Printing is still an essential aspect of our professional and personal lives. However, with the emergence of cloud technology, the printing landscape has evolved, and users are now faced with the choice of either cloud printing or local printing.
There’s more than one type of cloud. And there’s a variety of options for how to get there. I don’t mean up in the air, although the same is true. You’re on a print management blog, you know I’m referring to cloud computing and cloud-based print software.
Many modern businesses operate in the public cloud, but other organizations have already invested in private cloud infrastructure. Not all companies want are looking for a public-cloud hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for print. Some want to leverage the accessibility of the cloud, but keep the security, reliability, and availability of on-premises.
Each of these options has its benefits and drawbacks, and choosing the right option depends on individual needs and preferences. But how do you know if cloud-hosted or self-hosted is the right solution for you?
Locally hosted print management software
Local printing is the traditional method of printing where a printer is connected to a computer through a cable or a network and is managed by an on-premises print server.
Advantages of local printing
Since printers were designed as local on-premises hardware, there are many benefits of hosting print management software onsite:
Speed: It’s typically faster than cloud printing since the printing job does not have to travel over the internet to reach the printer. This helps organizations with a demand for high availability.
Security: All data stays within your network, reducing the risk of data breaches.
Control: Users have more control over the printing process, including the ability to manage printer settings and paper quality.
Disadvantages of local printing
Tried and tested as local printing may be, it does have some disadvantages which are driving many organizations to migrate their printing to the cloud.
Limited access: With local printing, guest users and transient users who aren’t connected to the local network will have limited access to printing.
Maintenance: On-site print servers require regular maintenance, including patches and updating software.
Cost: Print servers can be expensive to lease, and the cost/time required for maintenance can also be significant.
Cloud-hosted print management software
Cloud-hosted print management software can reduce costs for purchasing and maintaining on-site hardware. Depending on your organization’s business and printing needs, you have more than one path to the cloud.
Public cloud - a third-party provider hosts your print management software
Private cloud - you host your print management software
Public cloud-hosted print management software suits organizations that are in the public cloud already for their business resources. Private cloud-hosted print management software is ideal for organizations that need the power of local on-site printing and can host the server themselves.
Advantages of cloud printing
With public and private hosting options in mind, there are several advantages to cloud-hosted print management software:
Accessibility: Cloud printing functionality allows users to print from any device connected to the internet, regardless of location.
Cost-effective: Doesn’t require the purchase of a physical print server, reducing capital and expenses.
Maintenance: Cloud-hosted print management software means your environment is patched and maintained by the service provider thanks to continuous delivery, reducing the burden of maintenance for your IT teams.
Disadvantages of cloud printing
Cloud-hosted print management provides many benefits, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for cloud print management. There are some shortcomings to consider:
Security concerns: There are questions over who owns the data hosted in a public cloud print management service, which can raise security concerns.
Dependency on the internet: Cloud-hosted printing requires a stable internet connection to function correctly. If the internet connection is slow or unstable, printing jobs may not process correctly.
Speed: Some cloud printing services may take longer than local printing, as the printing job has to travel over the internet to reach the printer.
Cloud printing or local printing: which one do you need?
Choosing between cloud-hosted print management software and onsite print servers depends on the organization’s printing needs and business requirements. If you prioritize speed, security, and control over accessibility, then hosting locally may be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you prioritize accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use over security concerns, then cloud-hosted print management may be the best option for you.