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Microsoft Universal Print: Welcome to Cloud-based Printing — Now What?

Microsoft Universal Print Datamax

Outside of restricting who can see and use which printers, basic usage tracking capabilities, and other vanilla print management features, Microsoft Universal Print does not do much else— especially compared to the full-blown print management solutions that we’ve evaluated in the past." - Keypoint Intelligence

Cloud migration for businesses, whether voluntarily embraced or hastily implemented after the pandemic forced workers home, continues to be an all-too-common reality. In fact, 61% of businesses migrated their workloads to the cloud in 2020, according to Flexera.

For Microsoft 365 users, Microsoft’s Universal Print simplifies print in unprecedented ways. It centralizes print utilization via the cloud, giving IT administrators a long-awaited tool to bring their print systems up to speed with their remaining network infrastructure.

So print infrastructure has moved to the cloud - great. So, now what? 

Microsoft Universal Print certainly introduces a cloud solution and a simpler print experience for employees. But what about setting up print rules for users? What about authentication and security? Can it substitute a full-bore Print Management solution like uniFLOW or Papercut? 

According to Keypoint Intelligence, "Outside of restricting who can see and use which printers, basic usage tracking capabilities, and other vanilla print management features, Microsoft Universal Print does not do much else — especially compared to the full-blown print management solutions that we’ve evaluated in the past.

It's advantageous and a productive first step for cloud adopters. But for those seeking to wholly secure their print, and effectively shrink their print budget, Microsoft Universal Print is just the beginning. 

3 Advantages of Implementing Microsoft Universal Print at Your Organization.

1. It furthers the cloud migration journey.

For those organizations committed to Microsoft 365, the benefits are simple. No local print server required. No printer driver management required. And no software to install on the client PC. Essentially, it’s a universally available, cloud-based print infrastructure that fosters the transition of print from onsite to the cloud.

2. It can make life simpler for administrators ... and end-users.

Once IT configures and registers printers in Azure Active Directory, they can publish the printers and assign printer access to the appropriate user groups. Users can then easily discover the nearest printer that they have access to, add the printer, and print immediately.

IT can, with relative capability, manage print and receive reports on printer usage.

3. It is compatible with most major brand devices.

According to Microsoft, “Canon is a pioneer of Universal Print-ready devices with the imageRUNNER ADVANCE DX and imageRUNNER ADVANCE Generation 3 portfolio of multifunction printers.” Other manufacturers like Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Ricoh, Toshiba, and Xerox have already or are currently delivering updates to existing devices, or are bringing new printers to market with native Universal Print integration.

Universal Print is a Great Start – But Not a Replacement - for Effective Print Management. Here's Why: 

Again, as noted by Keypoint Intelligence, "outside of restricting who can see and use which printers, basic usage tracking capabilities, and other vanilla print management features, Microsoft Universal Print does not do much else." For administrators seeking robust print management capabilities, Universal Print is a great start and nothing more.

uniFLOW Online, based on Microsoft sophisticated Azure™ cloud technology, further extends Universal Print.

The connection creates a holistic cloud solution that combines powerful features with straightforward administration. Enabling uniFLOW online adds:

  • Secure printing: Print jobs submitted using the uniFLOW SmartClient or Direct Secure Print stay within the local company network. All print jobs stay in a user’s personal secure print queue until the user authenticates at a device and releases them.
  • With My Print Anywhere, print jobs follow users from device to device, allowing the release of print jobs on any printer within their location. Full accounting (print, copy, fax, scan), prices, cost centers, and reporting
  • Support for other client operating systems such as Mac and ChromeOS
  • Mobile Printing and Mobile Printing for guests

Likewise, Papercut Print Management software can add the following capabilities.

  • Set up rules to print in B&W or duplex, and use watermarking/digital signatures to improve document handling.
  • Run reports for actionable insights, and charge by user or group to see exactly where your budget's going.
  • Cut waste and boost security by releasing jobs only once authorized, and allow pickup at any printer.
  • Enjoy embedded scanning for all major MFD brands with features like OCR and image correction – all with a few taps.

Are you considering the cloud as a valuable resource for your Print Management strategy? Have questions or need resources regarding Microsoft Universal Print?  From printers to the processes behind the print — we've got print covered and controlled. Click below to get the conversation started! 

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Topics: Cloud Print Management Microsoft Gold Partner Cloud Print