What Is the Value of Pull Printing?

Posted by Jordan Pusey

Pull printing solutions are catching on in the enterprise on account of their potential for cost savings and security. You’ll often find them under different trade names, sometimes with “Follow” or “Secure” in the title, but they all adhere to the same basic principle.

So what is pull printing, then?

You’ll be glad to hear it’s as straightforward as it sounds. Pull printing is a two-step process whereby a user initiates a print job from a workstation or a mobile device and then “pulls” (or “releases”) it at a particular physical printer through either a GUI command or an authentication method of some kind.

We at PrinterLogic are all about simplicity, but we see a lot of value in this extra step when additional security is needed. We’ve heard plenty of stories about confidential documents being left in the printing tray or even taken by unauthorized employees after they’re printed. Secure pull printing avoids this security risk by ensuring that the documents are not left unattended at the printer for any period of time. The user who initiates the print job—and only that user—has full control over precisely where and when that job is executed.

Many organizations get the request from end users who need their own “in-office” printer. These requests generally come from HR, doctors, nurses, executives, and most anyone who feels they cannot use a shared printer because they must protect the information they print. IT must weigh the cost of owning these printers (cheaper initial cost but much higher cost per page, increased service desk costs, and higher management costs) with the value of larger, shared MFP printers. With Pull Printing, the decision is made easier because you get the best of both worlds, cheaper printing and security.

Another advantage of pull printing solutions is in the reduction of waste. We’ve all been guilty of initiating a print job, getting distracted, and then either forgetting to retrieve that job from the printer or printing it again by mistake. Or simply sending print jobs to the printer, discovering a mistake on the screen, and printing again. Or if the printer has an error, hitting the “print” button several times until something comes out. (You know you’ve done all of these). Pull printing ensures that users confirm the job only when they are prepared to pick it up—the equivalent of “Are you ready?” That could keep hundreds of print jobs per year from being reprinted unnecessarily or abandoned at the printer. Not only does that save paper, it also saves toner plus physical wear and tear on the machine.

With Pull Printing from PrinterLogic, you have two different configuration options that maximize the benefits of pull printing solutions:

  • Pull/follow printing: Release print jobs to any capable printer
  • Secure pull printing: Use one of three authorization methods to release print jobs

The first method can be implemented in PC/Mac, mobile and Chromebook environments. Users send jobs via PrinterLogic’s universal print driver to any enabled printer, and that job is securely stored until the user executes it using a release device.

The second method uses the native device driver to send jobs securely and maintain all original printer functionality, so it has to be implemented in PC/Mac environments. But by working with external or integrated badge readers, printer LCD consoles, or browser-equipped devices (such as a Chromebook or inexpensive mobile device), it ensures a higher level of security across the board. Under a secure pull printing scenario with badge authentication, for example, a print job could not be executed without the authorized badge of the user who initiated the print job.

As you’d expect based on our reputation for versatile print management software, PrinterLogic’s Pull Printing solution works with all printer manufacturers, which means even legacy devices can be made to work with pull printing functionality. It’s a cost-effective way to introduce extra security and savings into your print environment.