The print industry is guilty of talking about “the cloud” like it hasn’t been commonplace in business for the past 10+ years. But that’s because printing is the “last bastion” of the cloud.
Printing via the cloud is nothing new. But the hot topic for the print industry is hosting print management software in the cloud, rather than on local hardware like a print server.
What makes it all so mysterious and mythical is that printers/copiers/MFDs have a different relationship with the cloud than computers. Printers are mechanical devices. And for software in the cloud to manage printers there is always going to be a local piece of hardware of some kind. Whether that’s the software hosted on a computer, on the printer, or on a dedicated device like a server or a Raspberry Pi.
Because of all these nuances, there are many misconceptions and traps customers can fall into when considering cloud print.
So let’s bust some of the biggest cloud printing myths.
Myth #1: Moving print completely to the cloud is the best approach
Like all things, on-premises infrastructure and cloud services have their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your business needs, you want to leverage the best parts of each. It’s not necessarily a case of one size fits all.
Cloud administration is accessible from anywhere, no server hosting is required, but when it comes to printing we need to think of it in terms of IoT (Internet of Things). Printing doesn’t just entirely live in the cloud like Salesforce. There’s always an element of hardware. That is; the physical, mechanical device you’re printing to. Therefore, an intuitive approach is to leverage the best cloud pieces and the best on-premises pieces.
It’s an understandable business request: as much of your technology in the cloud as possible. But that big grey piece of hardware does need something to be facilitated by technology locally on-site.
You can read more about that in our blog on how cloud print management software works. And hear more about the “demystifying serverless printing” on our podcast.
Myth #2: Cloud print is less secure than on-premises print
Speaking of myths, this particular misunderstanding is an old folklore interpretation of cloud security. Even if your email server is local, it’s still talking to the internet. So if you don’t think twice about your email security, it’s the same with any other cloud infrastructure.
One of the main advantages of cloud services is security fixes are always up to date and managed by the provider. Patches are automatically managed. Your IT team doesn’t have to maintain servers manually. And most importantly, any vulnerabilities are constantly secured due to the continuous delivery of the cloud.
Myth #3: On-premises print hardware is harder to maintain in a cloud environment
The nature of cloud products is they are built to be self-updating and self-healing. So your local hardware can be kept secure and maintained by the power of cloud administration. Even when you have on-premises components, they can be assisted by a SaaS product. So the cloud can actually make your on-premises hardware easier to maintain.
Myth #4: There’s a one-size-fits-all cloud print solution
When it comes to print management software, there isn’t a magic unicorn solution that solves all the problems and suits every single workplace. With cloud print solutions it’s not a case of one cloud to rule them all, but about finding a flexible solution that can plug into your existing infrastructure.
For example, if you’ve migrated all your servers to Microsoft Azure, you want to ensure any cloud print management software plugs into Microsoft Azure. You want to find a solution that’s cross-platform and multi-OS compatible that’s flexible and scalable for your needs.
Myth #5: Cloud print is cheaper than on-premises
Cloud services can reduce your amount of onsite hardware like servers, but it’s not always the drastically cheaper option that some vendors may claim. The cost of a cloud-based print management solution depends on many factors, including how many printers are in your fleet if you’re running embedded apps for your software, and how many users you have.
There’s also the initial cost of cloud migration. Something to consider is how many years are left on the lifecycle of your current hardware. If there are 2-3 years left of ROI on your servers, it might not be the most cost-effective option to throw them out and replace them with a cloud service. But the good news is that cloud print management software provides you with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud. You pay based on how much printing has been performed by your users. So you can scale costs up and down as you need.
Myth #6: Cloud print needs less/no technical support
One of the advantages of cloud services is automatic patching and maintenance. Freeing up your IT team to perform other business-critical tasks. But this doesn’t mean you won’t need assistance from technical support or technical services experts.
The cloud environment for print is complex and constantly evolving. As some areas develop and evolve, technical expertise will be required from time to time. Technical support experts ensure that cloud services are configured correctly, performing optimally, and meeting your business needs.
If you’re an organization with strict security and compliance requirements, technical support engineers can help ensure data is backed up and recoverable. To go back to the first myth, the best approach to the cloud is leveraging the best of both worlds. So for the local elements, like embedded applications for example, a strong technical support team will help your organization minimize risks and ensure a seamless user experience.
There’s more than one path to cloud print
The overarching theme to busting all these myths is… nuance. Every workplace is different and there’s not one magical cloud to rule them all. Nobody knows your organization better than you, and if a cloud solution for print doesn’t fit you, you need to find the one that does. Whether you are looking to move to the cloud as entirely as possible, or just need a few pieces of technology to be cloud-enabled, there is a solution that can work for you.
Looking for print management software? PaperCut has solutions from self-hosted to cloud-hosted. Have a look at our product portfolio and compare the features based on what your organization needs.FIND OUT MORE