Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Linux Containers, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Removing Obstacles to Enterprise Printing Across the Cloud

Cloud printing is particularly useful for large organizations with complicated computer network infrastructures

Printing and the cloud are seemingly at opposite ends of an organization's infrastructure spectrum. Printing remains one of the last bastions of an organization's infrastructure that cannot be completely virtualized since the whole point of printing is to take something virtual and make it physical. The cloud allows businesses to be more efficient and printing should be one of those business processes, maybe even the most basic business process that could be simplified with the cloud.

The big benefit of cloud printing is that it drastically simplifies intra-organizational printing structures and flattens the complexities of coordinating hardware across a widely distributed system of computers. Of course, not all cloud printing is created equal, and - as with any new technology - the cloud brings with it a slew of new challenges. Among these are the differences between public and private cloud printing and the ease of implementation to achieve these benefits. Figuring out these differences is central to understanding how to successfully implement a cloud-printing solution for your organization.

Cloud printing is particularly useful for large organizations with complicated computer network infrastructures such as government agencies, financial corporations, and healthcare organizations. Many of these institutions connect hundreds (if not thousands) of devices and printers, sometimes across multiple locations. As work becomes more mobile, an employee may need to print from multiple locations in different parts of a building or of a country. Struggling with installing different printer drivers each time that an employee needs to print from a new printer is not just annoying, but also time-consuming and a drain on productivity.

Public cloud printing services can smooth out some of these snafus. They connect printers to the web so that they can be accessed from anywhere and at anytime from web-connected devices. Instead of installing unique drivers for every new printer, you could print from anywhere, as long as both the printer and the device are linked to the cloud printing service. Even more, with cloud printing services, you could print from virtually any device that can connect to the service - including tablets and mobile phones.

However, many times, organizations also have high levels of security concerns that preclude them from using a public cloud. The problem with many third party cloud printing services is that they use the "public" cloud. While these cloud printing options do simplify the printing process, all the print data must travel through the public cloud as it makes its journey from device to printer. Many organizations such as government agencies, financial corporations, or healthcare organizations do not use public cloud services for the expressed reason that it is public. Though some public cloud services have a privacy policy and a guarantee in place, many organizations need greater control and oversight of the sensitive data they handle. Moreover, these organizations are also often large enough to merit their own clouds. As such, they prefer to create in-house private clouds so that they can leverage the advantages of cloud services while also maintaining their own security over sensitive data.

Implementing a private cloud printing solution has its own complications. Consider the infrastructure of government agencies as just one example. Every agency has its own structure for printing, each with active directories, and hundreds of thousands of users dispersed over wide geographic areas. Consolidating printing in this situation requires aligning all the printers, drivers, devices, and users within the system - something that can't be done easily or efficiently. Even more, this system is routinely bogged down with driver updates creating a giant logistical headache. Every device needs to be updated for every driver update for every printer when the updates crop up. For the devices that don't have printer drivers? Those will never be able to print at all. As such, a great resolution to this organizational hazard is to deploy a universal printer driver solution that can seamlessly connect and manage all printers within complex enterprise environments.

Institutions on the scale of multiple government agencies, whether they're on the local, state, or federal level, manage more printers than are easily handled in list form - though, truthfully, in comparison to public cloud printing, private clouds handle far fewer printers, which also makes them a better option for enterprises. Either way, the printers need a structure that ensures that users can identify the right printer without extraneous hassle. The structure should require as little effort on the user's part as possible, so this particular iteration of cloud services must keep the location in mind. Printers should automatically connect to whatever network makes the most sense (like the library in a university or the particular building a printer is attached to) so that only a few printers out of all the printers in the cloud get exposed to each user based on localities.

Cloud printing seems like a solution to this headache, that is consolidating the vast multiplicity of printers in large and sprawling institutions. However, this solution may create more problems than it solves in its implementation. Instituting cloud printing for many organizations is not as simple as ceding the reins to a public cloud service company. The particular security concerns of government agencies, financial corporations, healthcare providers, and other security-sensitive institutions make public cloud solutions impossible. Private cloud printing solutions, on the other hand, are complex puzzles that are difficult to administer. The right solution must be implemented to effectively address the complicated infrastructures of institutional printing while also ensuring that user access to printers is as easy and secure as possible. Without that, cloud printing would just replace one problem with another.

More Stories By Arron Fu

Arron Fu is Vice President of Software Development at UniPrint. He oversees the operation of UniPrint, and also presides over its software development function. He is instrumental in steering software developments, including the award-winning UniPrintTM Infinity printing solution, a universal printer driver specifically designed for optimizing printing functionality and simplifying administration in multi-user, server-based computing environments.

Arron is an IT industry veteran. Prior to taking up his management role at UniPrint, he spent 15 years in the field of consulting, system installation/integration, and application design and development across business functions, processes and industries.

Arron holds a degree in Computer and Electronic Engineering from the University of Manitoba as well as a number of industry standard qualifications.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Latest Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 C...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve fu...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...