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Print Geeks 039 | Why all schools need print management software

If there’s one thing PaperCut knows… other than printing… it’s printing in education!

For this installment of Print Geeks, I’m joined by an old guest. Old as in he hasn’t appeared on the show in a while. I’m not being ageist. Although we do call him Poor Old Ali… But it’s a term of affection, I swear.

Al drops by the show to delve deep into why print management software is crucial for K-12 schools and higher education institutions. Who’s Al? Well, he’s my boss. But other than that, he’s the Global Communications Lead at PaperCut and he wrote the book on print management in education. Well, we did. Literally this book

Join Al and me as we discuss facial scanning technology, report cards, and Lord of the Rings for some reason. Complete with poor imitations of drum rolls!


  • Welcome to Print Geeks 0:00:15
  • Today’s guest: PaperCutter Al 0:01:31
  • School famous: the kids know PaperCut! 0:03:12
  • Why print management is essential in education 0:05:20
  • BYOD printing: anytime, anywhere 0:12:41
  • A note on print enablement 0:15:19
  • Visibility: print data and insights 0:17:22
  • Ease of use: making printing simple 0:20:43
  • Cost savings: control consumables 0:27:03
  • Cost recovery: payment kiosks 0:29:17
  • Data and document security 0:31:02
  • Waste reduction 0:38:13
  • Freeing up IT time 0:41:36
  • Summary 0:45:39

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Now with a (slightly edited) episode transcript

Kieron: Hello and welcome to Print Geeks. Your one-stop podcast for all things geeky about print and tech. I am your host, PaperCutter Kieron, Tech Journalist: Scourge on Word Counts, Bootleg Bruce Willis, Makeshift Jason Statham. And I am podcasting today about a topic that… Let’s be honest. Let’s be real. Let’s keep it 100… A topic that PaperCut knows quite a lot about. And that topic is… ed-u-cation. We’re going to tell you why all schools - and that’s not being hyperbolic - every single school in the world: K-12, higher education, schools of fish- 

Al: Chuckles

Kieron: -need print management software.

Al: Still chuckling

Kieron: Not bad, huh?

Al: Tell me you’ve got that written down somewhere.

Kieron: Straight off the dome, my friend. And those dulcet tones (that rhyme, though) that you can hear across the table, over the fern (we literally have a fern) is one of the OGs, the original gigabytes of the Print Geeks - one of the original geeks, sorry - of the Print Geeks podcast. You might have forgotten him, but it is who we affectionately refer to as Poor Old Ali: POA - Print Geek On Arrival. Al is back on the show.

Al: Papercutter Al, present.

Kieron: PaperCutter Al. You will probably recognize Al’s voice and then imagine his face from our YouTube channel. He’s all over our YouTube channel. He’s famous Poor Old Ali. And he’s dropping by because he’s my boss. And if I don’t have him on the podcast every now and then, he might fire me. So I was like, “Hey, boss, come and join me for a chat.” (laughs)

Al: Makes little note in book…

Kieron: Now, Al. Poor Old Ali. Why are we talking about schools and why education institutions need print management software today? 

Al: You know, one of the coolest things that I’ve been associated with. And it was vicariously because I think you did most of the work. To be fair-

Kieron: Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me a new story.

Al: Makes another note in book.

Kieron: I’ve heard that one before.

Al: Was the work that you did on a book a couple of years ago, or a year ago? Printing in education?

Kieron: Oh, yes. We did an e-book all about printing in education.

Al: One of the titles, in Australia was, “Why 1 in 3 schools use PaperCut.” Now I find I find that- Sorry, I’m turning my head to a guest in the studio and then forgot that the microphone doesn’t follow me. That’s a profound number and it’s something that it’s easy to lose perspective when you’re within PaperCut walls. Because, you know, we think about all industries. We have a piece of software that fortunately can support any industry, any workplace in the world, and we’re really proud of that. 

But when I saw that title, it really brought home the importance of PaperCut in education. And now that I’ve got teenage daughters. It’s occurred to me that you’d be hard-pressed to find any person, in the world, here’s my challenge: any person in the world who does not know someone who knows PaperCut. Because my two girls have had PaperCut in their various schools for the last eight years/nine years.  And whenever we meet someone, the school children invariably, like, I’ll say to someone at a barbecue, “Oh, I work at PaperCut.” And they’ll be like, “You what?” And the kids will be like, “Oh, we use PaperCut. Mr. Nestor.”

Kieron: “Can you help us get some free credit on our printing?”

