The impact of work from home (WFH) on enterprises and their investment in on-campus multifunction devices is significant. Moving print infrastructure to the cloud can both save money and securely support a distributed workforce.
When COVID-19 moved the majority of workers off business campuses and into home offices, it radically changed both how and how much they printed. Eighty percent of remote workers polled by analyst firm Quocirca printed less and worked digitally more. Some used work-issued laptops, while others relied on their own home computers and personal printers. In some industries, where print documents are irreplaceable, companies went so far as to move one or more multifunction printers to well-ventilated perimeter locations and scheduled their use by otherwise off-site workers.
The cloud is available from anywhere and provides cost-effective, sustainable and scalable infrastructure. Moving print infrastructure to the cloud makes printers easier to manage and more secure regardless of their physical location. This becomes essential as businesses of all sizes weigh the advantages of a distributed workforce, even in an increasingly vaccinated world.
The need to print will never go away. But printer drivers can.
Despite the digitization of the distributed workforce, the ability to print physical documents remains essential. In the medical, legal and real estate industries, among others, the paper trail is here to stay. Whether the requirements are legal or driven by business efficiency, print and printers remain essential business tools. What the WFH revolution changes is where print infrastructure lives. Before the pandemic, on-site IT teams chronically grumbled about the need to install print drivers on workers’ machines and support the print servers that regulated print traffic onsite. COVID-19 created the need and accelerated the willingness of businesses to migrate their print infrastructure to the cloud.
Led by big technology companies, up to 87% of businesses expect that in the future, employees will be permitted or required to work remotely. Why? Because in a majority of cases, remote employees get more work done faster and supporting them costs a great deal less. Supporting staff with cloud print services has its advantages.
The advantages of print from anywhere
Security — When print infrastructure moves to the cloud, it can serve people and printers anywhere as long as they have an Internet connection. And it acts as a force that keeps a remote workforce on the same page. Besides delivering print services anywhere, any time, on demand, cloud print infrastructure leverages all the mature security protocols that have evolved to protect Internet traffic, as well as the high level of physical security demanded of the data centers where the cloud infrastructure actually resides. cloud-hosting of infrastructure assures the same high level of availability and redundancy that the host data centers themselves are pledged to deliver. Zero trust networking protocols require that both users and devices are authenticated with every use.
According to a paper published by the National Institute of Science and Technology, “Zero trust is a response to enterprise network trends that include remote users, bring your own device (BYOD) and cloud-based assets that are not located within an enterprise-owned network boundary.”
It assures that cloud-based business infrastructure is both flexible and secure.
Flexibility — Offering print infrastructure as a service offers businesses levels of choice they’ve never before enjoyed. Private, public or hybrid Cloud architectures — organizations can choose which best meets their budget and their needs. cloud-based print infrastructure is delivered “as a service,” a business model that moves print infrastructure from the capital to the operating expense column and distributes the budgetary impact.
Further, a number of leading Internet technology companies are creating and packaging cloud-based business applications and making them available as suites or individually, as needed. This enables businesses to move their businesses to the cloud at the speed and the cost best suited to their needs.
Cost — In “The Cloud Services Market Landscape, 2021” report, analyst firm Quocirca examines the cloud-print capabilities of most leading printer manufacturers. They report, too, that in virtually every case, companies that adopted cloud-printing for a distributed workforce experienced “significant cost savings, a reduction in unnecessary printing and a secure way for individuals in different locations to share both data and documents.” Rather than disabling business, cloud printing provides the means to make it both more efficient and less costly, as well as the opportunity to pay for use and not for ownership.
Quocirca also reports that, “Eight out of 10 organizations now expect more than half their IT infrastructure to be cloud-based by the end of 2021. Forty-three percent expect all of their IT infrastructure to be cloud-based.” They go on to recommend that device manufacturers partner with cloud services providers to meet the altered needs and expectations of business users, now and in the future.
James Wieser is Business Development Director, Y Soft. At Y Soft, Jim is involved in developing digital office solutions and draws on his background from working at OpenText, Xerox and Eastman Kodak. Most recently Jim developed a digital fax add on to Y Soft’s print management solution. Jim calls New York home and is a professional scuba diving instructor trainer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.