Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 are fast approaching the end of its extended support, with the end-of-life date marked for October 10, 2023. Now is the time to investigate alternative options and plan your migration to newer and supported solutions. As we’ve seen with previous servers reaching End of Life (EOL), the dates sneak up fast and leave users open to security breaches and the risk of breaking compliance regulations. And with cyberattacks on the rise, running apps and data on an unsecured or unsupported version creates significant infrastructure risks.
While you can buy more time by upgrading to the newest version of Windows Server, which is 2019, this solution is also beholden to the inevitable EOL lifecycle. Thankfully, we have an alternative pathway for you to adopt a cloud-based solution and modernize your print management.
In this blog, we’ll show you how to leverage the Printix serverless solution to migrate your print infrastructure to the cloud and future-proof your print environment.
Why move to the cloud?
Moving business functions to the cloud isn’t always simple or easy. Some transitions require extensive planning, strategy and communication before deployment even begins.
However, moving print management to the cloud can be as simple as:
- Eliminating your physical print server
- Adopting software-as-a-service
- Moving printer administration and support tasks to a cloud-based productivity application.
Migrating to the cloud offers a more flexible, scalable, and robust way of printing. A true cloud solution, like Printix managed print services, doesn’t require additional services or have on-premises infrastructure dependencies like other hybrid solutions. The serverless architecture eliminates print servers from your network, relieving IT burden and creating a secure, cloud-managed print infrastructure for modern cloud printing – any time, anywhere, from any device and to any printer.
Print infrastructure: on-premise vs. cloud
Print infrastructure consists of physical printers, print servers (including print drivers and print queues) and the network these devices operate on.
These elements involve major hardware and software investment, substantial people-power to administrate and ongoing costs to support and maintain. They also represent three critical points of print infrastructure failure: printer, print server and network failure (meaning no printer access). The key difference between on-premise and cloud-based print infrastructure is that cloud-based solutions are software in the cloud however, there are several other distinctions:
- Traditional print servers cost money and require humans and hours–if not days–to launch. Cloud-based software launches automatically and on-demand in minutes.
- Traditional print servers require manual installation and deployment of individual print drivers and print queues. Cloud software can automatically install and deploy print drivers and print queues.
- Traditional print servers are physically limited, with companies having a finite number available. Software, as a cloud resource, has no such physical limitations.
- To prevent a single point of failure with on-premise solutions, the best practice is to deploy more than one print server (redundancy). Reliability through redundancy is inherently built into the structure of cloud computing technology.
Printing features: on-premise vs cloud
Printing features and functionalities support various workplace scenarios and workflow processes that many of us take for granted, like mobile printing, secure pull printing and rules-based printing.
The main differences between on-premise and cloud-based software are a combination of implementation, access and business model:
- Many printer software solutions are vendor-specific and some may require dedicated software to be installed on each device. Cloud software can enable printer-agnostic solutions with no initial setup costs.
- To enable on-premise printing features, print servers must be active and users must be on the network. Cloud-based applications allow printing anytime and anywhere through a browser interface.
- Traditional software is an upfront purchase with annual renewal and maintenance fees, often priced per device and per user. In the cloud, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is typically a per user, monthly subscription-based payment model with no initial cost.
Print Management: On-premise vs. Cloud
Print management software solutions include monitoring, assessment, auditing, accounting and management tools to control, measure and optimize printing resources. These are traditionally enterprise solutions that can provide a significant return on investment if the company has multiple users and printers.
Here are the main points of comparison for on-premise and cloud print management:
- Traditional print management software is released when new versions are made available and typically requires maintenance fees to access updates, fixes and new features.
- Cloud-based software is automatically updated with fixes and new features – available immediately.
- Scalability to meet demand with traditional onsite solutions usually means investing in additional print servers (to avoid failure due to capacity issues).
- The ability to scale on demand is one of the biggest advantages of cloud technology solutions and is limited only by the ability of the application to scale with it.
- Implementing and deploying a print management solution on-site can take hours, if not days, and require many infrastructural changes.
- Deploying a cloud solution and services is quick to create and deploy with no changes necessary to the existing print environment.
- On-premises authentication of users and enabling ‘Pull/Follow’ secure printing is achieved by a combination of user login, pin codes or ID cards and hardware card readers.
- Cloud solutions can use any of these methods as well as provide secure user authentication through a web application from a smartphone.
- In traditional print server architecture, documents remain secure on the network.
- A cloud solution architecture provides the same document security, as all print data stays on the local network.
What outcomes can Printix deliver?
Printix helps businesses of all sizes eliminate the need to install traditional on-premises print management software with associated print servers. Users have seen benefits like:
Reduced costs of on-premises infrastructure and less support and maintenance fees after replacing print servers with a cloud-managed print infrastructure.
Boosted productivity for employees with the automatic discovery of print networks and automatic print queue installation by location, group or self-service for increased efficiencies.
Faster provisioning and onboarding with the SaaS model and no installation and configuration complexities.
Simplified admin with centralized management and automatic updates from any location at any time.
How are businesses using Printix for modern printing?
Printix is a cloud print management SaaS that unleashes the benefits of modern workplace printing. It helps businesses of all sizes eliminate the need to install traditional on-premises print management software with associated print servers. It’s serverless, simple, and saves you time and money while supporting Windows, Mac, Chromebook, iOS & Android.
It enhances productivity with seamless printing capabilities and no complex network configurations. Printix also supports printing in virtual environments like Azure Virtual Desktop and Citrix.
Printix operates using a cloud-based infrastructure which means that the print management system is hosted and accessible through the internet. This infrastructure allows users to connect to printers across different locations without relying on a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
How does Printix ensure security?
By eliminating the need for a VPN, Printix's cross-location printing feature simplifies the printing process for remote users and enables them to print documents securely and conveniently.
The secure cloud print management service has single sign-on and secure access using Microsoft Azure AD, Google Workspace, OKTA or OneLogin and supports multiple identity providers at the same time. Print jobs are stored and encrypted locally.
For a secure print release, you can use the free Printix App and either a QR code or an NFC Tag, which provides a “Tap n Go” experience. Businesses can also choose card-based secure print release with an access card or identification code.
How can I get started?
New businesses interested in Printix are eligible for a free 1-month trial of the full feature set, and better yet, no credit card details are required to activate the trial. All you need to do is complete the form to show your interest and you’ll receive a verification email with a get started link which will direct you to create your Printix tenant and start your trial.
As you move your IT services and server functions to the cloud, now is the time to consider updating your print infrastructure so you can enjoy the advantages of working in the cloud.
Don’t let the Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 end-of-life creep up on you. Start making an action plan today and discover the full benefits of a cloud-based print management service for your modern printing environment.