As cloud-based solutions become more widely adopted among organizations of all sizes and sectors, keen-eyed observers are watching specific trends develop within that field. Those broader trends naturally also apply to cloud-based printing solutions such as PrinterLogic's PrinterCloud, which combines the convenience of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and centralized printing with enterprise-grade print management.
So, as 2018 fast approaches, what emerging trends can we expect to see when it comes to enterprise cloud printing solutions?
1. Security, security and more security. Even as cloud-based solutions become more widely accepted, our faith in enterprise security has been shaken by major, highly publicized data breaches. In the coming year and beyond, it's safe to say that cloud print solutions will join the rest of the industry in doubling down on security measures.
For cloud-based printing solutions, security will involve features like pull printing, which intentionally turns printing into a two-step process: The user prints a document in the usual way, but that print job is not executed at the printer until the user "releases" that job using an authentication mechanism like a badge or card reader. This helps to ensure that print jobs aren't left in the output tray where they can be read or accidentally taken by unauthorized users.
PrinterCloud already features tried-and-tested Pull Printing with the same flexible feature set as its on-premise counterpart. Users can release their jobs using badge/card readers (integrated or external), the printer's embedded control panel, or any Web browser.
2. Mobile and BYOD support. The mobile revolution is still going strong, yet many enterprise cloud printing solutions have been slow to offer full and seamless support for BYOD and mobile devices. With any luck, that should change in 2018 as more and more end users untether themselves from their desks and use devices of their choosing.
However, any cloud print solutions that scramble to implement mobile/BYOD support will still be playing catch-up with PrinterCloud, which leverages its proven Mobile Printing feature to provide all of your mobile users and guests with universal, easy-to-use printing capabilities. There's no client-side software to install, and it works with any mobile device and any printer—even legacy models.
3. Visibility and reporting. One of the advantages of cloud-based printing solutions is that they offer a window into your print environment that can be accessed conveniently from almost anywhere. But just how wide and transparent is that window? Typically, many of these cloud print solutions haven't fared much better in that regard than their traditional forerunners, print servers.
The coming year will likely see enterprise cloud printing solutions trying to make up for this shortcoming by trying to implement more reporting features. This might include providing data above and beyond basic print activity, and improved SNMP integration could give an immediate and intuitive snapshot of how the print environment looks at any given moment. In short, there's a lot of potential here.
PrinterCloud's visibility and reporting are already at a level where other cloud print solutions long to be. Its console is incredibly powerful while remaining user-friendly, and it equips admins with SNMP monitoring as well as comprehensive reporting options and analysis. The information it delivers can be easily ordered by different criteria, automatically forwarded to decision-makers and department heads, and used for consolidation and cost-saving guidance.
PrinterCloud is setting tomorrow's enterprise cloud printing trends in many other respects, too, thanks to its centrally managed direct IP printing. While admins will appreciate its effortless management and deploying printers without relying on GPOs, end users will enjoy the self-service installation portal and the ability to print as usual even if the WAN connection is interrupted. It might sound cliché, but PrinterCloud is the future of cloud-based printing solutions—today.
Brad Harker is Director of Sales Training & Automation at PrinterLogic. He oversees the recruiting, training and development of inside sales personnel who are focused on sourcing, qualifying and introducing new customers to PrinterLogic. Since joining PrinterLogic, Harker has been instrumental in the growth and development of the inside-sales team as well as implementing systems to support the company's sales objectives.