Originally published on May 19, 2016
Network technology has taken colossal strides since the advent of the telegraph and is heralded for its potential to break down physical barriers and overcome geographic distances. But as most IT veterans will tell you, physical barriers and geographic distance still pose several challenges to distributed enterprise environments. Additionally, the surge of remote workers following the COVID-19 pandemic has posed further complexities for enterprises migrating toward this employment lifestyle.
Extremely Slow Print Speeds
Remote office printing primarily suffers from issues related to speed. This is a matter of basic network infrastructure. Let’s say that an end user in a remote office wants to print a document. When the end user clicks “Print,” they assume that the document is sent directly to the remote office printer that is likely situated not more than a couple of yards from where they’re sitting.
Although this case is ideal, it isn’t quite that simple. The print job sent by the end user is relayed to many locations from their workstation via the wide-area network (WAN) and eventually processed at a central print server. The data is then relayed back across the WAN to the remote office printer. Depending on the number of print jobs deployed by other end users, this process could take upwards of ten to fifteen minutes. That often seems like an eternity to employees Plus, it decreases their overall productivity.
Yet, speed can remain a problem even with a remote office print server in place. Although they might be located onsite, these print servers act as bottlenecks because they aren’t always able to function efficiently under heavy loads. Examples of this include three workers printing 100-page documents simultaneously. These print jobs are rendered and queued systematically, then held in the spooler before being sent to the remote office printer for printing. And that’s the most ideal situation. In reality, remote office printers may experience storage driver errors or compatibility issues, leading to constant frustration and headaches.
Security Risk Vulnerability
The vulnerabilities associated with giving the same access permissions and full network access to all employees could be detrimental to an enterprise from a cost and security standpoint. Before 2020, companies traditionally followed the “trust but verify” method; however, this compromised companies’ security and gave potential internal actors access to company data and files through unauthorized or compromised accounts.
In the summer of 2021, the absence of a zero-trust security framework at many enterprises exposed a remote code execution vulnerability, paving the way for malicious attacks on a vulnerable system. This vulnerability, known as PrintNightmare, is still haunting many companies utilizing print servers, causing them to take extra precautions, such as disabling service on domain controllers, limiting traffic by disabling the print server role on workstations, and restricting access to print servers in general. This nightmare caused enterprises to finally wake up and gravitate toward a serverless printing infrastructure that embraces a zero-trust framework, greatly reducing security complexity and operational expenses.
Print Security Stats
- 68% of organizations have experienced data losses due to unsecured printing in the past 12 months.
- 26% of organizations feel confident that their print infrastructure will be secure when they fully reopen their offices.
- $775,000 is the average cost per data breach.
Via Quocirca 2022
Overall Management Issues
Management is another issue that affects both regional print servers and remote office print servers. Deploying the right printers to the right users using a set of easy-to-define criteria is close to impossible because print servers generally rely on group policy objects (GPOs) and scripts to carry out deployments.
Regarding driver management, it’s difficult to keep up with which drivers need to remain at certain versions for compatibility reasons. Print servers don’t even offer an easy way to remotely manage print queues and purge the stuck jobs that can temporarily bring remote office printing to an abrupt halt. This adds to the IT helpdesk’s to-do list along with having to solve Doug’s password predicaments and Michelle’s “blue screen of death”; the IT department just can’t catch a break.
It’s difficult to establish effective cost management strategies while employing a print server as the prime source of your printing needs. Lack of control and continuous oversight on end-user print jobs puts company dollars right into the shredder. A lot of the cost comes from black ink, which has earned the title of “liquid gold” and is the most used ink color in the workplace. Users might change their settings to print in color even when it is unnecessary or print numerous copies of the same document because they couldn’t find out which printer the print job was dispersed to. These small acts tend to go unnoticed and cause a lot of financial headaches.
PrinterLogic is the universal solution to all the issues that plague remote office printing and support remote working environments:
- Increased print speeds: PrinterLogic creates direct IP connections between remote workstations and remote office printers, virtually eliminating print-related WAN traffic and the need for print jobs to travel across long network chains.
- Serverless printing infrastructure: By eliminating the need for remote office print servers, PrinterLogic offers companies the ability to keep print jobs local and stamp out the single point of failure. You’re welcome, IT professionals.
- Off-Network Printing: Designed to cater to adopters of Zero Trust and remote work, PrinterLogic’s Off-Network Printing helps companies maintain airtight, Zero Trust security while allowing workers to print regardless of what network they are on.
It’s time to say good riddance to long wait times, constant IT help desk calls, and the uncertainty of off-network printing. When exploring ways to save time, go serverless, and make use of Secure Off-Network Printing, there’s only one solution. It’s PrinterLogic.