Al: They do ask me that and I let them down every single time. “No, I’m sorry. We can’t. I can’t.” And then they run away and… say things about me… 

Kieron: Well, that’s actually a story that many a person, when they first begin at PaperCut will tell. There is- we had a conversation recently with one of our new engineers. And he said a similar story to what Al just told us. Nobody knew what PaperCut was, but people who had used it at university or had used it in high school, they’re like, “Oh, I’ve heard of PaperCut. It’s like the apple of print management software." 

And the reason that we’re talking about PaperCut so much is we’re going to be talking about why schools need print management software. We will be plugging PaperCut because you know that’s where we are. But we’re just going to be talking about the importance of a solution to take back control of your printing. And the reason that schools are top of mind for us is that schools spend, I think it’s roughly, 10% of their annual budget on printing. And it can be anywhere between $3,000 to $4000 on paper, ink, and toner a week. 

And I know firsthand what it’s like to be in a school with no print management software. Because before I was a PaperCutter. I was a teacher. Well, somewhat of a teacher, like a backdoor teacher. I was an English and Writing and Debating academic coach at a tutoring college. But I was teaching in classrooms just after hours. From 5 to 8 and then on the weekends. And the amount of printing that we did… We printed off textbooks: custom folders for kids to put their assignments and worksheets in; envelopes to send things home; letterheads, notes to parents; reports; posters in the classroom; essays; worksheets; assignments; study guides; readings; photocopies of readings; tests. The amount of printing that happens in an educational institution in a school. And our tutoring college printed all of our own textbooks. I’ve told this story a few times on the podcast. We had nothing akin to print management software, that I’m aware of. And one day someone ran the numbers. And we, in one term, had an unaccounted-for… I think it was $5,000 worth of textbooks! Because you’d forget your textbook and then you’d go and grab a new one. And then there was the one less textbook. And then they had to print and literally manufacture a new one. And it cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

Al: Well, you’re almost printing money, isn’t it? When it’s not managed and there’s no rules around it. You can just go, “Left it at home.” And just run it off again.

Kieron: It’s the definition of what we target here at PaperCut, which is thoughtless printing. Taking it for granted. Speaking as someone who lost my textbook many times and went and grabbed a new one cheekily. But I didn’t really think it wasn’t front of mind. Just, how wasteful both on resources and on the environment that was.

Al: And you’re just talking about teachers, the faculty, printing. There is, of course, you’ve got to balance that. You can’t introduce something that inhibits them from their normal day-to-day job. You can’t slow down the printing. Like you wouldn’t want to make everyone funnel through a print room to get your print-outs. You still need that MFD, either in the building or a desktop printer, that you can access as a teacher. But you should get that low-hanging fruit, that opportunity to save money. And to also bring in security and safety. You’re probably thinking about print management from a cost point of view. I always think of it from a security and safety point of view. We’ll probably dive into that in a minute.

Kieron: Yeah, we will. But what was funny was, at that organization, the solution that they came up with, after that came to light, was quite archaic. The solution was: there was literally a sentry in the print room. There was one person there at all times.

Al: Stop it.

Kieron: I’m not telling a lie.

Al: That’s what their job was: “Stop it!”

Kieron: Yes, they were sitting there and you walked in and they’d be like, “Have you forgotten your textbook?” And you’d be like, “Yeah.” And they were like, “You’re going to have to borrow one of the kids’ textbooks." 

Al: Get out. So, they were essentially paying for a body to stand in the room to say, “No.”

Kieron: Yeah, well, so there was tutors, and just like one of the tutors and their job was mainly just like marking papers. They’d be doing so in the print room. If someone came in, they’d be like, “Hey. No, no. You can’t do that." 

Al: For those who can’t see the look on Kieron’s face, it was very stern and it was quite: “You are not printing that document.”

Kieron: No. And then if you wanted to print anything else like. So that was like this big MFD thing that was mainly if you just forgot a textbook. If you needed to print off anything else, you needed to email it to the secretary at the front desk and they needed to look at your document before you printed. So there was no cheeky like show ticket printing. It had to be work-related. Now that’s fair enough, but it also made you feel a little bit juvenile.

Al: And it’s a single point of failure, right?

Kieron: Yes, yes, it wasn’t efficient.

Al: And it added workload for that person. Which is just silly anyway.

Kieron: Yes, poor secretary.

Al: So, look there’s plenty of reasons for the importance of it. And it’s probably one of those parts of technology… I mean, let’s be honest: Printers aren’t universally loved. Printers aren’t your most favorite part of IT. So I’m sure there’s a lot of school IT teams who are like, “If I don’t have to think about a printer, I won’t.” And that’s the sad thing because there is software. And again, I’m not just pushing PaperCut, but the concept of print management is such a save, such a win, and such a simple win because the installation of it, if you’ve got good print management software, the installation should not be too burdensome. There can be catch-outs, depending on how things are set.

