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What is Cloud Print Management, Really?

Kelly Glaser
11/04/2021
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Printing is an essential part of any business. But as more employees work remotely, managing your print output is increasingly complicated. How can you track printing, save on print costs, help limit unnecessary waste, and secure systems across your organization?

One answer is cloud print management, making it possible to print from almost any device and any location securely. It’s a powerful tool to keep your staff productive and can deliver more cost-effective printing solutions.

Even though there are many employees across the country working from home, there are plenty of industries—often providing essential services—where this just isn’t possible. Essential businesses like healthcare need to scan and print patient information, and schools have reopened, meaning more printed lesson plans and materials.

Most organizations, however, have a hybrid model that includes both remote and in-person work environments. So, how do you ensure remote workers with a professional-grade home printer can scan and send materials easily and collaborate with those who are interfacing with shared devices? And how can you enhance productivity all around? That’s where a cloud print solution comes into play.

What is Cloud Printing?

Cloud printing services, often referred to as cloud print management, allows you to print from any web-connected device by routing print jobs between your computer, smartphone or tablet and sending them to an internet connected printer. It also allows users to quickly discover printers and print from their own device without the need to set up driver installations. Cloud printing service eliminates the need for printer drivers and allows the printer to receive print jobs through an internet connection.

Traditional printing, on the other hand, deploys expensive on-premise print servers, cables and printing infrastructure that requires software driver updates and direct connections between devices to work.

Types of Print Management Software

There are several types of print management softwares available on the market, but many of them fail to provide the robust functionality and security required by most organizations. Google Cloud Print was once a popular option, but it was discontinued after December 31, 2020. To ensure effective and secure printing capabilities from a Google Chromebook or other device, GFC recommends using a print management solution such as PaperCut or uniFLOW.

These applications are easy to use and are especially useful if you administer Chromebooks and Google Android devices. The good news is that print software like Papercut can cloud print from Windows, MacBooks and iOS devices and will offer native printing to Chromebooks in addition to other printing options. In other words, it’s compatible with most any device and any operating system.

Why Use Cloud Printing?

Cloud printing was designed to take advantage of web-enabled devices and make printing more seamless, painless and cost-effective. Among the benefits of cloud printing are that it can:

  • Lower Your Costs: The obvious reason to manage printers in the cloud is that the cost to install and maintain cloud printing is much lower than a traditional infrastructure.
  • Support Bring Your Own Device Policies: Users can print from any device, even personal phones, without having to worry about compatibility and drivers.
  • Reduce Your Footprint: When done right, cloud printing reduces the amount of waste generated and can even reduce the number of printers you need.
  • Monitor Device Usage: Cloud print management software has reporting capabilities, showing you who is printing what and data on costs so you can optimize your print environment.
  • Enhance Security: Ensure that only authorized users can retrieve copies and keep data secure. It also means software updates happen automatically and security fixes are in place.

How to Implement Cloud Printing

Cloud service for printing is an easy technology to deploy in most environments. Most modern multi-function devices are cloud enabled.

For a full-featured, enterprise-class network, you will want to deploy a managed print software solution. This will allow you to enable security features and authentication that will ensure not just any person with a smartphone can access your print network. As mentioned, PaperCut software has native cloud print services and uniFLOW Service for AirPrint provides secure print services for iPad, iPhone and Mac while offering secure, centralized administration for your print devices.

In addition, cloud-ready printers from major manufacturers like Canon, Ricoh and Lexmark already enable cloud printing or offer a cloud printing app. These apps can be downloaded from the Apple or Android stores onto a mobile device. An app will let users print documents and capture scanned data directly from their mobile devices. You should also be able to use your favorite cloud storage services (Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive etc.) to access or store scanned documents.

 

Mobile cloud printing is an important feature for productivity and data security in today’s changing business landscape. If you’re rethinking your printing needs and want to understand more about how to optimize your print environment, download our President’s Report: ReThink Print infographic.

If you prefer to talk about how your business can benefit from flexible and modern printing services or have any questions about print-related issues, please reach out to the print experts at the Gordon Flesch Company.

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