Touch-Free Secure Print Release
Help! I need to configure PaperCut NG/MF to provide my users with the ability to release their held print jobs without the need to touch shared surfaces
In the current global climate we’re very conscious that our customers, and their users alike, will be very keen to minimise their exposure to surfaces that may have recently been in contact with another person.
In this article we will discuss the features that are built-in to PaperCut NG/MF which allow you to achieve a variety of touch-free printing configurations in a Find-Me printing environment.
Before we start, it’s also worth highlighting the point that tasks such as photocopying, scanning and other uses of your MultiFunctional Devices are not discussed in this article - as they are not currently viable candidates for a touch-free experience, due to the limitations of the machines themselves. You will find a section at the end of this article that provides the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions for their devices, to help you mitigate any risks when touching the MultiFunctional Device is necessary.
Right, so here we go! Here are the options that are available to you, and these are discussed in greater detail as we go through the article:
- Swipe-card with automatically release jobs upon login - PaperCut MF only
- Fast Release Terminals
- Mobile Print Release (with QR Codes)
- User web interface print release
- Delegated Print Release
- Release Stations
- Admin web interface - Release Station
- Remove Find-Me printing
- MFD Cleaning routines - advertised by OEMs
If you have a card reader either built-into, or externally attached to your printer, these can be used to facilitate user authentication on the device.
Perhaps you are already using a card reader to authenticate with PaperCut, using swipe-cards (or fobs) that are already issued to your users for door access, or for other purposes? If so, it’s a simple process to enable a touch-free solution for your Find-Me print users - however If you don’t currently make use of swipe-cards and card readers in your PaperCut environment, we recommend that PaperCut MF customers reach-out to their PaperCut Reseller or Authorized Solution Center for help in configuring a suitable solution. If you have PaperCut NG then feel free to get in touch with our Support Team to discuss your options.
Given that you already have card readers installed and configured on your printers, all that you’ll need to do to create a touch-free printing experience is enable the ‘automatically release jobs upon login’ option on these PaperCut Devices via the Admin web interface of PaperCut NG/MF.
Go to Devices → devicename → Summary → Print Release , and tick the box called ‘Automatically release jobs upon login’:
With this ticked, when the user authenticates with their swipe-card their held print jobs will be automatically printed-out from that printer - with no need to touch the printer at all!
Some considerations for this solution are that some card readers can be programmed to increase the distance that it can read cards from, this can be useful to avoid the card making contact with the card reader or the printer - discuss this with your PaperCut Reseller or Authorized Solution Center.
Also, whilst this solution creates a touch-free experience for your printing, on its own it also removes the ability for your users to delete unwanted print jobs before they’re released. Therefore this can impact on your environmental targets and cost saving measures. It might be wise to include the User web interface print release option with this solution, so that your users can delete unwanted print jobs before going to the device to release them. We discuss the User web interface print release option in more detail later on in this article.
Fast Release Terminals work in a similar manner to the swipe-card option outlined above, in that users are able to use their swipe-card (or fob) on the Fast Release Terminal, and their held print jobs will be automatically released for them at that printer!
These Fast Release Terminals are normally used when a printer is not capable of having the PaperCut Embedded Application installed on it, so they are attached to the printer to provide an authentication step - however it’s possible to use them on any type of printer, so whether you have PaperCut NG or PaperCut MF, with Single-Function Printers or MultiFunctional Devices, you may decide that Fast Release Terminals are the easiest option for you to create a touch-free printing experience.
We recommend that PaperCut MF customers reach-out to their PaperCut Reseller or Authorized Solution Center for help in configuring a suitable solution. If you have PaperCut NG then feel free to get in touch with our Support Team to discuss your options.
Another convenient option is to utilize our Mobile Print Release feature, which allows users to release their held print jobs from their mobile phones whilst standing at a printer - this can be combined with QR codes to provide a powerful touch-free solution for print release.
In simple terms the user’s mobile phone becomes a Release Station where all held jobs can be viewed, and deleted or printed as required. Once a print job has been selected for release, and an output printer chosen, then the print job will be printed immediately with no further action required on the printer.
QR codes can be physically attached to your printers, and scanned by your users with their phone. Once scanned, the QR code will automatically launch the Mobile Print Release app, and associate it with the physical printer that the user is standing at. The user can then simply decide which print jobs to print and which to delete.
There are many ways this solution can be implemented, so we recommend that PaperCut MF customers reach-out to their PaperCut Reseller or Authorized Solution Center for help in configuring a suitable solution. If you have PaperCut NG then feel free to get in touch with our Support Team if you need any help.
If you’re unable to utilize ‘automatically release jobs upon login’ or ‘Mobile Print Release’, then another option for you might be for you to make use of our user web interface print release feature.
