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Reliable Anonymous Guest Printing

Posted by Sal Gamez on April 4th, 2019

Anonymous guest printing sounds somewhat vague, but it can be boiled down to a situation like this: A visitor from outside your workplace—it could be a consultant, a short-term freelancer or even an employee from another branch—needs to print a document to a local printer from their mobile device. How exactly do they do that?

In most cases, this seemingly simple process would actually involve multiple steps. If their mobile device has the right ports, the guest might have to transfer the document to a USB drive, then give the USB drive containing that file to an authorized user for printing. Or the guest might have to send the document via cloud services or email to an authorized user, who would then have to download the file and initiate the printing process. Either way, with conventional print-management solutions, it's far more complicated than it ought to be—especially in large-scale enterprise environments.

The administrative challenge to anonymous guest printing
Even though it would be super-convenient to allow guests to print directly to printers whenever they need to, admins are often reluctant to implement anonymous guest printing for two interrelated reasons:

  1. Technical barriers: In tightly controlled environments, allowing guests to access local printers typically means creating general or one-time accounts that they can use to join the local network. Managing those accounts and the rights associated with them increases administrative overhead. Furthermore, a potential lack of compatibility means there's also no guarantee that their personal device will be able to access the printer once connected to the network.
  2. Security risks: With increased access comes increased risk. Not all guests are benign actors; some could very likely have malicious intent. And with anonymous guest printing, the temptation exists for admins to lift—rather than impose—restrictions in order to avoid the inevitable support calls: "I'm logged into the network but I can't print." Security ends up taking a backseat to expedience.

The unfortunate result is that, despite its obvious benefits, guest printing gets sidelined. It's too much work to administer and not sufficiently secure.

PrinterLogic makes anonymous guest printing intuitive, manageable and secure
PrinterLogic's guest and BYOD printing capabilities overcome these longstanding hurdles associated with traditional print-management solutions. By leveraging proven email-to-print functionality, PrinterLogic enables guest users to print easily and reliably to specific local printers while giving admins the effortless control they need to limit guest access without having to spend more time managing that access.

For a guest to print to a desired local printer, all they have to do is email their files to a specific email address. That's it. Those files then enter the queue like a standard print job. With this method, it also doesn't matter whether the guest is on- or off-network.

On the administrative side of things, it's just as easy. Using PrinterLogic's centralized management console, admins can select which printers are authorized to receive anonymous guest printing jobs via their own dedicated email address. They can also set quotas and limit printing to black and white. Depending on the capabilities of the organization's email platform, it's also possible for admins to set additional parameters, such as which types of files the printer will accept. For example, email filters could be set up to allow DOCX and JPEG but reject RTF and TIFF attachments. This adds an element of secure printing to guest access.

PrinterLogic's BYOD and guest printing functionality therefore delivers on both counts. While the organization retains complete control over who can print and to which printers (and without having to invest hours upon hours configuring their print-management solution accordingly), guests can print their documents quickly and intuitively.

PrinterLogic does even more to simplify printing and print management
While organizations like Hunton & Williams, LLP have used the power and convenience of PrinterLogic's BYOD and guest printing to simplify printing and print management (read the case study here), there are many other ways that PrinterLogic can introduce next-gen capabilities to your print environment with a smaller footprint, minimal administrative overhead and seamless implementation. Just like our mobile-printing and guest-printing solutions, our secure-printing solution works with any network printer—even legacy models—and has the flexibility to suit any print environment without compromising on security or functionality.

Try PrinterLogic in your organization free for 30 days. You'll be able to see firsthand how our serverless print-management solution can increase print-related efficiency, improve print availability, and provide visitors and roaming employees with anonymous guest printing that's both reliable and incredibly easy to use.

Sal Gamez
Sal Gamez
Sal Gamez is a Product Owner at PrinterLogic, where he works with software developers on new product specifications and the Agile-based execution of those plans. His career path includes 12 years in product support and customer-support management. Sal has extensive experience in software integration and has managed deployment projects calling for full integration on all Windows OS platforms. He has worked with giants like NASA and AIG—helping to build customized software projects that use cluster environments, single sign-on, load balancers, and enterprise network switches. He holds a Microsoft Engineering (MCSE) certificate of completion, as well as a Cisco Network Associate (CCNA) certificate of completion.

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