Printing is an essential part of any business. But as more employees are working remotely and companies try to enforce social distancing policies, managing your printed output is increasingly complicated. How can you get more paper printed and scanned and yet have fewer people hanging around the printer?
One answer is cloud printing, which makes it possible to print from almost any device and any location. It’s a powerful tool to keep your staff productive, safe and can deliver more cost-effective printing solutions.
To protect communities during the current public health crisis, the White House has advised all businesses to allow employees to work from home whenever they can. However, there are plenty of industries—often providing essential services—where this just isn’t possible. Essential businesses, like healthcare for example, need to scan and print patient information. So, how do you ensure remote workers can interact with content easily and ensure the safety of those interfacing with shared devices?
GO TO THE CLOUD
What is cloud printing? Cloud printing services allows you to print from any web-connected device by routing print jobs between your computer, smartphone or tablet and sends 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.
Traditional printing done through cables requires software driver updates and direct connections between devices to work. Cloud printing service eliminates the need for printer drivers and allows the printer to receive print jobs through an internet connection.
STORM CLOUD ON THE HORIZON
If cloud printing sounds like a panacea, be aware that there is a major challenge on the horizon. The popular Google Cloud Print management service will be discontinued after December 31, 2020. To ensure effective and secure printing capabilities from a Chromebook or other device, GFC recommends using a Print Management Solution such as PaperCut or Uniflow. This is 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.
WHY USE CLOUD PRINTING?
Cloud printing was designed to take advantage of web-enabled devices and make printing more seamless, painless and cost-effective. Cloud printing 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.
Bring Your Own Device: Users can print from any device, even personal phones, without having to worry about compatibility and drivers. It also means software updates happen automatically and security fixes are in place.
Reduce Your Footprint: When done right, cloud printing reduces the amount of waste generated.
HOW TO GET TO THE CLOUDS
Cloud printing is an easy technology to deploy in most environments. If you have a modern multi-function device which is cloud enabled, you can use a service like Google Cloud Print (while it’s still available) by accessing the Settings on a Mac, PC or Chrome device. (Full instructions are available here.)
However, 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 smart phone can access your print network. As mentioned above, 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, major print manufacturers like Canon, Ricoh and Lexmark have enabled cloud printing or offer a cloud printing app which can be downloaded from the Apple or Android Store onto a mobile device. An app will let users print documents and capture scanned data directly from your mobile device and help you to maintain social distancing from the print device itself. 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 not just for productivity but for safety. If your business needs flexible and modern printing services or you have any questions about this or any other print-related frustrations, please reach out to the print experts at the Gordon Flesch Company.