Kieron: Yeah, it’s technology. There are different operating systems. Our support team will tell you firsthand that there’s lots of weird and wonderful, and not-so-wonderful, little issues that pop up every now and then: “I tried to print from an iOS 13 from this web page, and it’s not working.” It’s like, “Yeah, there’s probably a good reason for that…”

Al: “It’s asking me for HTTPS, what’s that even all about!” But, you know, for the wins that you can get by installing this simple piece of software, it’s one area with education that I am quite comfortable pushing to people I know because it is such a good save. It’s such a cost saving, a security blanket and a peace of mind.

Kieron: Well, we’re going to jump in, one by one, into the top reasons why print management solutions are essential in education. And you can find a whole bunch of resources on our website and on our blog where we talk extensively about education. We’ll mention one more time there is a e-book available online that you can read and download, and we’ll plug that at the end and we’ll put it in the show notes. And a lot of this will be touched in there with greater detail. But let’s get into reason number one, why print management solutions are essential in education. And reason number one is…

Al:  Drrrr…

Kieron: BYOD printing also known as-

Al: That was the worst drumroll ever. 

Kieron: It kind of sounded like an upset tiger. 

Al: Yeah. Grrr.

Kieron: Grrrr. BYOD printing known as Bring Your Own Device printing

Al: And look, I don’t know much, but what I do know is-

Kieron: Well, because you interrupted my setup for you to say something back.

Al: What, with my drum roll?

Kieron: No, just now. The drum roll was fine. 

Al: Well, I want to jump in with something.

Kieron: I allowed for the drum roll

Al: Thank you. Well, you called it a tiger, but. 

Kieron: Tight like a tiger - grrr.

Al: BYOD printing. When I started here. Five years ago… Six years ago… Five years ago…

Kieron: Four! Seven!

Al: This is going well. Now, there’s a reason for me trying to work out the date. Again, it’s related to my daughters and when they were at high school, because they got their phones 2 or 3 years ago. And of course, we had to buy laptops for them for school. When I started here, before they’d gone to high school and I was looking at BYOD printing in schools, I thought, “Oh, you know, they’re in primary school. They don’t take their devices. I’m not sure that that’s really a thing.” It’s a thing.

Kieron: Oh, yeah, totally.

Al: It’s such a thing. The plethora of different devices that are popping up at school now, I know some are restricted to a certain 1 or 2 different laptops for example. But that’s not the case in every school that I’ve come across where you’ve got all sorts of devices. So yeah, you cannot, as a sysadmin, possibly get through every one of your 2500 students and set up printing on each device. It’s just not practical. You need to be able to make those devices come into campus or come into the school and be able to print natively - as in the software that you’re used to. So whether it’s Word or it’s Google Docs or whatever it is, you need to be able to go through the normal experience and go control P or command P or select print and for something to come out at the right printer. And print management software is, I think I’m going to be right, the only way you can ensure that all of those devices that children bring in to the classroom will print.

Kieron: Well, we’ve spoken about this on the podcast before when I was joined by PaperCut of Jason, who was involved in our features PaperCut Mobility Print and Print Deploy. And he talked about the difference between print management and print enablement. And when we’re talking about BYOD printing, we’re talking about print enablement, aka enabling the printing, connecting the client device, which is you name a brand or manufacturer with an operating system device to connect to the printer and to connect to the print queue. So when they press control P or squiggly line P, it works seamlessly because the user expectation of pressing print is the same as when they are using anything in the cloud, which is: I don’t even need to press save. It’s instantaneous. 

But when you are dealing with a printer, which is not information technology, it is industrial revolution technology. It’s got cogs and wheels and fibers and ribbons and it takes a little bit longer. It doesn’t have the same processing power or RAM as a computer, so it needs a little bit of help. And print management software should have functionality or features that enable the printing that automagically connects your drivers and your queues to your client devices. And we have within PaperCut or PaperCut MF, we have our features PaperCut Mobility Print, which is a PaperCut MF feature, but you can also use it standalone just for print enablement. And then as part of PaperCut MF you’ve got Print Deploy so that you can connect your drivers and deploy your printers and deploy your print queues from a centralized console. So that’s why it’s number one, because that’s like a pretty front-of-mind priority in terms of printing problems that a lot of system administrators and IT managers for schools need to solve.

Al: That’s true.

Kieron: Yeah, I’m not just a pretty face. 

Al: That was pretty thorough there.

Kieron: It’s as if I’m reading from a blog I’ve written before. Now, reason number two, which is- now a lot of these don’t just apply to education, they apply outside of education. But reason number two is, Mr. Tiger?

