How to buy a better multifunction printer to avoid costly downtime

April 9, 20193 minute read time

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IT in education is a fun sector to work in, isn’t it? Where else can you find a revolving door of hundreds, if not thousands of users stress testing every inch of your environment on a nearly 24/7 basis? And never mind finals week.

IT in education can be a trial-by-fire job, and the constant chaos doesn’t lend itself to a digital environment that’s easy to predict and scale—the host of angry students wondering why their final projects are still sitting in the print queue of your multifunction printer certainly doesn’t help.

If this all sounds familiar, we’ve got good news for you: with the right printer fleet, you don’t need to worry about ill-timed printer meltdowns. Follow the “more pages, more performance, more protection” rule when expanding and upgrading your fleet, and you’ll likely find much smoother sailing when crunch time hits.

Print more pages without hassle

There’s a lot of unique use cases for printers these days. From scanning admissions documents to printing off a 300-page thesis, your users expect a fleet that can service all of their needs. Luckily, embracing a smarter breed of multifunction printers can make tackling these ever-changing use cases far easier.

Maintaining smooth print operations with increasingly complex jobs can be difficult, and tasks like tracking a user’s document from the scanning bed to their network folder or managing print queues and quotas during periods of high stress require powerful solutions.

So how can you print more pages with fewer headaches?

The answer is a print fleet with end-to-end process automation. As you consider what your next print upgrades will be, keep an eye out for printers with:

  • Output management that ensures documents are in a print-ready format regardless of source
  • Support for centralized print auditing and tracking
  • Automated capture and routing of digitized documents
  • “Anywhere” mobile access

Bolstering your fleet by adding machines armed with these features can allow your print environment to accommodate more workflows while taking up less of your time.

Value printer performance

Automating print workflows isn’t the only positive aspect of a more efficient, cost-effective fleet. When procuring new equipment for your print environment, you can’t ignore raw specs. With that said, what specs should you be looking for? What separates a good printer from a great one?

Here are some technical considerations to help you find a multifunction printer that meets your needs while empowering a more efficient print environment:

  • Mobility is key. PCs are no longer required for productivity in the workplace, and this fact rings true in the world of education as well. Look for printers that can integrate common workflows like scanning and copying with the capabilities of mobile devices.
  • Time spent waiting at the printer is time wasted. Make sure you look for machines that can print thousands of color pages per minute, not just hundreds.
  • A simple machine is a stable machine. In general, a printer with fewer replaceable parts will require less maintenance, and less maintenance means less downtime and fewer headaches.
  • Consider a managed print services (MPS) solution that takes much of the guesswork out of your print strategy.

Implement effective safeguards

It should go without saying that any device added to your network should first be added to your security strategy. Even so, printers often slip under the radar when it comes to developing a comprehensive security design—all they do is print documents, right? What could go wrong?

As HackerNoon recently pointed out, it’s exactly that sentiment that makes printers a prime target for would-be data thieves. Ensure that any new printers you add are backed by a cohesive set of security features that integrate well with your overall security strategy. To that end, here are some key points to look for:

  • User authentication support
  • Data encryption
  • Document workflow security for privacy and compliance
  • Threat monitoring and self-healing
  • Connection monitoring
  • Run-time intrusion detection

Ultimately, you’re looking for a device with secure hardware that can protect the data it handles without slowing down your workflow. Finding machines that can ensure this would mean more pages printed, better performance, and greater protections for your digital systems. Let these principles guide your next fleet purchase, and you may just find that your environment doesn’t weigh on you so heavily when finals week rolls around.

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