Office printing has moved on considerably from the days when printers tended to be attached to individual computers around the building and accessible to only one or two people. Today it’s more common to have a smaller number of networked printers in central locations accessible via the office network.
This offers a number of advantages. It means printing is easily available to all users at all times; you can have access to faster machines with more features than if you were buying individual units; you only need to worry about one type of consumables; and you can usually contract out the maintenance of the machines so they’re less of a headache for your support team.
You can also monitor who in the organisation is printing what, so it’s possible to see which departments print the most, spot seasonal peaks and, if you bill printing costs internally, you can do so accurately. Overall, by installing high volume printing equipment, you can cut your print costs and reduce your energy consumption and carbon emissions too.
Securing Your Printing
One thing that you do need to do if you opt for a centralised printing solution is to ensure that it’s kept secure. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, you don’t want unauthorised people such as contractors and visitors using your printers. Secondly, you want to make sure that confidential documents can’t be intercepted on their way to the printer.
There are a various different ways to achieve this. Some network printers allow you to have a PIN number for each user. This needs to be entered each time a job is sent to print, thus ensuring that the use is authorised and identifying where it’s come from for billing purposes.
If a job is private, the printer can be set up to wipe it from its memory after it’s printed so that it can’t be reproduced or printed again from the machine’s storage.
In some cases, such as in academic institutions, you may need to allow relatively large numbers of people access to printing and copying facilities. What you can do here is to use an existing ID number such as a student ID or library card to control access.
If printing is chargeable, you can also add a payment gateway to ensure that each job is paid for before it gets processed, thus eliminating unauthorised use. These access and payment steps can be enabled at the printer itself, ensuring that a user’s job only gets processed when they’re standing in front of the machine and that the output doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Whether you choose a hardware solution at the printer itself or a software solution on the network, keeping your office printing safe and secure needn’t be an arduous task. Take the time to plan your requirements before installing a system, and your chosen supplier should be able to come up with a solution that’s cost-effective as well as both easy to use and secure.