Many organizations still rely on Windows Print Servers, a fact that became apparent last summer. While there are cases where an environment based around these servers is considered a reasonable way to print, this is not a good idea when critical business processes are involved. The reliance on print servers often causes business disruptions when these fragile infrastructure components become unavailable. That being said, some organizations still make use of Windows servers to print essential business documents. While occasional outages can be handled with minimal business impact, when these outages are more frequent (as we often hear from customers), the costs quickly add up.
Microsoft’s July 2021 announcement about a serious print server vulnerability (also named “PrintNightmare”) had many corporations worried about the security of their systems. Surely it did not help that soon after the PrintNightmare announcement, there was a report on the biggest ransomware attack ever to take place. No IT department wants to imagine such vulnerabilities in their own environment.
With these developments, Windows Print Servers have become another way for hackers to access data and possibly execute malware. The solution initially presented by Microsoft was to disable the print spooler service. Naturally, this resulted in local and remote printing disturbances, but it was the only way to protect affected organizations against the threat that existed with this vulnerability. However, not being able to print could be equally disruptive. This brings us back to the main point: organizations that rely on print servers for their business-critical print jobs face large costs as well as risks to their corporate intelligence. The good news is that both the unnecessary cost and risk can be avoided.
For a long time, we have been promoting the elimination of Windows Print Servers. LRS software can be deployed to replace the spool function of those servers while bringing a lot of benefits and cost savings along for the ride. With the discovery of the PrintNightmare flaw, we can add vulnerability to the already extensive list of reasons to remove print servers from your environment. Perhaps these security threats will be the most compelling reason to reconsider server-based print infrastructures. Those organizations that choose to deploy LRS software - instead of Windows Print Servers – reduce their risk of exposure and/or attacks.
Side Benefit: less time-consuming maintenance
Beyond the imminent threat that organizations face today, there is the administrative overhead of applying the update supplied by Microsoft, and the more servers in the environment, the greater the burden. This underscores one of the major pain points LRS software solutions are designed to address. Print server management is a time-consuming task. In fact, not having to document and repeat the steps to update each server is one of the benefits our customers commonly report.
In the case of updating servers to address PrintNightmare, IT administrators must act quickly. But even routine print server maintenance is a task that most IT departments are happy to let go. In fact, updating print servers was ranked third in our series of IT challenges reported by LRS customers. So if your organization is still reliant on Windows Print Servers and if you are now entertaining the thought of simplifying your environment, make LRS your first call. We can and would very much like to provide you with an alternative that prevents recurring print server nightmares from keeping you awake at night.
If you wish to learn more about consolidating Windows Print Servers with LRS Output Management, please visit this page: (/info/eliminate-print-servers/).