Should My Business Set Up a Printer Server?
Every successful company at some point grows to where they need more network and storage capacity. As more users connect to the network and greater amounts of information starts flowing through the office, a printer server will ensure the company doesn’t suffer from slowing network speeds or lag. Once the company reaches this stage, they’ll need to review their current technology implementation and assess their long-term needs before making the final decision. With many print server advantages, the company can centralize the administration and configuration of all their printers. Once a new user joins the organization, they’ll be able to connect to the right printer quickly and easily. Opposed to direct IP print configuration, a print server enforces the company’s policies across the network and over different geographical locations.
What is a Print Server?
A print server refers to a dedicated management device that connects to the company network and manages the print queues and configurations according to predefined policies. This means it’s a dedicated workstation specifically set up for the printer management with LAN or WAN access to the network. The latest print servers are self-contained boxes with networking capabilities and come in small sizes (roughly the same as a Hub) that makes them perfect to install at the primary printer’s location. With a dedicated print server, the box will have onboard memory to manage the print queues and store the different drivers for all the company’s printers. These devices are easy to configure and come with a variety of features. Deciding on what device will serve the company’s present needs and into the future depends on the size and scale of their print operations.
Advantages of a Print Server
Firstly, one of the printer server advantages is reducing the administrative overhead for the company’s IT department. Whenever a user needs to send a print to a new printer, they can add the printer by selecting it from a list, and the approved drivers will automatically install. The printing policy will ensure only the latest, correct drivers install for the specific printer. As manufacturers regularly update drivers, a print server will also push new drivers to all the users as they become available. Additionally, a print server tracks volume and enables the organization to set individual limits on a per-user basis. It also provides increased oversight of the entire fleet and depending on the different Multifunction Printers (MFPs) in use, can manage different security features using printing policies. Some print servers come with additional encryption features, ensuring all information remains secure during the transfer from the PC to the MFP.
Make Sure a Print Server is Right for Your Business
If the company grew over time and purchased additional printers as their needs changed, chances are they have many different devices located throughout the organization. As these printers came with different features and capabilities when the company purchased them, each device will have differing installation procedures and security requirements. With a centralized print server, the company can configure and deploy different policies that address these legacy requirements. With network security best practices constantly changing, having a system that allows the business to adapt and keep ahead of the latest threat will improve information security. How to choose a server depends on the business operations mostly, but companies should consider factors such as improved security, oversight, and job tracking. Instead of needing to run multiple job reports from each device, the print server will keep logs of every print job for all connected printers and users.
When is a Print Server Best?
The daily printing and copying functions remain a necessary part of any business, however, without a centralized management system the company may have no idea what the total monthly costs are. As most companies grow in incremental stages, they’ll add new office technology when required. This usually leads to a fleet of devices without any centralized control or administration. A printer server will allow organizations to regain control over the fleet and ultimately reduce the costs related to paper and supplies. It’s worth mentioning that to gain the biggest benefits, the company might need to look to other technologies such as workflow and document management solutions to reduce the number of prints. While the need for physical paper cannot be eliminated entirely, it is possible to reduce the amount with an integrated technology stack.
Office Technologies’ Print Fleet Management Practices
Every company’s needs are unique, which means finding the right printing server solution requires partnering with an expert technology provider. Office Technologies can help organizations seeking to implement the right solutions and initiatives that improve productivity and increases efficiency. Since 1992, Office Technologies have helped customers overcome the pains of scaling while they grow and provide a complete suite of office productivity solutions.
If you’re wondering “do I need a server for my business”, speak to one of Office Technologies’ experts today to discuss your specific requirements.