It is fair to say that cloud computing is nothing new now and it has become a staple of everyday life inside and outside the workplace. With the cloud everywhere, it has replaced so much infrastructure in households and in office spaces. Just like entertainment streaming and countless other software platforms and infrastructure services, print management is another area of technology being enhanced by cloud computing. It’s an obvious enough desire: eliminate onsite print servers and leverage the cloud for your print environment.
The benefits of moving print management into the cloud
Of course, before deciding what cloud model to adopt, the first question many organizations will ask is ‘why should I move our print management into the cloud?’ Print management in the cloud has three benefits/trade-offs that need to be considered.
The first is that cloud computing allows us to simplify how we use technology. If it suits your print environment, you don’t need to bother with the behind the scenes maintenance of print servers. Many individuals and businesses are used to this with cloud services like Google Workspace, Office 365, and others. The realities of managing on-premise infrastructure doesn’t suit all individuals and businesses.
The second relates to cost flexibility and elasticity versus predictability. Not only does cloud-based printing reduce the infrastructure burden, it also offers maintenance advantages. With the various subscription-based cloud services we typically use – like those mentioned earlier – the hardware maintenance is handled for you. Cloud-based print management is also rapidly deployed, so it lessens the burden of implementation and administration. It also has the benefit of auto-scaling, depending on your requirements or usage, so it’s a much more flexible system than traditional solutions
Finally, there is the issue of the importance of end-to-end security for print management, and how to marry security and compliance versus simplicity. With on-prem or self-hosted print management, the data and infrastructure is managed by you, leaving you in complete control. You know where the data resides and you have complete access. The resulting benefit is that you are in the driver’s seat the entire time.. The benefits of cloud-based print management are that third parties handle it, resulting in you not having to invest in costly resources to manage the security element of your print server environment. For some businesses where security and compliance are king, this is a major consideration before shifting to print management in the cloud.
Ensuring Secure Print is Really Secure
Secure print is an essential component of print, whether it is cloud based or not. Secure print has to be considered holistically and in the context of the print lifecycle, which outlines what happens to a print job before, during, and after printing. It can be broken down thus:
- Before printing – this involves securing your print infrastructure (who can print, what they can print, and so on)
- During printing – this involves securing print workflows (security of the printing process itself)
- After printing – focussing on securing printed output (protection of documents once printed)
The Pandemic and the shift of Print Management to the cloud
Lately, we have seen the acceleration of businesses transitioning to the cloud. A Deloitte survey reported 87% of global IT decision-makers agree the pandemic will cause organisations to accelerate their migration to the cloud.
However, it’s not necessary to rush to the cloud. If a business is still managing with an on-premise print management set-up, it can probably stay with the model for the time-being.
That said, if you have a very simple print environment, there’s no reason to wait. There would be no harm in moving your print management to the cloud as soon as you can. This is especially true if yours is the type of workplace that’s already using cloud services. In fact, if you’re already in the cloud for the majority of your operations, it makes more sense to get your print management in the cloud than keeping or purchasing a print server.
Also Read: Three Traits of Successful AI Teams
Cloud-native is the most secure public cloud offering, because it has been designed to follow ‘shift-left’ security principles. Using our own cloud-native solution PaperCut Hive as an example, before one line of code was written, security was baked into the design. We didn’t leave it until penetration testing, which is also a vital part of designing secure solutions.
Of course, cloud adoption has accelerated due to Covid-19, with many workplaces meaning to move from on-prem data centres to the likes of Azure and Google Cloud. The fact is that cloud-based print is here to stay, and if you’re not printing in the cloud today… you will be in the very near future.