Al: Drrrrrr.

Kieron: Visibility. Now, PaperCutter Al, what do we mean at PaperCut when we say that print management software instantly provides you with visibility?

Al: In simple terms, PaperCut, or print management software, logs every print job. And when it’s logged the data that is taken from that logging can be interpreted and manipulated into different reports. But at its heart, you get visibility over what’s going on and you can get visibility to the nth degree. Like you can even keep a record of documents that are printed.

Kieron: Yeah, with print archiving, if you need to for security purposes, you can open up the PDF of that document and just double-check that it was all above board. And not show tickets.

Al: Do you know how that came about? At PaperCut. Has Chris ever told you that story? About how print archiving- A school came to him a long time ago.

Kieron: Chris being our co-founder and CEO. For our listeners and our guest in the room.

Al: I just call him Chris.

Kieron: Yeah, of course.

Al: Yeah, I mean, there’s just, Chris. There’s quite a few Chrises but- 

Kieron: Like Beyonce: Chris (Chris, Chris, Chris…) 

Al: He doesn’t have anyone do features for him.

Kieron: No… 

Al: So someone came to him and said, “Look, we’ve got this problem. There’s, there’s a student who’s printing out things and putting them up around the school and they were quite rude.”

Kieron: Oh.

Al: And from memory, Chris and the team developed archiving, which enabled them to take, let’s call it, a snapshot of what was being printed, identify who it was, and they managed to NAB the culprit. Based on this, this feature. Which I think was the first time it was incorporated in print management around the world.

Kieron: So we continue to be trailblazers in the print management industry. 

Al: Trailblazing. So yeah, visibility, especially for schools where they’ve got their board that they need to report to from a financial point of view and also from an identifying, you know, where’s the hardware being used a lot. Where could they remove hot spots? So if you’ve got ten MFDs and two of them are doing all the work and eight of them are barely chugging along, you can rationalize what you’ve got. You can move more into the same section, but you haven’t got that visibility when you don’t have the visibility.

Kieron: So print management software provides you with the data for you to identify, measure, and monitor printing behaviors, printing decisions, processes and make decisions like, “Oh, in our fleet. We have this one room that no one really ever prints to.” Things like that. So visibility is… 

Al: a big one.

Kieron: Raisin number two. Um, number three or tres, to speak the Spanish.

Al: One moment. Do you want to try a drum roll? No. We’ve got Marcus in the room today. It’s Marcus’s first day, so he’s asked for his microphone to be off. But I thought maybe he could do a drum roll. But anyway, here we go. Trrrrrrr…

Kieron: Thank you, Mr. Tiger. Number three. And this is sort of related to print enablement, and that is Ease of use. Printing should be easy. As we touched on before, printing should be simple because the user expectation is based on all of the other technologies and devices that they use. And so all of a sudden, why is this thing more difficult? And as we talked about, because there’s a bit more going on with the printer, but print management software can provide you with different features that deliver a seamless printing experience. And one of the most popular features that we have, and to quote Poor old Ali, it’s essentially magic. And that is find me printing. Tell us about Find me printing.

Al: You know, I think practically speaking, it’s the greatest- If you had print management for no other reason, you’d get it for Find-me printing.

Kieron: Find-me printing is the rock star of print management software functionality. 

Al: If you’ve got more than one printer, and I dare say most schools or workplaces do, Find me printing, just to keep it simple, you can identify yourself at any printer on the network, and your documents will print out. You’re not printing to a specific printer. You’re printing to a single queue and then releasing them by identifying yourself at your favoured printer. Now, the gold in this for education, of course, is that you can have a group of classrooms, a couple of printers. Doesn’t matter where the teacher is taking class because they could be in their room, they could be taking it outside. They could be in the library. It doesn’t matter where you are, wherever the closest printer is, they can release. Which is  profoundly time-saving.

Kieron: It’s another feature that when I first started at PaperCut, I wish I had. Now, funnily enough, even though I was a ’teacher’ in inverted commas - ’teacher’ and I was at schools and tutoring colleges and libraries and youth work centres, I had never actually heard of PaperCut, but when I heard of Find-me printing the situations that popped into my head! 

So for example, there was one school that I went to and there was the staff room, massive staff room. There was like two MFDs there. And sometimes if I wanted to print out like a lesson plan, I’d have to remember to do so when I am in the staff room. But guess what? What am I doing when I’m in the staff room? I’m eating lunch. I’m not thinking about my next class. I’m enjoying the only 45 minutes that I have to myself and I would often forget to print something. 

