Posted by Tom Darnall
K-12 print environments have a unique set of end users and special requirements, and the print-management solutions they rely on should be up to the task. After all, how can you focus on educating and empowering the next generation when you’re busy wrestling with slow print jobs, cumbersome printer installations, and chronic issues with wasted consumables?
That’s why traditional print-management solutions, such as print servers or unmanaged direct IP, simply don’t cut it in K-12 environments. Even solutions like Google Cloud Print, which claim to offer ubiquitous mobile printing, aren’t always up to the challenges that come with a dynamic, highly transitional educational environment. Just consider some of their shortcomings:
Print servers are single points of failure
To save money on the costs of hardware maintenance and the time required to administer printers and drivers, IT decision-makers often end up consolidating their print infrastructure in a centralized print server.
The problem is this results in a vulnerable single point of failure. If a rogue driver or corrupted print job causes the spooler to crash, it can halt print activity for the entire organization. The inevitable consequence of widespread print downtime is a flood of help-desk calls, which places additional burdens on IT support staff and takes them off-task.
Traditional solutions aren’t equipped for mobile printing
Today’s K-12 environments are early adopters of mobile, cost-effective hardware like iPads and Chromebooks. Unfortunately, print servers and conventional direct-IP print-management solutions are ill-equipped to accommodate them.
IT ends up having to create detailed workarounds or specialized protocols in order to provide printing functionality, and students and teachers often have to jump through several hoops to send a PDF to a nearby printer—if they have that ability at all. Nor do mobile-oriented solutions like Google Cloud Print offer a seamless solution because they have drawbacks of their own, such as the expense of new Google Cloud Print enabled printers and limited cross-platform compatibility.
Print audit capabilities weak or missing in common solutions
There are a lot of reasons why K-12 environments need to conduct regular print audits. Security, for one. Cost control, for another. But many print-management solutions offer only barebones functionality—if they offer any at all. That makes it difficult for IT administrators to maintain the oversight they need over the print environment. Often they turn to bolt-on print-audit solutions to fill this gap, which drives up costs and can create additional print headaches when these solutions don’t mesh seamlessly with their existing print-management software.
PrinterLogic is ideal for K-12 environments
PrinterLogic’s next-generation print-management solution employs a unique combination of direct-IP printing and centralized management to provide a robust, scalable and easy-to-use printing experience that also provides seamless mobile printing and secure printing functionality. Advanced print auditing and reporting are included, too.
These features make PrinterLogic an ideal print-management solution for schools, where students are mobile, clients (e.g., mobile devices and workstations) are in constant flux, and security can’t come at the expense of printing speed and convenience.
Chromebook printing made cost-effective and easy
Chromebooks are cost-effective to buy, but expensive to administer when it comes to printing. What K-12 IT managers want an easy way to print from a Chromebook to existing network printers.
PrinterLogic is printer-agnostic and provides straightforward Chromebook printing to your existing printer fleet. This is set up centrally using the web-based Admin Console, where you can easily create a virtual printer in Google Cloud Print—or a local instance if using PrinterLogic SaaS (formerly PrinterCloud). Teachers and students see the printer as a single available queue on their device.
To use it, they click “Print,” select the “PrinterLogic Printer,” and send the print job. It works from any Chromebook web page or app that supports printing.
Integration with existing quota-management solutions
If you already use quota-management services like PaperCut, you can leave those print servers intact, and still get the benefits of how PrinterLogic manages printer and driver deployments effortlessly.
The Kennewick School District is just one K-12 organization that uses PrinterLogic to improve ease of management and print performance—while integrating seamlessly with PaperCut to retain their quota-management solution.
For more insights on how PrinterLogic can transform printing in K-12, download our white paper titled K-12 Classroom Secrets for Making Printers Easier to Manage and Turning Teachers into Raving Fans. The paper—which is grounded in a survey of education professionals—explains the challenges that face today’s K-12 print environments and how PrinterLogic can help.
Finally, be sure to request a free 30-day trial of PrinterLogic to test how it functions in your environment. With its rapid deployment, light footprint, easy printer and queue migration, as well as its advanced secure printing features, PrinterLogic can quickly upgrade your K-12 print performance while reducing help-desk costs and IT administrative overhead. Not mention how it will put smiles on the faces of teachers and staff.