Multifunction device deployment checklist for administrators
Over the last *checks watch* 20+ years, we here at PaperCut Software have seen it all when it comes to printing! Over this time we have found lots of “gotchas”, large and small, that can make life difficult when installing Multifunction Devices (MFDs or MFPs) and implementing a print management solution.
This article contains important tips and checks for administrators for rolling out new MFDs to their environment. It even covers all the little things you don’t want to run into on the day of installation that can cause a headache if forgotten or missed.
So, whether you are replacing your existing fleet of devices or are purchasing MFDs for the first time for your organization, have a read, and hopefully, we mention something you might have otherwise missed!
ロ Agree on the initial number of MFDs, printers, and model of devices that are required.
ロ Confirm what finishing options are required for what MFDs.
ロ Warn staff of the disruption date due to the installation.
ロ Offer staff-specific training session times for the new MFDs.
ロ Create a consistent, understandable, and scaleable printer naming convention.
ロ Clear office space for the new MFDs.
ロ Confirm the space meets the requirements for each MFD (some are quite large!).
ロ Confirm there’s a free network point available at each space.
ロ Confirm there’s a power supply available within range of each device.
ロ Check the network point is on the correct VLAN for the printers.
ロ Prepare/reserve IPs for all the new MFDs.
ロ Prepare and change the admin password for accessing the device settings.
ロ (optional) Test and obtain card readers that support the current ID infrastructure.
ロ Remove all print queues for previous devices for all users.
ロ Create new queues with the best possible manufacturer driver (v3 recommended).
ロ Prepare a deployment plan for the new queues.
ロ Export any information from previous MFDs, such as address book and SMTP settings.
ロ Organise proper disposal of previous MFDs, in particular HDD destruction.
ロ Test each new MFD and all its functionality.
ロ Confirm each device is on the expected IP, has correct DNS/Gateway settings etc.
ロ Confirm all users have access to all required printers, including scan destinations.
This might seem obvious, but wherever you are purchasing your MFDs from, they will have a wealth of knowledge that you should use as much as possible!
One of the most important questions is: “What MFDs do we even need, and how many?”. Not an easy question to answer, but your supplier can absolutely help you in this.
The answer depends on a huge number of variables, the primary ones being locations, volume, and needs (A3/stapling/color etc.). For example, you might have a logistics department doing 70% of the entire printing for your organization, so they will need a larger, faster MFD than another department.
If you are replacing your MFD fleet with a new one, you might find you are able to lower the amount of MFDs required. Hopefully, PaperCut has helped reduce unnecessary printing, or will do in the future!
OK, you have your MFDs selected, and coming soon - awesome! Now let’s think of some preparation you can do to make the change/transition as easy as possible.
- Communicate with staff about what is happening. It is important that everyone is on the same page, as disruption caused on install day can be significant. Staff need to know when they can and cannot print, what is changing, and how. This exponentially increases if you are also installing a print management solution at the same time! We suggest multiple communications with staff. Consider an initial warning well in advance (a month before), then a more detailed communication closer to the deployment. This serves as a reminder, as well as giving staff time to choose a training session (see below). A final communication the day before or day of the deployment, will hopefully result in no staff being surprised when they can’t print or scan for a few hours!
- Along the same vein, staff training! Using an MFD for the first time can be a pretty complicated affair. If you are changing the manufacturer of your MFDs, then the user interface will be completely different to what your staff are used to. In general, people do not take kindly to change! Try and get some basic guides created and place them behind the MFDs. Your supplier might be able to help with this. Organize groups of staff to partake in short training sessions for the new MFDs, with the emphasis on short!
- Naming convention. This sounds like a tiny thing but can lead to a lot of headaches down the road. Are you going to name the printers based on location, make, model etc? If you use location based naming, think about the repercussions if a printer is moved. However, if the naming convention is too vague, will users know which printer is which? This article on Spiceworks might give you some good ideas - https://www.spiceworks.com/it-articles/printer-naming-conventions/
- Location location location. Where are the MFDs going to be located? Is there enough room for all the sides to open to clear a jam? Who is going to look after changing the toner and filling up the tray? Is there a wall socket for power, or a network access point for the network cable? Believe us, you do not want to be scrambling to find a network powerline adapter on the day of installation.
Now we have some of the obvious “gotchas” covered, let’s consider some technical issues that can arise if not planned for. Make sure your IT Administrator gets their eyes on these points!
- IP addresses - What IP addresses are the new MFDs going to use? Are you going to use the same IP addresses as the old printers? If yes, then you might want to get the MAC addresses of the new MFDs to update reservations in advance. Are you going to use DHCP, or manually update static IP addresses on the devices?
- IP filtering - Most printer’s these days come with IP filtering. This is where the printer will only accept print data from a predetermined IP address. Therefore, if your printing is routing through a shared queue from a server, you might want to set up the printer to only accept printing from this server. This can prevent rogue users from printing directly.
- Passwords - Come up with a secure password for the device’s admin login. Never ever use the default credentials that come with the device, as these are well known to anybody and everybody with access to the internet, and it’s an easy vector for attack.
- Card readers - If you are going to be using card readers for authentication, either with the device’s own authentication or with a print management solution in the future, then you will want to make sure the reader is compatible with the cards you already use.
- Do you have cards/key fobs for door access for example? Some card readers will support these already. This will help keep costs down as you’ll not be required to issue new cards.
- Do you have multiple locations? Do the multiple locations use different types of cards and fobs, therefore possibly requiring different card readers depending on location?
- Print queues - The bane of every IT Administrator’s existence. We could sit here and recommend how almost every single PaperCut product can help with this issue, but that would be too easy! So let’s cover some basics:
- Old queues. Leaving old queues on devices can lead to many headaches down the road. Especially true if you are using the same IP addresses between old and new MFDs. Old queues with drivers for a different OEM are going to cause all kinds of printing problems, and tracking down the faulty queues can be a nightmare!
- Don’t update old queues with new drivers/names etc. Best practice is to create a NEW queue for the new MFD, and publish this via your chosen method. Include your chosen naming convention in the print queue name. This will make tracking down old, faulty queues a lot easier. It will remove any ambiguity with updated queues, and will make life a lot easier!
- Exporting relevant data from old MFDs - A lot of really important information can be gathered from the old MFDs, to be used in the new ones, so make sure you get everything out of the old ones before they are taken away, never to be seen again:
- Scanning information. Grab as much of the SMTP information out of the previous device if you used scan to email. It will save some of the guesswork when it comes to setting up the new MFDs! You might need to find the password for the Authentication details, but now you know what you need in advance!
- If you are replacing devices with the same Manufacturer, you may be able to export a lot of the settings from the old devices, and import them into the new MFDs. This can save a lot of time, especially if you have a lot of scan destinations programmed.
- Disposal - Make sure that the old device is being disposed of properly, and not just from an environmental aspect. MFDs are extremely high-tech these days and have significantly sized hard drives that need to be wiped and destroyed properly to maintain security.
- Have the devices picked up reserved IP addresses correctly?
- Has DHCP picked up the correct DNS and Gateway, or do they need to be set manually?
- Test. Test. Test. If something has gone wrong, better to catch it the day of, rather than a week down the line, requiring more disruption.
- Are the finishing options working?
- Is scan to email working?
- Does everyone who needs access to a printer have it? Sounds silly, but it happens all the time - for example, one department might need access to another department’s printer (redundancy?), so has the printer been deployed to this group as well?
- Sip coffee and celebrate.
- Prepare to implement a print management solution. Have you heard of PaperCut? 😉