So then I would go to one of, we had like a row of like, you know, those those sort of buildings that are like not attached to anything in schools that you find. We had like three of those. So each single one was its own one and each one had its own printer. And then there was like a big hallway, you know, all these different classrooms. And every other one had a printer. So then I would race from the staff room to one of the classrooms I was printing in, or teaching in rather. And then I was like, “Oh, I need a print.” And then I would have to like go to one of the other printers that had already been set up on possibly, pray that one of the teachers was there to let me in or explain to the students, “Oh, I’m not with you today.”

Al: You’re chained to one printer, right? 

Kieron: Oh, it was the worst! And like it’s inefficient. It creates a problem in the workflow. It adds stress to your poor staff and it makes them not want to do their job. It creates lots of other problems. So Find-me printing is “Hey presto, printing magic.”

Al: And this is - we’re up to number three. But this already justifies the purpose of putting that layer of software to bring your print fleet under control. Printers are awesome. They really are kind of cool. Fundamentally, they’re cool. Print management software makes them super cool. It actually makes them work the way they should work. With apologies to all the OEMs who we love, but it makes them come under a hive mind control machine and become eminently more usable.

Kieron: They are the Chat GPT to printing, they bionically power all of your printing.

Al: You know, you reminded me when you were talking about Find-me printing. The glorious thing about it now is that with so much hybrid teaching going on, there’s the opportunity now for people to press print at home. The night before whenever they feel like it and then release the documents the next day. Now that is golden when it comes to planning. So many opportunities.

Kieron: But what you also need, is you need a software that’s going to like prompt you or have a pop-up so that when you are on campus you don’t forget.

Al: Ahh, that would be handy!

Kieron: You don’t have to manually add a step in the process. Now, Mia culpa, when we say find me printing, we’re specifically referring to a PaperCut feature, but there’s other names for it. It’s also known as pull printing, push printing.

Al: The one that we’re not allowed to say. 

Kieron: The one that we’re not allowed to say - printing. So lots of different names for this solution, but essentially means that you print to a centralized queue and then through authorization, you are able to release it via a pin code or a swipe badge at any printer that you are set up on as a user.

Al: I’ve seen some great hacks actually on YouTube of of not just pin and and swipe card, but also facial recognition. I don’t think that’ll be far off.

Kieron: That’s like the movie I watched the other day Red Notice on Netflix. You’re welcome, Netflix, and Ryan Reynolds, and The Rock, and Gal Gadot for the free plug. But there was a bit where they were using Deepfake technology to facial scan into a safe.

Al: I do that all the time. Yeah.

Kieron: And I was just thinking - it just made me think of printing and two-factor authorization and multi-factor authorization. Right? How pathetic is that? Thinking about printing on my weekend? Um, not pathetic. We love printing. 

Uh, now let’s move on past Find-me printing to number four. Which is a great benefit that print management software delivers. It saves you money, it saves you cashola. Because it means that you can get on top of your printing. You’re not spending endless amounts on paper and ink and toner with simple things like enforcing print policies so that duplex printing, aka double-sided printing and grayscale printing, aka black and white printing, is instant. And duplex printing instantly cuts your paper usage - PaperCut - in half.

Al: Very good. I like to bundle this one with the other side to it specifically for education. And that’s recovering costs. Right?

Kieron: That’s reason number five, you’re getting ahead of yourself.

Al: Yeah, but you didn’t let me do the drum roll so I don’t care anymore.

Kieron: Well, that’s fine. We can talk about four and five simultaneously, saving money and recovering costs.

Al: And recovering costs. So, you know, saving money, you’re spot on. I mean, it’s the easiest thing. And I would go out on a limb and say that every customer that I’ve spoken to, every PaperCut user, has said they’ve started seeing savings straight away. Because you do. Yeah, there is-. 

Kieron: Thousands, thousands of dollars of savings.

Al: Oh, yeah. In a year easy. And there are there’s just such a ridiculous percentage of documents and I’m probably going to get it off wrong. Off the top of my head. Is it 20% of documents that are printed that are never picked up? I saw a number the other day.

Kieron: I feel like that’s low. I feel like it’s higher than that.

Al: Oh, let’s make it higher then-. 

Kieron: 50%! 

Al: 55% of documents that are printed out are not picked up. So things like, you know, what software like PaperCut will do is it will make you identify yourself at the printer before something comes out. Which is great for safety because there’s no loose bits of paper hanging around, but more so for, also for sustainability.

Kieron: You’re messing up the order of my list!

Al: Yeah, I know, I know! But it all plays together and-. 

Kieron: There is a lot of overlap with everything that we’re talking about.

Al: There’s a lot of overlap. So saving money, easy enough to do. You start doing it from day one. You absolutely, categorically start saving money from day one. 

