Discussing the IT-driven trends that will dominate the print industry in the years to come.
Cloud compatible multi-function printers are projected to surge in popularity due to their convenience and ease of use. Cloud printers work in two ways: file is either sent straight to a Wi-Fi enabled printer, or to a normal printer via a device connected to the Cloud server. Users no longer have to deal with software, drivers or cables, instead of sending their documents to print from any Cloud-connected device – including mobile phones and tablets.
Cloud printing may also wipe out faxed documents and reduce the tedious process of downloading email attachments, hoping for file/desktop compatibility, and printing. Instead, files can be encrypted and sent directly to any printer, even those across the globe, as long as connected to the same server. Encrypted documents can only be printed with a password, ensuring privacy between parties.
Personalized data from cloud printing can also be used to monitor printing volume by department or user, which can identify possible areas to reduce cost. Certain Cloud printers or servers are advanced enough to allocate page counts to individual teams or employees, assign different pricing per page, or define the maximum number of color prints. Print providers must be equipped with specialists who are able to integrate these settings for consumers who need them.
Due to their basic nature, printers are often overlooked when in fact, these unassuming machines often handle a large amount of sensitive data including financial statements, employee information, and bank credentials. According to Information Age, 72% of survey respondents felt concerned about possible printer-related security breaches. An alarming 59% have already experienced at least one printer-related data loss.
Ever-evolving cyber-security threats will take advantage of any undiscovered vulnerabilities created by new infrastructures. Attackers may be able to breach confidential data stored on print devices or exploit open access points.
Possible threats include:
- Unauthorized data disclosure: Leaked information
- Network breach: Compromised printer may be used as a focal point for attacks
Consumers will have to do their due diligence to identify and prevent potential security risks either through investing in cyber-security solutions or working with managed IT support. Print industry vendors will have to consider a shift towards specialized security roles.
NEW PAYMENT MODELS AND PACKAGES
Companies will constantly seek new ways to trim expenses and increase their bottom line. In turn, print service providers and vendors need to think out of the box with competitive pricing. Customers typically receive a monthly invoice after sending in their print jobs – the invoice might include print job description, cost per print and payment terms.
However, this traditional payment model is slowly being replaced by a more attractive pay-as-you-go model, which offers customers a lot more flexibility. A pay-as-you payment mode also benefits both print service providers and customer in terms of cash flow.
Considering the rise in Cloud-based printing and security, providers should work on partnering with IT managed services to create package deals that offer encryption and infrastructure management. As mentioned earlier, vulnerabilities created by new technology should be identified, monitored and solved. Packaging technical support can help alleviate any issues that customers face such as wireless printing compatibility.