Choose the Right Cloud Solutions to Keep Your Company Competitive

The current economic climate is rife with major challenges. For starters, the cost of running a business is increasing due to inflation. Global supply chain issues are making it difficult to get product for most industries, greatly impacting revenues. The cost to ship the product that is available has multiplied and this, in turn, affects profits.  While some of these issues are beyond anyone’s control, there remain plenty of critical business decisions that are — and now’s the time to evaluate them and position your company for greater success.

One of the supply-chain issues that’s affecting computer hardware is the shortage of microchips. This, along with the fact that the COVID pandemic has created a hybrid workforce, has forced software solutions to move to the cloud and accelerated the adoption rate of cloud solutions by most businesses.  Some cloud-based print solutions simply offer basic cloud printing from mobile devices; these often come with limited functionality. Others allow users to select finishing or paper-handling options, as well as letting workers scan via the cloud. Businesses that want to migrate to the cloud will want a solution that meets their security requirements to meet the demands of today’s hybrid work challenges.

Data Safety First

Most small-to-medium size businesses do not have the technical know-how or financial resources to keep their data safe, secure, and properly backed up without the help of a full-time IT security specialist. New cyberthreats seem to come out every week. Effectively managing firewalls, Windows Server updates, security patches, antivirus, anti-malware plus patching all third-party software on their servers is a tremendous amount of work and comes with risks. Security is of the utmost importance for hosting platform providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and other private-cloud providers. Most of these providers offer multi-factor authentication and require complex passwords to help ensure security.  Therefore, moving software solutions to the cloud will improve document and data security.

Due to regulations such as HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley and GDPR, businesses are required to protect sensitive information. Some of the most ideal data safety solutions require user authentication at the device so that printed documents are released only by the person who printed them.  Consider solutions that also have an added layer where even a customer’s administrator is unable to see any documents or data about what documents have been printed.

Don’t Risk It

Perhaps you’re not fully sold yet on the idea of moving to the cloud and you haven’t experienced any catastrophic issues with your on-site server. What’s the worst thing that could happen? How about losing all of your data. Yes, it can and does happen — more often than you might think. When it comes to on-site print servers specifically, businesses could experience problems with server hardware or operating system issues, viruses, or ransomware. Each of these could prevent all users from printing anything. That would indeed create a massive disaster, deeply affecting a company’s productivity and finances. With the redundant, multi-site co-location offered by cloud service providers, there is a much higher rate of system uptime, keeping businesses running.

Improving the Bottom Line

Financial savings centered around print management can be derived from several sources. An on-site Windows print server has significant costs for the hardware, operating system licenses, and for IT maintenance and support. Let’s consider that the price of a print server with the Microsoft server operating system and client access licenses starts around $5,000. Add in several hours of an IT engineer’s time to set up and maintain the server, users etc., and over the years, the return on investment (ROI) is significant. Companies that move their printing to the cloud can finally get rid of their on-site print servers and associated costs, which can result in substantial savings. Consider a solution that is based on a per-device model, and where there is no limit on the number of users per company. When this type of licensing model is implemented, it becomes one of the key factors that leads to a faster ROI.

In order to find ways to reduce expenses associated with printing, it is important to first understand the source of excessive costs. Most cloud printing solutions have the ability to run print volume reports by user or department, which can help companies understand where their highest print volumes are coming from. For example, is it the legal, IT or marketing department? These customized reports give companies the ability to make data-informed decisions by allowing them to identify processes that could be reengineered or automated with workflow or ECM (enterprise content management) solutions.

Just One Day

When it comes to replacing an on-site server, there are numerous and time-consuming steps — it needs to be ordered, received and built, and then have the operating system and all the software installed. This entire process can take weeks. However, most cloud-hosted solutions can be spun up in just a few hours. With the right solutions architecture, it only takes a few minutes to set up a new end customer in the system and should result in seamless integration with existing cloud storage platforms such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, or other third-party solutions. This allows users to print from or scan directly to where their documents are already stored. Why wouldn’t a company welcome such a productive process?

Security and Savings for the Win

One of the main ways to stay competitive in today’s business world is to invest in software tools that offer high levels of security and a faster ROI. Ideally, you want to choose a solution with multiple features, starting with one that’s hosted in an established, safe platform such as Amazon’s AWS cloud. In terms of functionality, you want users to be able to print from anywhere at any time, to scan to a favorite third-party cloud storage platform, and also to have the ability to print documents that will be securely released at the printer only after user authentication. Finally, you want to empower customer administrators with the ability to run reports for the highest print users to help make decisions to reduce print costs.

John Kinses started in the document solutions industry in 2002 and has been with Kyocera for 14 years. Prior to becoming Director of Product Marketing, Software and Services, John worked as a Pre-Sales Engineer for software and Practice Director for Kyocera’s Information and Communication Technologies division. He has extensive knowledge in print management, Enterprise Content Management workflow solutions, managed IT services, Unified Communications platforms, and cloud migrations.