Kieron: And then recovering costs is talking more about not so much saving money, but it’s that all of your printing is paid for before or as it happens with things like print charging and cost allocation. And we’ll have kiosks. And that story that we told at the beginning of the episode where some students will ask, Oh, can you help me with my print credit? Because students will be allocated a certain amount of credit and they can literally pay for more printing. So that means that all of your printing, say, for students, is recovered immediately because they’re covering the costs, you’re not covering that cost. And then you can, on top of that, save money by not printing as much and making sure that everything that is printed up is collected and not duplicated and whatnot.

Al: Well, this makes sense, right? And this is where higher education, it’s mainly happening, right? Because students are actually printing out their theses and their lecture notes. 

Kieron: And they have an income to support paying for printing.

Al: And the school, the education facility, the university or whatever it is, has got 10 or 20,000 students. They’re they’re not going to pay for all of that work. So yeah, they have to have to recover the costs. So not so much for K-12, but certainly for higher education. Cost recovery is huge and making it seamless with, you know, technology that people understand - a swipe card, PayPal, all of it is just exactly how you do deal with your day-to-day. So it’s not like it’s a complicated experience. It’s just like, oh yeah, better top up, buy top-up cards. There’s so many different ways to deal with it. Makes it nice and easy.

Kieron: Now, Poor Old Ali just touched on this next point. Did you want to bring back the drum roll?

Al: No! No! You’re not getting another drum roll!

Kieron: Aw, sorry. The next one is data and document security.

Al: I’ll do them later.

Kieron: Right, now, we talk about security a lot here at PaperCut. And one of our catchphrases is that print security is an overlooked realm in the larger world of information technology security. And Find-me printing, which we were talking about before, isn’t just an ease-of-use solution. It’s actually an overlay on top of another feature known as Secure Print Release. Poor old Ali-. 

Al: I was going to give you a drum roll for Secure Print Release, just to build you up there.

Kieron: Tell me all about Secure Print Release.

Al: Which yes, I did touch on it before, but it is intricately, intimately, intricately intricate with it. 

Kieron: Ingeniously.

Al: Indoubtably.

Kieron: Imminently.

Al: Incontrovertibly… I’m out. So Secure Print Release. Very much, certainly the number one security feature. That you can get that is not available with just a printer, generally speaking. This is where print management also shines and that is the ability to hold prints until you identify. Either by pin or by swipe card. Or by facial technology if I get my way. Qr code. Not only does it stop rampant printing and then those print jobs not being picked up, but it also stops people seeing stuff. And this is probably where I’m going to morph into student safety as well, but-

Kieron: That’s okay.

Al: There’s so much critical information and personal information that is printed out and not necessarily just in the administration space. I mean, there’s report cards. Well, they’re not cards now, are they? They are letter-sized or A4 sheets of paper.

Kieron: Ours were paper.

Al: Yeah. But you’re old- 

Kieron: School…

Al: Oh, hang on. Yours were paper. See mine were cards. Oh, that’s why it was called a report card!

Kieron: I’ve had both. I’ve had cards. Literally like A5 sized card.

Al: Well, they’re all PDF now, so you print that out onto an A4 slash letter. Now, all that critically important and sensitive, potentially sensitive information needs to be protected and Secure Print Release is the way to do it. You can’t do it any other way, honestly, unless you don’t print. So, very critical to schools. In fact, it’s that topic that really, you know - serious - makes me wonder why not every school has print management software.

Kieron: And again, using my old tutoring college as an example there are lots of different features and functionality that could have helped there. Secure Print Release being one of them. Auditing being one of them. Archiving being one of them. 

But to stay on data and document security, the reason that I’ve broken it down is data and document security - there’s a philosophy at PaperCut, which is that we protect the document across all three stages of its life cycle: before you press print; while you’re pressing print; and after you’ve pressed print. And so you want to protect that data. And we do things like encryption, and most technologies will have a level of encryption and they protect the data when it’s in transit and when it’s at rest. And then you’ve got things like System Access Control, which is related to Secure Print Release. Making sure that you have control over who has authorization and access to do the printing. And we’ve touched on it a few times, but something that can make something like Secure Print release even more secure is two-factor authorization or multi-factor authorization, which is the bread and butter of a lot of modern technology… 

Got lots of notifications going off. Don’t worry about it too much. I don’t think the listeners can hear that. Poor Old Ali was just, his eyes were widening as we got a lot of pings. But back to two-factor or multifactor authorization, if you’ve used any sort of product. Say, I’ve got an Android and I’ve got Google. And so anytime I log into a Google software on a different computer, it goes, “Yep, we’ve just pinged your phone.” And then on my phone, I have to go, “Yep, it’s me.” Check the IP address. And so you can have two-factor or multi-factor authorization with your secure print release so that as well as your swipe badge, maybe you need a facial scan or maybe you need to put in a pin code or maybe you need to enter in your email address or your faculty or your department in a school.

