by CJ Cannata

Quocirca’s Global Print 2025 report says 73% of organizations expect to transition to cloud print management by 2025. COVID-19 has fast-tracked this trend. In fact, Quocirca’s recent Print Security Landscape report tells us the pandemic has accelerated the move to cloud computing – the current 34% of organizations using the cloud for all their IT requirements is expected to rise to 43% by the end of 2021. Essentially, that 2025 forecast has been brought forward.

However, moving print management to the cloud has its challenges for some businesses and organizations. The reason? How to work around the print server.

Hosting the print server in the cloud is one solution, but it’s not THE solution. Can you imagine how much that would slow down the printing process for users? Sending print jobs up to the cloud and back again?

No, a new approach to managing print requests was required. One that bypassed the need for physical hardware (the print server), kept jobs locally so they were secure and fast, and didn’t degrade the user experience in any way.

All achieving that while using a workplace’s existing printers …

All of the Things to the rescue!

Turns out another space in IT has solved the riddle of mixing cloud functionality with hardware: IoT — the Internet of Things.

IoT is now a common feature of “smart home” technology and the like, connecting physical hardware together via data exchange over the internet (i.e controlling your lights, thermostats, even your home security from the convenience of your mobile device).

But isn’t IoT unreliable?

When IoT devices for smart homes first launched, some of their mission-critical based systems suffered from reliability and security drawbacks. But as IoT evolved, these were solved with two complementary approaches:

  • Edge computing (leveraging the computational power of multiple devices)
  • And a self-healing mesh (multiple devices coordinating together to increase reliability and redundancy)

These IoT approaches are unique as they don’t rely solely on the cloud – the cloud can act as a facilitator for configuration and administration without driving core functionality.

At PaperCut, we’ve smooshed those two concepts — edge computing and mesh — together to create the world’s first Edge Mesh for print management in the cloud. It’s the backbone of our new cloud-native solution.

How the Edge Mesh solves the cloud’s biggest challenge

Some of the current approaches to the cloud suffer from a single point of failure. This is the biggest question hovering over cloud print management: how do you keep printing if the internet is down?

The PaperCut Edge Mesh system removes this single point of failure without sacrificing reliability or security. Instead of a single print server, all the devices in your network are nodes that replicate and process print jobs.

Edge Mesh is cloud-native print management reimagined in the world of IoT. Ready for some bullet points to summarize the goodness? Edge Mesh is:

  • Powerful – no single point of failure
  • Autoscaling – your computational power grows with your user devices
  • Secure – “shift-left” design means security was baked in before writing a line of code
  • Self-healing – nodes replace other nodes if they’re unreachable for a moment
  • Autonomous – continues operating if the internet goes down
  • Off-network functionality – prints securely from outside your local network

Despite the acceleration of cloud services adoption, it’s not a “one size fits all” approach. Different workplaces and printing environments are best suited for cloud print management. Some will require private-hosted, others will be better suited for a public cloud SaaS model. For SMBs (around 10 devices) who are already using cloud services like G Suite and Office 365, Edge Mesh technology is the “thing” they’ve been searching for!

If you have customers who are ready to shift their print management into the cloud, contact sales@papercut.com.