One of the next big digital transformations to occur will be the shift from network printing to cloud printing. But what exactly is cloud printing, and is it just hype, or something that can really help your business?
The good news is that cloud printing is not just vaporware or an over-promoted tech gimmick that doesn’t really result in real-world benefits. In actuality, cloud printing is really the future of onsite printing and print management, because it makes it so much easier for people to connect printers and get their work done.
Cloud printing is also essential for remote and hybrid work, which you will see clearly, as we explain exactly how it works.
What Is Cloud Printing?
Before we explain what cloud printing is, why don’t we get a little bit clearer on what network printing is and how people have been using printers traditionally.
A Brief Overview of Printer Connectivity and History
When computer printers first came on the scene many decades ago, they were simple affairs and would connect directly to the computer that was printing the documents. Back in the day, printers needed special cables to fit into the printer’s parallel ports. The parallel port was a very wide, unwieldy array of connector pins that took up quite a bit of space on the back of the printer.
To get the printer to work, you would need to install some software using a floppy drive or later a CD-ROM. Then the computer could connect to the printer via the large parallel port and associated cable. Early printers had no WiFi, and network administrators would perhaps have a dedicated computer or “print server” set up for the office to send their documents to. Print management was challenging.
USB and WiFi Printers
Eventually the parallel port was replaced with USB, and printer software became a little easier to install, as it is often installed automatically. USB printers are typically easy to use, especially for home users. They are now plug-and-play for the most part – you plug the printer in, and then the operating system such as Windows automatically installs the right printer driver for you.
But connecting to the network involves a lot more, even with built-in WiFi capabilities. This is because each individual computer would need to have the printer driver software set up on it to be able to print on the network printer. And while Windows can handle this for WiFi connected printers sometimes, it’s usually a lot more difficult to set up and maintain. In other words, wireless print management can be a nightmare to get working for a large volume of people, and especially difficult if you have hybrid team members coming into the office with their own devices.
The Power of Cloud Printing
Enter cloud printing. Instead of the user having to install individual printer drivers to access the various printers on the network, all of the print drivers are handled by a cloud system. The end user simply needs to connect to the cloud and tell it which printer they want to use. The end user does not need to install individual printer drivers on their devices in order to be able to print. This is a game changer for print management.
Benefits of Cloud Printing
As you can see, cloud printing completely changes the way printers work. The benefits are numerous and include:
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): team members can use any cloud connected device to print without having to worry about printer drivers.
- You do not need to be at the physical location in order to be able to print at the location. You can print something for a person in one office while you are located at home or in another office.
- Workers do not need to hassle with cumbersome cables or use up a valuable USB port on their laptop in order to access the printer.
- Printer software updates happen automatically in the cloud and in real time, keeping the printers much more stable and secure.
- Finally, all of the above helps to reduce costs.
Ready to Get Started With Cloud Printing?
Cloud printing is definitely the future, so you might as well get a jump on things and benefit from the cloud sooner than later. CDS Office Technologies can get your business properly set up with cloud printing so that your onsite and remote employees can easily print as needed, without having to fuss with drivers and other print software. We can connect almost all of your printer fleet to the cloud, including many legacy printers. We can also manage your printer ecosystem with Managed Print Services to make your entire printing environment more secure and efficient. Let us know what your needs are, and we can craft a custom cloud based print management solution for your business or organization.
CDS Office Technologies can improve your business productivity and enable remote work with cloud printing. Contact us today to get started.