Al: Well, it’s options, isn’t it, Kieron? I mean, you wouldn’t, that’s not forced upon the system administrator.

Kieron: No, that’s if you want to extra bolster security.

Al: Yeah, exactly. And I think this is the key piece is that all of these things are, they’re not- you don’t have to have everything working.

Kieron: No, there’s no one size fits all solution. And we say that a lot at PaperCut. And you can actually listen to our most recent episode where I talk to our security lead and IT lead PaperCutter Stan. And he talked about how there’s a sweet spot between sovereignty/security and productivity. And there’s sometimes there’s some trade offs. Like, he goes, “I can make everything four factor authorization and make every task you do exceptionally onerous.

Al: But then nothing will get done.

Kieron: But then nothing will get done! So it’s about navigating where you need things secure and where you need things to be a little bit nimble. 

Al: Where you were going there, really, really awesome for where it’s needed. And maybe it’s only parts of a of an education facility requires that depth. It’s great to have it, but it’s of course- not that it’s going to be thrown up every time if that’s not what’s required.

Kieron: And then another thing that I think we’ve touched on a few times in this episode is watermarking and digital signatures, which is that you can trace back the source or the owner of a document if it goes missing. Or it’s a little bit of an incentive for them to, “I better not lose this because my name is on it and my feet will be put to the flame if I do lose it.” Now, we’ve talked about student and school safety as well. Ali’s run rampant with my list.

Al: I’m just, I’m just everywhere.

Kieron: Yeah, this is why you haven’t been on the podcast for a year.

Al: There is one piece that I didn’t stuff up and that is talking about. Again, you know, we’re fingers crossed we’re post-pandemic. Or at least we’re not deep in pandemic. But there is still now, what can I call it, a hygiene - a  printing hygiene - that’s important.

Kieron: If I may dive into my old teaching days, I would say in the narrative structure: beginning, middle, end. We are in the third act. We are in the “falling action” of the pandemic.

Al: We are in the falling action.

Kieron: I’d say we’re in the falling action.

Al: Actually, that should be how it’s described.

Kieron: We’re in the last 15 minutes of Lord of the Rings, which feels like 4.5 hours. Where there’s 18 different endings. 

Al: There’s a lot of good byes, isn’t there?

Kieron: So many goodbyes and hugs. It’s like, just show us the shire is okay.

Al: Yeah, there were a lot of goodbyes.

Kieron: Where’s Tom Bombadil? Reason number eight, we’re towards the last one. I don’t know if at the beginning of this I said there was nine reasons, but that’s what we’re doing. We’ve touched on this a few times. I feel like I’ve touched on the phrase “Touched on this a few times” a few times in this episode as well.

Al: You’ve touched on it.

Kieron: I’ve touched on it. I have, yes. Reducing waste and reducing your carbon footprint. Now, this crosses over to saving money in that by using things like automatically enforce duplex printing, you are cutting your paper use in half, but that also reduces your carbon footprint on this lovely planet of ours. And that is literally how PaperCut was founded. Papercut was founded by our CEO and co-founder Chris Dance. He was a system administrator in a high school and the one user problem he could not solve was this massive stack of uncollected print jobs next to the printer. And so he got to coding with his good friend and co-founder Matt Doran, and they came up with PaperCut Software. So PaperCut got its start in schools and we are driven by the sustainability mission in reducing carbon footprint. One extra way that you can do that is becoming Forest Positive with your printing. 

Now, Forest Positive is something that we’re passionate about here at PaperCut. Forest Positive Printing is this idea that it’s beyond being carbon neutral, it’s beyond even being carbon positive in a way that is making sure that we give back to the forests of the world by doing two things in the Forest Positive printing equation, we reduce waste and then we give back to the forests. And you can do that with things like tree planting. You can sign up for tree planting programs. Your school can plant trees in your own school if you like. We have a program at PaperCut called PaperCut Grows, which means that you can sign up to do some tree planting on top of saving the amount of paper that you use for printing. So that’s another great way that print management software can benefit not just your school but the broader community and the planet as well.

Al: It’s kind of nice that concept is closing the loop, right? It’s the software does one part of it, and then we’re actually practically going out and planting trees. One thing that always impressed me about the head honchos at PaperCut is their belief that if we do our job right, we make our company redundant.

Kieron: Obsolete?

