Digital transformation is the now. Businesses love it. They want it. After all, virtualisation saves time and money, frees up IT resources and improves productivity.
Moving things into the cloud is great. But what about printing? For many, the move to the cloud has perversely impacted ease of printing and security. That’s when the cloud bursts. Rain subsequently pours down all over your print setup.
Does that mean you should invest in umbrellas? Nope. Instead, turn your attentions towards a virtualisation strategy. This way you can float printing into the cloud.
Connecting printers securely to the cloud
According to Gartner, by 2020 “no-cloud” companies will be as rare as “no-internet” companies are today. Indeed, many companies are moving IT operations to the cloud. The head-scratching starts when it comes to printing.
How, ask many perplexed business folk, can printers be directly connected to the cloud securely? And, they contend with furrowed brows shipwrecked on their foreheads, how can this be achieved without VPN or firewall reconfiguration?
Great questions. After all, the reasons behind the mass move to the cloud are clear – cloud computing offers unique cost-cutting opportunities and efficiencies.
So let’s look at 3 ways in which your company can harness the power of virtualisation to reduce cloud printing problems.
1. Print Management
Challenge: Managing print processes has never been easy, right? Of course, you agree. Now if things weren’t hard enough, float cloud processes such as connectivity, mobility and bandwidth use into the mix and the complications rise faster than a New York elevator.
For businesses that have moved their data centre to the cloud, connectivity between the cloud and the printer is essential. And, for those with offices all around the world, achieving this can be tricky.
This is where a virtualised printing solution comes in. Calibrating your setup right improves workflow by connecting printers and the data centre through the firewall.
In linking things up, printing mobility also needs to be factored in. This is important as, once a data centre has been moved to the cloud, the typical system cannot track the location of print users.
Solution: A virtual cloud printing solution:
- Connects the cloud data centre to office printers
- Provides secure network-based pull printing
- Delivers on-demand printing so users can print anytime, anywhere, from any device
Printers aren’t optimised for the cloud. As such, users hit bandwidth issues as they aren’t designed to handle networks going in and out of service.
Network printers can indeed gobble up huge amounts of bandwidth. These problems vanish faster than David Copperfield when a virtual printing solution is introduced. A well-configured setup provides PDF compression which, in turn, reduces bandwidth use.
Well, when it comes to print security, print infrastructure is often overlooked by IT professionals. As such, network devices are used without proper safeguards in place. Throw cloud printing into the mix and the risks increase.
Shoring up printer security in a cloud environment orbits three core concerns:
Challenge: Sectors like insurance, finance and healthcare must conform to rigid compliance requirements. It’s just good practice for any and all businesses. Let’s face it, the loss of confidential data can result in severe fines and loss of public and customer goodwill.
Solution: A virtual printing solution enhances security with user-authenticated pull printing. This imparts IT admins with visibility into document ownership. Likewise, it prevents sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
Challenge: Even though sensitive data may be tucked behind a firewall, internet printing can enable unintended access to data. In some instances, code may be incompatible with internet communication protocols and require additional encryption.
Solution: A virtual printing solution can directly connect devices with printers through the firewall so print information remains secure all the way to the printer.
Challenge: Akin to the ever-growing pile of documents in your printer tray, the risks of location awareness are huge. MFDs, printers and copier stations are, after all, easy places to find all sorts of confidential data sitting around.
Solution: Printing to the nearest printer minimises the chances of someone obtaining restricted information. A virtual print queue, for instance, can assign a print job to the most suitable printer, regardless of the user’s location, IP address, workstation, user ID or proximity of signal.
3. Cost Savings
Challenge: We all know how expensive kids are. They eat all the food. They require constant maintenance. Often, they’ll break down and cry. Oh, and by kids, we mean printers.
Print and document costs can eat away 3-12% of your annual turnover. It is likely that much of that money is wasted.
Solution: A virtual print solution can trim printing costs through enhanced printer management, reduced waste and more robust administration.
With a virtual print solution:
- Users can instantly print to any device connected to the data centre. Even if a user moves to a different city they can print with zero setup. This means your IT team can focus on business-critical tasks rather than print management issues.
- You can massively reduce waste and, in turn, costs. Now, it doesn’t take a maths genius to know wasted toner, paper, supplies and electricity quickly add up. The solution, for instance, holds jobs if users are not in the right location or they select the wrong printer.
- Administrators enjoy enhanced control. Introduce control systems such as black and white printing and duplexing to save ink and paper.
Want to know more about virtualised printing?
Print management specialists RDT harness the power of UniPrint to bring error-free, on-demand virtualised printing to businesses in the UK and around the world.