Before we begin, it’s important to set the scene.
In this article we’re going to focus on the features and benefits of cloud print management. Not to be confused with cloud printing, (a service that allows users to print over the web from any device to any printer, such as the now deprecated Google Cloud Print), or traditional print management, (the process of outsourcing the production and distribution of printing materials to a third-party).
In short, cloud print management enables organizations to remove reliance on cost and energy-intensive print servers and instead leverage a serverless infrastructure to centrally manage printing devices and printing.
Cloud print management platforms combine the power of cloud administration and local network printing; offer parity in terms of the feature-set and functionality compared to on-premise solutions; and deliver a consistent look and feel across Chrome, Chromebook, Windows, and macOS devices.
The ability to deploy, secure, control, and track print in the cloud brings multiple benefits, not least of which is a significant reduction in print-related IT burden. Cloud print management solutions enable overworked IT teams to streamline printer management, reduce the time spent troubleshooting printer issues, and refocus their attention elsewhere.
Far from being a recent innovation, cloud computing (defined as the on-demand availability of computer system resources) can be traced back to the 1940s and 50s.
However, it was a few decades later – the late 1990s/2000s – before the cloud became more mainstream. In 1999, Salesforce pioneered the idea of using the internet to deliver software programs to end-users, and other well-known names in the cloud computing space include Amazon who launched Amazon Web Services in 2006, and Google who introduced Google Docs in the same year.
The concept of not physically owning technology and consuming everything ‘as-a-service’ has been a slow burn – that was up until the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic which amongst other things, was a clear catalyst for cloud migration.
Faced with weathering the storm of ensuring business continuity and enabling a remote workforce to conduct business as usual, forward-thinking organizations advanced their digital transformation agendas and pressed fast-forward on their cloud-first strategies.
The overall SaaS (software-as-a-service) market is expected to continue growing, as organizations around the world embrace purchasing a variety of business functions on a monthly subscription-based or pay-as-you-go model. In fact, according to Statista the SaaS market is estimated to reach 208 billion US dollars by 2023.
According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, cloud consumption continues to expand across all industry verticals and disrupt the ways in which IT provisions, manages and orchestrates resources. The question is no longer if, but instead when, for organizations that have yet to enter the age of cloud.
Traditionally, print has been one of the last areas to be considered when moving core applications, workloads and storage to the cloud. Typically concerns around difficulty, legacy integrations, budget constraints and security, have stopped many firms from making the leap.
However, the tide seems to be turning as more and more organizations recognize that a cloud-based service is the future of print management. The legacy model reliant on on-premise print servers is no longer fit-for-purpose – it simply can’t deliver what today’s flexible, mobile, hybrid workforce needs. Savvy business leaders are pushing back on the conventional on-premise infrastructure in favour of migrating print to the cloud where it’s always-on, always secure and easy to manage. In fact, in a report published in August 2022, Future Market Insights projects the global cloud printing services market will expand at a 12.2% value CAGR by 2032.
It’s not surprising therefore that there are a number of OEMs (print manufacturers) including Lexmark, Canon, and Konica Minolta to name a few as well as a number of ISVs (independent software providers) such as directprint.io, PaperCut, Printix and Vasion that offer cloud print management solutions.
Managing print can be challenging for IT administrators. Key pain points include managing printer deployment, installing multiple drivers, enabling access control, setting up group policies, manning a help desk – the list goes on. And let’s not forget the end-users who simply want to be able to print without having to jump through hoops to do it.
directprint.io’s seamless integration with Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Chrome OS, provides admins with frictionless deployment and robust, secure local printing with an option to add cloud print capabilities.
directprint.io is a secure, SaaS print management solution for cloud-first organizations that does the heavy lifting – enabling IT teams to quickly and effectively deploy, secure, control, and track print in the cloud.
Our vendor-agnostic platform is compatible with all printer makes and models. We support over 5,000 printer models via Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 across Chrome, Windows and Mac operating systems. directprint.io also supports receipt (POS) and label printers.
The full-stack universal print driver allows IT to automate time-intensive tasks and eliminate the need to manually deploy multiple printer drivers and manage numerous updates. It also includes configurable advanced finishing options across all printers.
Our handy new Device Radar tool turbo-charges the printing device on-boarding process. With Device Radar, customers can onboard and deploy an unlimited number of printing devices and make them accessible to end-users, in just a few clicks.
Plus, directory sync capabilities with Google Workspace and Microsoft Azure AD ensures simple printer deployment. Users are allocated printers based on their log in, so as soon as they turn their machine on, they automatically get the correct list of available printers.
By managing the print infrastructure in the cloud, you’ll benefit from automated patching and monitoring, safe in the knowledge it’s always up to date and always secure. We’ve also built in a whole host of features to keep end-users secure, such as enabling existing single sign-on, login and authentication policies to be connected to the software.
IT leads can enable secure pin release on printers to protect confidential information and directprint.io also supports zero trust environments.
Policy management capabilities enable administrators to take control – to configure default settings; apply print policies; enable advanced options such as stapling and hole punching; control access, add users and more – all from a central point. Plus, Edge Print gives IT admins fine-grained control over which printers are available for remote printing, they can control which users can print remotely and even grant granular privileges that determine which groups or individual users can use which devices.
IT leads benefit from complete visibility of all print activity on the network and can use those insights to identify where they are wasting resources. The directprint.io cloud platform provides instant access to real-time data and highly-detailed reports which allow customers to track print activity across the organization.
Customers can specify print budgets for printers, rooms, properties, organization. Azure Groups or Google Org Units and receive an email notification when budget levels are approached or exceeded, making sure they never overspend on print again.
If you’re looking to drive strategic change, redefine workflows and save your organization time and money by reducing on-site hardware with a cloud-based print management solution – why not try a free 30-day trial?.
Our cost-effective subscription model is flexible and allows you to scale up or down in line with your business needs. We’ve even created a handy online calculator so you can get an exact quote in seconds.
There are several cloud deployment models – private cloud, public cloud, community cloud, and hybrid cloud.
Public cloud. A public cloud is a cloud deployment model where computing services – including storage, bandwidth, or CPU cycles, are offered over the internet and shared by multiple organizations and individuals who want to use or purchase them.
Private cloud. Private cloud is dedicated to a single customer. This cloud computing environment combines many of the benefits of cloud computing with the security and control of on-premise IT infrastructure.
Hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud combines cloud resources with on-premise IT infrastructure. This model allows organizations to maintain a private infrastructure for sensitive assets or workloads that require low latency and take advantage of additional resources in the public cloud when required. According to an IBM report, the hybrid cloud market is expected to reach $128 billion by 2025 with 98% of companies planning to use the environment.
Multi-cloud. A multi-cloud strategy involves splitting computing workloads between more than one public cloud provider, this approach has become more prevalent recently according to Statista, with the number of large enterprises adopting a multi-cloud approach expected to rise to 94% by 2023.
Community cloud. A community cloud is a cloud infrastructure in which multiple organizations share resources and services based on common requirements.