Follow Me, Follow You, Personal Printing, or Secure Pull Print?
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
by Linda van der Westen
Submitting print jobs to shared networked printers raises a number of concerns. As always, there is the issue of cost, but in addition there is a data security issue and a waste or environmental issue. Secure pull printing solutions (also referred to as Follow Me, Follow You, or Personal Printing) not only address these concerns, they also offer a number of additional benefits. From the end user perspective, it couldn’t be easier – simply print to a generic print queue where the print job is held until the user authenticates at some network print device. It’s an instant solution to these three issues with improved functionality to boot.
To start with the concerns: in a secure pull printing environment, there is no longer the issue of documents sitting in printer trays. Instead, documents are physically collected by end users the moment the pages arrive in the output tray. As a result, the data in these printed documents will never be exposed to unauthorized users. Furthermore, pull printing resolves the problem of uncollected print jobs ending up in the waste bin. This improves both security and the bottom line.
The additional benefits are that IT spends less administrator time on creating print queues. With pull print enabled, they can set up one print queue for monochrome and duplex print, another for color and simplex documents, and whatever other combinations are required. All in a fraction of the time they would need if they had to set up (multiple) print queues per individual device.
Pull printing makes life easier for the end users as well. They can simply find a queue that matches their printing need and submit the job to that queue. No more searching for a network printer that might be physically nearby but hard to find due to confusing printer naming conventions. Users can also opt to pick up multiple documents all at once – on the way back from a coffee break, for example – instead of needing to run over to a printer each time they click “Print.” Another benefit to pull printing is that jobs don’t get lost in stacks of unretrieved printouts or get forgotten on a hallway table somewhere. Finally, there is the convenience of simply retrieving documents from a different printer if the originally intended one is busy or out of order. Life’s too short to wait on a printer jam.
These are some of the many benefits of a pull printing solution. Is it any wonder why pull printing is a core offering of most Managed Print Services programs? There are many pull printing solutions with a variety of names, with most describing what this functionality represents in one way or another. We’ve noticed (especially in tenders) that pull printing is often referred to as a Follow Me print solution. The idea behind this name is that print jobs follow the user wherever they may go, which can be any office location around the world. There is logic to this naming convention. The same applies to Follow You which essentially means the same thing (it is just trademarked by a different company). Earlier on, there was a mention of a personal print queue; so-called personal printing is another name for pull print. But in the end, the essence of all these solutions is the effort to secure the MFPs. Lock them down and only make them accessible after users identify themselves via badge, password, pin or even phone.
That is why at LRS we chose to name our pull printing solution: MFPsecure. Yes, we admit, adding another name to the mix of Follow Me’s, Follow You’s and the Personal Print offerings can seem redundant. But this different name makes us stand out and highlights the fact that we are different in other ways as well. We have a pull printing solution that is vendor-agnostic and can support any print environment. This even includes situations where end users submit print jobs from business-critical backend applications instead of simple word processing, spreadsheet, and other desktop programs.
Think about the many concerns that pull printing solutions solve and the benefits they offer. With end users being free to choose any device, it might primarily be a convenience factor within a ‘normal’ Windows printing environment with an added cost benefit. But consider the impact when printing business critical documents or patient related data or prescriptions in healthcare. Those print jobs simply must be produced and if they are not coming out in the right way or are printing in duplicate, it can result in high costs. Not the kind we referred to earlier for paper waste, but the cost tied to printing delays. In the realm of healthcare data, patient care is at risk. Likewise, manufacturing companies that cannot reliably print may face violation of their SLAs.
So, what’s in a name? Follow Me, Follow You, Personal Printing, Pull Print, Secure Print. We see and hear them all. They all refer to pull printing solutions. They lock down MFPs and store print jobs securely until a user authenticates at a device. When any of these terms is used, it is mostly in relation to Windows printing. MFPsecure software from LRS is more than ‘just’ a pull printing solution for regular office printing. We are the one solution provider that offers pull printing for output generated in Windows as well as backend applications. This makes our pull printing solution MFPsecure suitable for any type of print environment. Whatever you end up calling it, the LRS pull printing solution does what it needs to do: deliver documents in a secure and reliable manner… regardless of where the document originated from. So what’s in a name?