Managed Print Services are growing in popularity for businesses of all sizes, with many upgrading to manage costs and security across printers. Cloud MPS, or managed print services with cloud servers rather than physical servers, make this process easier and more convenient by shifting data to a secure cloud server. This results in increased uptime, more flexibility, and easier scaling to multi-office operations – simply because cloud servers scale up and down to meet individual business needs, allowing one organization to move every branch onto the same cloud network.

This offers numerous benefits to businesses, including reducing costs, improving communication, and enabling easy printing at branch locations without simultaneously implementing a file-sharing network or individual print servers per location.

What is Cloud MPS

Cloud Managed Print Services are managed print services bypassing traditional print servers and moving data to the cloud. Here, a single cloud server provider offers a scalable cloud storage solution or sharing and managing print files, typically within a single LAN network, reducing total print-related WAN bandwidth.

During installation, the cloud driver is installed on all printers currently on the print server, after which the print server can be deleted. From there, new printers can simply be installed automatically by installing the driver. The user experience remains the same, with popups to print and access printers following print. The result is a single print queue, centralized management and access management, and centralized device updates for drivers and print software.

Benefits of Cloud MPS

MPS offers numerous advantages to businesses in the form of centralized management, reduced IT infrastructure, and improved management. Depending on the size of your business, the number of printers on your network, and total users needing print services, cloud MPS can save a great deal.

A Single Print Queue

Traditional print servers require printing through multiple print queues, typically connected to specific printers. This makes total management difficult, because data and print requirements are stored across printers which may or may not have a central database. This will reduce total network usage and reduce load on individual networks or points.

Reduced Bandwidth Usage

Most cloud MPS solutions move print queues away from WAN networks and onto LAN networks, where users simply connect to a closed cloud network rather than operating over slower and more expensive LAN.

Cost Reduction

MPS naturally functions to review and minimize total costs through hardware, usage, and network management. Cloud MPS also adds in additional cost-reducing functions, including eliminating print servers. Gartner estimates that print servers cost $6,300 per year each, which can amount to considerable savings over a multi-office organization. MPS can also reduce total costs of print anywhere from 10-30% through toner saving, shared office printers reducing the demand on print, and utilizing measures such as duplex printing as standard.

MPS integrates cost-saving functions including “right-size” implementation, where print-needs and demand are assessed and authenticated before hardware acquisition. This prevents increasing costs through too-large/too-small printers and prevents costly ad-hoc printer purchasing to meet unexpected needs. MPS also works to reduce total cost of print through consolidating hardware into a single lease, which will decrease costs per month.

Other implementations, such as user authentication, where users must either log in and use pull printing (accessing requested print jobs after login), pin printing, or access card printing to gain access to print requests or the printer. This extends to tracking and monitoring of all devices, with data logged and stored on a single dashboard rather than across numerous print servers, enabling easy access and review.

Here, MPS does cost more than leasing, but does offer numerous cost-reducing benefits to offset that added cost, with active management and IT support being the primary factors.

Security

Cloud MPS allows you to integrate network-wide security with single user accounts and authentication across the entire network. Unlike traditional print servers, this also means support for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and remote printing, because users can log in and authenticate with a username and access pass across the entire network. This is advantageous for numerous reasons, including greater convenience and productivity as users on their own devices won’t have to wait for further authentication or print access, remote workers can still access printers, and employees have full access to printers on the network when working at a different branch or office.

Reduced IT Infrastructure

Cloud MPS replaces cloud servers, avoiding the need for a complex IT infrastructure. Managed Print Services also include full IT support, moving connection and tech requests away from in-house IT and towards a dedicated professional print-solution IT department. This can greatly reduce in-house costs, because IT are not tied up with print-networks and solutions. Cloud MPS also enables auto-updates for printer drivers and software, reducing the need to manually install updates on-location, and therefore reducing total costs.

Managed Hardware

MPS is a form of printer hardware lease, where your MPS provider assesses needs, updates hardware across your network, and continues to do so throughout the lifetime of the contract. The result is hardware that remains up to date, which is managed and updated as it exceeds or no longer meets print demands, and as it is replaced by more efficient hardware. Here, a full needs analysis can help you to greatly save on the cost of hardware by determining where you need high-end print hardware and why, and meeting the needs of those specific teams, rather than providing the same equipment to everyone. This reduces costs across the office, as individual teams have their needs met without exponentially increasing costs for the entire organization.

MPS naturally works to reduce the total cost of in-house print through active management and IT structure management. Cloud implementations make this more scalable to even multi-office operations, moving everything onto a single network and creating central access, printer and device management, and improved security.

While MPS is not the right choice for everyone, the advantages of moving your entire print network onto a single, centrally managed cloud network are obvious for even single-office operations.