Private Network Blues
Friday, October 09, 2020
by Ben Smith
So, you find yourself in a “popular” group… but not necessarily in a good way. You have become a private network puppet, a condition which always seems to end with a case of the “Private Network Blues.” From your remote work location, you need a secure link to the central IT facility that hosts the data you need each day to perform your critical tasks. And the primary reason for using this secured link is related to printing. So what do you do? The consensus view is that you need a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
The VPN industry is a $20B+ per year business and regardless of which brand of VPN you choose, your costs will likely fall within a predictable range. VPN providers usually have three to four different pricing plans or subscriptions, which break down as follows:
- 1-month: $7 to $13
- 3-month: $5 to $12/month
- 6-month: $4 to $11/month
- 1-year: $3 to $10/month
The average $10-per-month fee seems manageable, right? Perhaps, until you realize that this fee is for each workstation that requires a private tunnel back and forth to the host. Theoretically, a 50-user remote site might spend $6000 per year for this service.
While the advantages of a VPN usually outweigh the disadvantages, there are a few other issues to consider. Even the best VPN’s on the market can somewhat decrease Internet speed. Though not a common occurrence, if a VPN happens to go down, there is a risk of IP address leaks. Malware and Captchas are still minor concerns and VPN’s are restricted in some large countries (Russia, China, etc.). And of course, there is the matter of making the VPN client available to every remote user that requires it. With all that being said, cost is usually the reason for disenchantment with a VPN provider.
Now, imagine there was a way to securely perform your backend application print tasks from a remote site without the use of a VPN. What if you could be notified when your application print was queued and waiting for you to accept delivery of your documents?
Great news! There is a solution available today, which we call Affiliate Print.
Affiliate Print functionality enables users at remote sites to submit print requests via HTTPS-over-SSL connections. The print job is queued while a notification is sent back to the remote site utilizing a cloud based IOT Notification Hub managed by LRS. The print queue at the host site is configured as an Affiliate Printer that references the desired device at the remote site.
The print data is then sent, via the secure HTTPS-over-SSL Internet connection, to a small agent installed on a server at the remote site and then routed to the actual print device. Status of the print process is tracked via messages between the affiliate and remote sites until the print job is verified to be successful. This solution is secured via double-lock software keys at both the host and remote sites.
If this sounds like a viable alternative to your current use of VPN products, it might be time to engage Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc. to discuss your specific requirements. With over 40 years of document experience and rock-solid products to offer, there are few document challenges we have not — or cannot — overcome.