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Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.
Microsoft Print Spooler Vulnerability

If it is Broke, You Must Fix It

They say that with old(er) age comes wisdom. But let’s be honest; wisdom isn’t the only thing that comes with increasing years. Some things we never considered to be problems lead to challenges over time. Being middle aged by certain definitions (though certainly not my own), I found myself in need of a rather painful procedure which would put an end to a continuous pain I was having. Weighing the potential discomfort of the procedure against the consistent pain to which I had resigned myself, I wondered: did I really have to go through with the procedure?

The only logical answer was ‘yes’. Something was amiss and needed to be fixed. A few days after the procedure, it felt like a burden had been lifted. Clearly, the treatment had been necessary, but I sure dreaded it in the run-up to the actual appointment.

As you’ve surely guessed, I’m only sharing this because of its relevance to an IT related topic; namely, the recurring need to face problematic technical or business situations and address them head-on. In a previous Blog article, one of my colleagues used the quintessentially American expression ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ But clearly the opposite is also true. It is often better to tackle certain minor issues before they deteriorate into serious major problems. If it is broke, then fix it you must.

Like my recent health concern, something in your IT environment is quite often malfunctioning or even broken and you really must fix it… even though you know it won’t be pleasant. A number of LRS customers we have helped have discussed the pain of removing bottlenecks from their IT environment though they did not feel particularly excited about it. It’s human nature to avoid intentionally taking on pain unless the benefits are substantial and apparent. But when ignoring the matter is no longer an option, then addressing the problem head-on is the only way forward.

Picture this: a company’s IT infrastructure was heavily reliant on Windows print servers, both for regular desktop printing as well as for back-end application printing. This financial institution was facing a real Pain (with a capital P). To make matters worse, they had a print management solution that also required a large number of servers. Finally, the servers were no longer supported so they needed an upgrade. Upgrading these servers – a painful process in the best of circumstances – would require them to also get new licenses for their existing print management solution. Quite the investment to make, especially when faced with a situation that was clearly broken.

The financial institution was faced with the following choices:

A: Upgrade the Windows servers and buy new licenses for the existing print management solution.

B: Upgrade the Windows servers and choose a different print management solution.

C: Eliminate the need for the Windows servers by consolidating their print management using LRS Output Management software.

When addressing IT problems, up-front cost is often the dominant factor in the decision-making process. The desire to leverage previous technology investments comes in a close second. But initial price should never be the only deciding factor. Performance is an important factor. It can be difficult to justify solutions that make prior investments redundant. Unfortunately, the benefits of improved performance only become clear during a PoC while price issues become apparent much earlier in the process. As a result, there is a natural tendency to preserve the status quo.

In the case of this particular bank, the desire to simplify the IT infrastructure helped the promise of increased performance triumph over initial price during the decision-making process. The continuous pain of managing and maintaining a large number of print servers tipped the scales in favor of the third scenario (replace existing Windows servers with LRS software). This was true even though it meant writing off the prior investment in all but five of their existing servers and their third-party software, both of which were replaced by the new LRS solution.

Of course, the implementation process did not take place overnight. However, the bank found the benefits of a scalable, single platform for all printing to be compelling, as was the ability to remove 160 print servers. The nearly two million dollars in annual savings probably helped overcome some of the pain of the transformation. And in the end, they avoided nearly one million dollars in additional cost by not having to obtain new licenses for the previous print management solution.

Choosing LRS turned out to be the best choice both in terms of performance and cost. The investment in LRS software offered rapid payback, with the added benefit of making their infrastructure much easier to manage. You might say that LRS took the pain out of their print environment. By the way, this is not only the case at this one particular bank. We have saved money at many more financial institutions and other large multinationals. So if you wish to evaluate your print environment and consider options beyond your current IT set up, come talk to us. You won’t be disappointed!

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