Companies are continuously looking for innovative ways to benefit from technology. One rising trend that businesses are adopting is cloud-based printing. With the many benefits offered by cloud printing, this will become increasingly popular in 2020.
Analysts predict that cloud-based printing will continue to grow at a rate of 4.48% through 2023, creating a market valued at $28.28 billion USD. Also referred to as cloud printing, the technology provides new flexibility for communicating among employees by printing from multiple devices to printers located on networks, in remote offices, at employees’ homes, and while on customer sites.
Cloud printing is simply a technology whose time has come, and business has everything to gain from adopting its capabilities.
What Is Cloud Printing, and How Does It Work?
Cloud printing replaces the old technology of computers interconnected to printers by hard-wired cables or even network connections. Wireless communications began the process of seamlessly connecting printers, providing ease of hardware movement, convenience, and new flexibility in print functions.
Harnessing the power of the internet now provides the ability to virtually connect any device to any printer, enabled by software that manages the functionality. Centralized servers control all aspects of printing activity:
- Who has access to each printer?
- What documents can be routed to specific printers
- Driver management that supports printers without the need for software on each device using the printer
- Observing printer activity and handling problems such as queue backup
- Monitoring printer supplies to proactively order toner or other consumables, minimizing downtime
Cloud printing services incorporate security that prevents unauthorized use of printers, and most utilize workflow functions to direct documents automatically to the right printers safely and securely.
Advantages of Cloud-based Printing
Regardless of the type or size of a business, number of printers, or number of locations, printing can be a significant expense to a company. Printer hardware is only the beginning. Installing and maintaining print servers, device drivers, and constant updates of printing infrastructure can amount to a significant expense.
Add in salaries and benefits for administrators or technicians, and the advantages of cloud printing become apparent very quickly. Transitioning to a cloud technology offers many advantages:
- Cost reduction – elimination of in-house print servers, driver updates, and maintenance of hardware and software resources.
- Optimized printing functions – print from any device to any authorized printer.
- Sustainability – print documents where they’re needed. Lower the need mailing and other transportation costs, reducing environmental impact.
- Paper reduction – by routing documents to the designated device, printing may be avoided altogether, instead of saving the digital version on devices such as tablets or smartphones.
Why Companies Selected Cloud-based Printing
There are numerous technical and business reasons that have companies moving toward cloud printing, or investigating its values:
- Security – this is a critical driver in moving to cloud printing. With intelligent software and managed print services, new levels of control exist over who prints documents, what types of documents can be printed, and where. Combined with modern multifunction printers that provide even more security controls, cloud printing offers new levels of security for confidential documents and minimizes exposure from unauthorized printing.
- Flexibility – cloud printing services enable businesses to add functionality as needed, without the cost of additional server infrastructure or software upgrades to support new printers. Cloud printing services manage the underlying technology, freeing in-house technical staff to focus on tasks more critical to the business.
Centralized management of cloud print servers and printers simplifies maintenance and allows fast response as business needs change. Scalability is a primary factor in most companies’ cloud computing decisions, with the same advantages applying to cloud printing. Cloud printing services can typically be managed as an operating expense line item, eliminating requests for capital to fund server purchases or upgrades.
- Efficiency – with the ability to print from any device to any authorized printer, employees can be productive from anywhere – even at home or on the road. Printing can still be done efficiently and securely. Digital distribution of documents for viewing or printing speeds business communications and allows for more effective collaboration between employees, suppliers, and customers.
- Environmental concerns – utilizing shared cloud printing servers reduces power consumption. Printing documents only where they are truly needed instead of making multiple copies reduces paper waste and saves printing supplies.
When considering implementing cloud-based printing, there are several questions you should include for potential vendors:
- Does the provider offer true cloud printing services, or supply hardware, with management and administration remaining your responsibility?
- What does the pricing include? Are you going to incur only a monthly charge, or will there be additional software licenses or other fees that could make it challenging to identify your total printing expense?
- Does the cloud service cover all the types of printers you expect to utilize in your environment?
- Can the provider include printers and printer infrastructure along with cloud printing services?
- Is the provider focused on security as you need? How will your print data be retained and protected in the cloud?
Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises (DME) first provides our clients with a detailed analysis of their printing environment. This enables us to help determine the most effective way to streamline business processes, save money, and implement a complete printing solution.
Take charge of your printing environment and expenses in the cloud. Contact the DME printing experts today for more information.