is the Epic Connector set up with an existing environment?

Setting up centralized management of printer drivers and settings for all Epic print servers is very straightforward. It only requires one simple step: The administrator installs the PrinterLogic agent on each server and allows the agent to import all existing print queues and their settings. 

Once imported, the administrator can work completely from PrinterLogic’s web-based Admin Console to update drivers, change settings, add or remove queues, and more, to gain more granular control over their environment. 

These changes automatically apply to all appropriate print servers to keep them in sync with one another without the need for manual changes or scripting. This method is only supported with on-premises instances of Epic.

Interested in eliminating all of your print servers?

We deliver a highly available serverless printing infrastructure, all managed from a cloud-based centralized Admin Console. We’d love to show you how. Schedule a demo here to learn more. 

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.