In 2013, when research firm Gartner released its report, “Market Trends: Evolving Cloud Printing Services, Worldwide,” a Gartner analyst who specialized in global print and document services noted, “Increased use of devices, like smartphones and tablets, is driving cloud printing services. While smartphone and tablet use is experiencing a rapid growth pattern, you will always need to print something.”
The cloud printing market has since matured considerably, and in many companies it is an important driver of productivity. However, as cloud services have evolved, shrewd business leaders have come to realize that the cloud is simply another connectivity resource. When workers are remote, as is increasingly the case, cloud printing can offer the perfect solution for accessing company print, scan and fax resources. When workers are in the office (on-premise), those same resources can be accessed over the corporate network, whether wired (e.g. Ethernet), wireless or cloud-based.
Cloud + On Premise for Optimal Results
In our experience, the key to maximizing productivity for secure, anytime, anywhere printing lies in ensuring all potential resources are available to the personnel who need them, regardless of the connection type. Such a “hybrid model” can offer a targeted combination of printing capabilities — some cloud-based and others on-premise. This approach can make it easier and more cost effective for business leaders to ensure their teams enjoy maximum efficiency, productivity and convenience.
The question for business leaders then becomes, “How can I best leverage cloud printing in tandem with my existing printer fleet to ensure my staff has secure access to the resources they need, regardless of their location?” Following is a list of best practices we recommend:
Printer Fleet Analysis
Before developing a hybrid printing model, we recommend business leaders confirm what they already have. In most organizations, the printer fleet grows “organically” over time as various department heads and other business decision makers gain approval to purchase printers ad hoc — or purchase them from unallocated budget, with no approval needed.
At the outset, we recommend performing an analysis of the print fleet to determine its composition, whether it fits the firm’s current needs and whether it is secure. (At Novatech, we have the ability to perform this analysis with technology. Our complimentary, in-depth “Nsight Analysis” includes an inventory of clients’ current printer assets.)
Print Fleet Rightsizing
With the analysis completed, business leaders can determine if they should adjust their current printer fleet to improve workflow and maximize their device usage. They may discover some of their existing printers have both on premise and cloud capabilities, enabling the devices to support printing in multiple departments at the office if not across town.
In some cases, simply relocating printers and other document management equipment will equip employees with additional connectivity. If management can reduce the need for workers to travel to different departments or buildings to retrieve printed documents, the firm will save time and increase document security.
Addressing the Cloud Element
The dangers of the cloud have been widely publicized over the past few years, resulting in increasing concern among business leaders who use the cloud or are planning a cloud migration. Yet, although the cloud (or for that matter, even a wireless network) is inherently less secure than a wired connection, that doesn’t mean it cannot be safe.
This is an important issue to address, since a large percentage of printers are vulnerable to being hacked. A group of ethical hackers proved this point last year when they scanned the Internet looking for vulnerable printers and found 800,000 that were open to attack. To prove their point, they hacked 28,000 of them. The key to ensuring printer security along with availability lies in securing the network and the print resources with appropriate cybersecurity. Novatech can secure your network, and our print partners offer security assistance, as well. Our experts would be happy to speak with you about both.
In summary, secure anytime, anywhere printing is entirely possible when firms work with providers that have the expertise and technological sophistication to ensure it. We invite any business leader interested in learning more to contact us at 800-264-0637 or open a live chat session at https://novatech.net/contact-us/. The Gartner analyst’s comment, “You will always need to print something,” is one of most business owners’ universal truths. Let’s make sure doing so doesn’t exposure your firm to unnecessary risk.