E-Handbook: Remote print management and security for the hybrid workforce Article 1 of 4

Evolving cloud printing leaves a paper trail

We may have learned early in our lifetime from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the History Channel or Alex Trebek that the invention of the printing press is attributed to Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century, and its roots reach back to the 9th century when Buddhist monks set ink to paper using a technique known as block printing.

That was a time when clouds were seen only as puffy white things that occasionally obscured the sun, which, before Copernicus and his heliocentric system, revolved around a yet-to-be-circumnavigated Earth. Little did Gutenberg and those monks know that printers would one day commingle with clouds, as have so many of today's daily societal and business tasks.

Printers have since evolved, multiplied and accomplished some rather notable feats -- among them, faxing, scanning, printing at laser speeds, reproducing high-quality color and delivering solid 3D objects. As companies digitally transform and refine remote print management practices, the most logical, practical and cost-effective next step has been printing in the cloud -- accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and massive migration of workforces to remote environments.

Fortune Business Insights sees widespread cloud printing adoption by organizations across industries -- including government, banking, financial services, insurance, healthcare and retail -- due largely to operational cost savings, reduced connections, a boost in worker productivity and a rise in cloud-enabled digital workflow services. "Additionally," the market researcher reported, "the prominent providers of the market are also launching compact and affordable printers for personal usage at home."

This handbook examines remote print management and the changing role of printing and printers in business applications, especially in the wake of COVID-19. We explore the increasing reliance on remote and cloud-based printing for a hybrid workforce, printer management software to centralize an organization's fleet of printers, and how to troubleshoot problems that arise when printing remotely via a VPN.

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