Simply put, this is a web page on your network that users can access with their PaperCut credentials, and view their own held print jobs. Through this web page they can choose to either delete or print those jobs, and select which printer they want the job to be released to.
A key consideration for this would be that unless the user is accessing the User web interface via some kind of portable or mobile device, they may not be standing near the printer that they choose to release the job to. This may have security implications to which you should give careful thought in that the job may be released and the print job left waiting on the printer for collection.
Yet another option for you to consider is Delegated print release. Delegated print release is where certain users can be authorized to release print jobs on behalf of other users - so instead of everyone going to the printer individually to release their print jobs, a selected person (or persons) can see the held jobs for other users and can print those jobs on their behalf - which means that only they would have the need to touch the printer (or you can combine this with the User web interface feature discussed above, so that those with delegated release do not need to touch the printer either).
The configuration to enable this is simple. If you want to give someone the ability to see (and release) other user’s print jobs, in the PaperCut NG/MF Admin web interface go to Users → username → Advanced options , and tick the ‘Allow this user to release jobs printed by others (Delegated print release)’ option:
You can then specify individual users, or groups of users, that this particular person can release print jobs for.
A consideration with this feature is that due to document sensitivity it might not be suitable to allow another person to release the print jobs for some users, in which case you may need to combine this feature alongside one of our other touch-free printing options.
There may also be time delays for some users, having to wait for someone else to release their print jobs.
Release Stations have various uses within PaperCut NG/MF for different scenarios, so we’ll only be considering them here with regards to providing a touch-free print experience for your users.
In this specific scenario, the use of Release Stations that we recommend will feel similar to the delegated print release option discussed above. A Release Station is simply a computer that is situated near a physical printer and not used for any other purpose, to provide visibility and control of the held print jobs and can release those jobs to that physical printer.
You’re able to attach a card reader to a Release Station, to facilitate the PaperCut authentication - otherwise you can just use the computer’s mouse and keyboard.
You should setup a Release Station and only provide Release Managers with the ability to access the Release Station interface and release (or delete) the jobs. That way only the Release Manager will have need to use the Release Station.
The considerations you would need to be aware of with this scenario would be similar to those in the Delegated Release scenario, that due to document sensitivity it might not be possible to allow another person to release the print jobs for some users, in which case you may need to combine this feature alongside one of our other touch-free print features.
There may also be time delays for some users, having to wait for someone else to release their print jobs.
If you’re determined to provide a touch-free experience in your Find-Me print environment, but are unable to make use of any of the other features outlined in this article, then the Admin web interface release station will be your option of last resort.
Within the Admin web interface of PaperCut NG/MF there is the ability to view, release and delete print jobs that are currently held. You can find this by going to Printers → Jobs Pending Release:
To access this will require someone with permissions to the PaperCut NG/MF Admin web interface. Admin Rights can be assigned to users so that they can access the Admin web interface, however it is not possible to restrict their permissions to the ‘Jobs Pending Release’ page only - they will need to be given access to the entire ‘Printers’ section as a minimum.
With access to this page, they will be able to see all of the print jobs that PaperCut is currently holding for your users, and choose to either cancel or print those jobs - selecting which printer they would like to release the job to.
A key consideration for this would be that these users with Admin rights will have the ability to make changes within the Printers section of PaperCut (and any other sections that you give them access to).
Also, unless a user is standing near the printer that has been chosen to release the job to, this may have security implications to which you should give careful thought in that the job may be released and the print job left waiting on the printer for collection.
Finally, if you are not able to make use of any of the features listed above to enable a touch-free experience in your Find-Me printing environment, and it is an absolute requirement that you create a touch-free printing solution in your business, then a return to the method of directly printing to the required printer is probably what you need to do.
If you’re a PaperCut MF customer and you wish to remove the hold/release functionality from your PaperCut configuration then reach-out to your PaperCut Reseller or Authorized Solution Center for help in configuring a suitable solution. If you have PaperCut NG then feel free to get in touch with our Support Team if you need any help.
Whether or not you’re able to create a touch-free printing experience in your business, we highly recommend that you have a good cleaning routine for the surfaces that your users will come into contact with. As we said at the outset even with touch-free printing being configured, your users may still need to touch the printer components for copying, scanning or general maintenance.
To assist you with that process we’ve been able to obtain the following cleaning guidance from various print manufacturers that work with PaperCut. If you are unable to see the manufacturer of your printer listed below, then please reach-out to them directly for their guidance on cleaning their equipment:
Let us know! We love helping our customers find solutions to their problems. Feel free to leave a comment below or visit our Support Portal for further assistance.
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