Al: Obsolete, yeah. Which is actually part of the company’s strategy, which I find quite profound. But if we do it right, then, well, you know, we promote thoughtful printing. There’s still printing. We’re not going to have a paperless society in a hurry. We’re trying to make it a thoughtful printing workplace, not rampant. But I do love Chris’s thought that if we do our job extremely well, there won’t be a job. For much longer. So, yeah, I kind of dig that.

Kieron: Well, speaking of freeing up time. 

Al: Ah, yeah, I’ll give you that one. I’ll even give you a… Brrrrrrr. 

Kieron: Yeah. Thank you. 

Al: For that Segway.

Kieron: Is it cold in here?

Al: That was a drum roll.

Kieron: I thought that was your teeth chattering.

Al: Oh, well, at least it’s better than my tiger. What was it, a tired tiger or something? Brrrrr.

Kieron: The poor old tiger. Now, that’s definitely- Now, you sound like a telephone.

Al: Oh.

Kieron: Yeah, it sounds like I’m watching Get Smart and the shoe phone.

Al: Prrr.

Kieron: Yeah, well, now that sounds like a parrot.

Al: Will you stop freestyling on my drum roll!

Kieron: Now, the last reason we have here that print management solutions are essential in education is freeing up time for your IT teams. System Administrators and IT workers in schools have a lot on their plate. Printing is just one slice of that pie.

Al: I thought you were going to say have a lot of time. I was going to say, hang on.

Kieron: No, they’ve got quite the opposite. In fact, a lot of IT workers are split. Their roles are not single. They’ll be a teacher and then they’ve got to take care of the it. And so-. 

Al: You actually interviewed someone you had a chat with someone not long ago.

Kieron: I did. 

Al: Have I got that right?

Kieron: Yes.

Al: That was, um-

Kieron: DNEAT

Al: DNEAT in the UK.

Kieron: DNEAT in the UK!

Al: That was profound. A massive school district, for want of a better term. And your man was-. 

Kieron: Saul Garthwaite.

Al: Saul was- had his own teaching tasks and he was the IT conduit.

Kieron: Grade three teacher and the IT lead for his primary school found. And so he was talking about how our cloud-based print management solution PaperCut Hive, reduced the amount that they spend on printing because too much money spent on printing were resources that could have gone to the children and could have made their experience at school a bit better. And he said that other than staffing, printing was one of their biggest costs, which is quite mind-blowing. It’s up there with staffing wages. 

As you were saying before, with hybrid working, not only did PaperCut Hive reduce the amount of waste and the amount that they were spending, it also helped them in the world of hybrid working and hybrid teaching, also known as blended learning in some circles. Where they were able to press print from home and then pick it up the next day. And it just added a little bit of flexibility that otherwise they wouldn’t have had so that they could be agile. And then, yeah, the IT team were unburdened because with PaperCut Hive, no specialized onsite infrastructure was required like a print server. So it ticked a lot of boxes for them.

Al: And we touched earlier about, you know, not being able to- a system administrator wouldn’t be able to talk to every student and set up every device. 

Kieron: Nor can they talk to every single printer. If you had to like manually log into every printer would take a very long time. You need a centralized console so that you can do that.

Al: Yeah, so that print enablement, you talked about enablement before, that ability to be able to deploy print queues and set up desktops, you know, printers, and that, automatically, is critical. And you know, again, this is where you get print management or print enablement software coming and making life a little bit easier. Just that. Just a touch of time saved. That’s actually quite a lot of time. But, you know, we don’t want to pat ourselves on the back.

Kieron: But you can use print management software to literally quantify how much time that you save bringing it home. Speaking of bringing it home, you should bring home our book ‘Why Schools Manage their Printing with PaperCut’. Just head to and you will find that book there. 

And the reason that I’m saying that is because we have reached the end of today’s episode. Thank you. Poor Old Ali for joining me in the studio. Thank you, Poor PaperCut Marcus, for joining us on your first day. Sorry for putting you sort of on the spot there, but thank you for joining us all the same. Thank you to all of our listeners for listening today. Make sure, if you haven’t already, to subscribe to Print Geeks on your favorite streaming platform and to ring the bell so that you get notified of all episodes as they release. When do they release? I heard you say, PaperCut Al.

Al: I hope it’s fortnightly.

Kieron: It is fortnightly. It’s every Wednesday here in AEST time, which would be Tuesday if you are in the North America area and it’s, kind of, in between if you’re in the EMEA region.

Al: Yeah, kinda weird time. 

Kieron: I don’t really know.

Al: You know, you just stay up until 1 a.m.

Kieron: Yeah, exactly.

Al: It’s worth it.

Kieron: So, thank you once again for joining us here on Print Geeks, your one-stop podcast for all things geeky about print and tech. Until next time, keep printing thoughtfully.


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