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How to optimize your print infrastructure with Cloud Performance Monitoring

 IT leaders have been pushing digital transformation for a long time, and it seems like the world is finally ready. According to Foundry’s Digital Business Research study in 2023, over 93% of IT leaders have started to adopt a digital-first approach. And in a post-COVID world, where remote work, BYOD collaboration and flexibility are the name of the game, this makes a lot of sense.

We can see the same trends in print management. 31% of respondents in last year’s Quocirca’s Cloud Print Services study now run their printing through the cloud, with another 55% planning to do so by 2025. If you’ve already migrated a lot of business infrastructure online, it only makes sense for printing to join the party. Especially when you consider the security and efficiency benefits that cloud printing provides.

So, let’s look at some of those benefits, and explain how to optimize your printer environment with cloud data analytics.

Benefits of cloud performance monitoring  

Without performance monitoring, it’s essentially impossible to know what value you’re extracting from the cloud. You may as well be throwing your money up into the sky. But, like anything, with the right analytics and listening tools, you can configure your cloud-based print management software to maximize output and minimize costs.

We’ve covered the key cloud-based performance metrics before, but here are just a few reasons to jump on the cloud analytics bandwagon.

Optimize performance. By performance, we mean seeing how your cloud print network is doing in real-time. With the right analytics, you can quickly spot bottlenecks, latency issues, and get a feel for overall network performance. This is especially important for print management, where you need to juggle print queues, machine errors and job delays.

Cost efficiency. By fixing performance bottlenecks, you can quickly make informed decisions about scaling your cloud infrastructure. Either up or down. This ensures your resources are allocated where they’re needed most. It’s all about stretching your cloud budget as far as it will go.

Capacity planning. Commercial printing tends to run in patterns – office hours, certain days of the week – and with good cloud analytics, you can basically predict when the servers will be under the greatest stress (if you’re a university, that’s usually right before exam time…) With capacity planning, you can easily scale your infrastructure to meet growing demand.

Proactive measuring. Like any part of a digital business, the trick with cloud printing is spotting issues not necessarily before they arise, but before they impact day-to-day operations. We call this proactive measuring, and it’s one of the big benefits of cloud analytics platforms. These programs help you spot problems quickly and minimize system downtime.

Security and compliance. Most performance monitoring tools include security-related metrics. These are great for business, obviously, but for some sectors they’re more than that. Service Level Agreement (SLA) Compliance is no joke, especially if you’re printing sensitive information over a public cloud. Cloud data analytics can let you know whether your provider is meeting their agreed-upon performance standards, not to mention monitoring for security threats in real time.

Integrating your cloud analytics 

Cloud analytics platforms bring your cloud operations into one single platform for maximum visibility and control. That’s the real value-add. You should be able to log into your dashboard and, at a glance, monitor your printing, scanning and user behavior, regardless of location or device. Most IT managers are already doing this for their IT infrastructure, but don’t neglect your print environment. It’s a common area where organizations fall down.

The good news is, most cloud monitoring tools will work with the PaperCut Print System Health Interface, whether you’re running PaperCut NG, PaperCut MF, PaperCut Pocket or PaperCut Hive. Our products also support third party SQL monitoring .

Integration is important. If your print management software doesn’t talk to your cloud analytics platforms, you’re never going to get the full picture. And that can lead to inefficiencies, cost redundancies, backlogs, and vulnerabilities.

Predictive maintenance for print infrastructure

Predictive maintenance is exactly what it sounds like: fixing things before they become a massive pain. This is particularly important for printer management, since we’re dealing with the intersection of cloud-based tech, print drivers, and some pretty expensive hardware. With cloud analytics and a fully integrated print management solution, you can:

Monitor printer health. Cloud performance tools can monitor the health of individual printers in real time. You can quickly collect data on job volumes, printer usage, error rates and print queues.

Data collection. Gather historical print data to identify user patterns and better scale your cloud infrastructure. Analyzing printer data is also a great way to spot any anomalies that may indicate performance issues.

Predictive analytics. Some modern cloud analytics platforms use predictive algorithms to forecast future events. It’s like being able to peer around corners. This tech uses statistical modeling, combined with machine learning algorithms, to predict print usage and spot errors before they occur.

Lifecycle alerts. Want to know when printer parts will be reaching the end of their lifecycle? With cloud analytics platforms, you’ll be able to track individual printer usage, and even customize alerts and notifications. In other words, you’ll never miss another service.

How to optimize your printer fleet performance

So, you’ve decided that cloud printing and performance management is the way to go. Nice work! Here’s how you turn that plan into reality:

1. Choose your cloud print management solution. Pick a robust cloud print management solution that comes with analytics and monitoring capabilities. PaperCut Hive is a good option here (if you need more help picking a product, just give our friendly team a call ).

2. Integrate your printers. Connect your printers to the network and get them synched with your cloud-based print management system. This integration obviously allows your listening tools to collect data from individual printers, including job numbers, consumable levels, and error rates.

3. Collect and analyze data. Use your cloud analytics platforms to aggregate and analyze print data in real time. And we mean real time. You should be monitoring your system health and performance constantly, with custom alerts set up for maintenance issues or printer failures.

4. Identify patterns and trends. This is the real secret sauce of any data-driven enterprise, and cloud analytics is no exception. Data by itself doesn’t tell you much. It’s when you put that data in context and use it to tell a story – that’s when the real value gets unlocked.

Modern cloud-print analytics, like you’ll find in PaperCut Hive, are pretty good at doing this stuff for you, but data is like anything else: you get out what you put in. Hiring in-house data analysts will usually net you deeper, more valuable insights.

Case studies 

PaperCut has been helping organizations manage their cloud printing for years, and trust us, we’ve seen it all before. Here are just a couple of case studies to illustrate the benefits of a fully integrated approach to printing in the cloud. 

Ensuring data security

Cloud analytics platforms are a crucial cog in your overall cyber defense strategy, especially if you’re running the business over a public cloud. For more information about how cloud-based print security works, check out our security considerations in the PaperCut Hive product manual (it’s not boring, promise)..

Think about it like this: your print management software is your moat: it keeps intruders out of the system, usually via end-to-end WebRTC encryption, user authentication protocols, secure print release, or a combination of all three. Cloud analytics platforms are your lookouts: they’ll help you spot unauthorized access attempts and data breaches, while helping you stick to any relevant regulatory requirements.

And that’s cloud analytics! For more information about setting up cloud performance monitoring, just get in touch with our friendly PaperCut team. We’ll be happy to help.

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