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On-Premises or Cloud: Is That the Real Question?

Product Marketing Manager (Go-to-Market lead)
Christmas is here and with a new year lurking in the corner, businesses are offered another opportunity to rethink their office functionality and progressiveness. One of the main focuses is on IT, with 88% of business leaders planning to sustain or increase IT investments. One question that keeps coming up is: “on-premises or cloud–what do I choose?”.
There are multiple hosting options for print management. Businesses can keep their print on the premises, leverage a hosted cloud, migrate to a true cloud, or choose a combination of both, I.e., go hybrid, to achieve better agile outcomes in the future.
Print management tech solutions each come with a host of benefits, but how do you choose between on-premises or cloud hosting? And is the question really that simple? Can you pick freely or does digital maturity come to play (hint: yes, of course it does!). Read on to find out more about the different hosting methods and how to pick the right print management solution to meet your business requirements.

Let’s Talk Print Management

Streamlining your everyday print and scan needs, a print management solution is an obvious answer to solving many IT problems. It comes with a host of benefits, including reducing costs, increasing efficiency, supporting sustainability, taking control, enhancing visibility, centralizing systems, freeing up IT teams, and much more. Safe to say, investing in a print management solution is an investment in value.
Managed print software is typically available as hosted on-premises, hosted in the cloud, or via a hybrid solution, so you have control of how your print services are provided.

Print Management: On-Premises or in the Cloud?

Let’s first talk about the difference between the two hosting options. The quick answer is where your print resides. On-premises is considered the traditional way of hosting your print environment and the solution is installed locally, while cloud print management is hosted, you guessed it, in the cloud.
Choosing a solution takes understanding the value of each hosting alternative. Every company is different and has different needs relevant to choosing an ideal print management solution. Deciding which option is right for your business involves weighing up things like infrastructure, costs, staff, accessibility, compliance, security and scalability.
Let’s review how each side of the spectrum (on-prem on one side, cloud on the other) and how they address the factors mentioned above:

Exploring the On-Premises Infrastructure

With this infrastructure, all print management hardware and software are directly managed and owned by you. While this gives you full control over your print environment, there are some challenges to account for. Full control means if something goes wrong, you have the ownership of solving it and will lose access to your systems until they’re repaired.
Having your own servers means that space is limited. At the same time, since everything is physically in one place and on your own local server, your data is likely to be secure and regulation compliant–this comes down to your existing implemented security measures. With on-premises print servers, since data doesn’t have far to travel, using a local server may reduce latency as well as save on bandwidth usage.

1. Controlling On-Prem Infrastructure

Using on-premises infrastructure allows you complete control. You oversee everything from support, upgrades, repairs, patches, customization, and more. You alone can tweak its functionality to meet your needs and control who has access to what. You have the power and the responsibility that comes with it. 

2. Costs Associated with On-Premises Solutions

On-premises managed print services involve upfront investment as well as recurring maintenance, upgrade, and licensing costs. You may experience lower monthly internet costs and an on-premise solution can operate without the internet. You have to factor in the cost of additional skilled IT support to maintain, deploy, and update your print servers.

3. Level of Security in a Local Solution

Using an on-premises server means you have full control of security and server access. Helping to support strict security requirements and regulations, this option offers full-scale security, controlled by you. This does mean that if something happens to your server, you risk losing data permanently and you are solely responsible for ensuring patches and security are all up to date.

4. ... What About Scalability?

Since all updates and protocols are self-managed, it is easy to do this on demand. When it comes to scaling the solution, it can be tricky for on-premises solutions to be adapted. Scaling your print infrastructure up or down is limited and not quick or easy to do.
In summary, this option is best for businesses that regularly print large documents and require close control, specific security, and abide by strict regulatory compliance. But that’s not necessarily always the case, more on that at the end of the post.

Exploring the Cloud-Based Infrastructure

Organizations across the globe are rapidly moving various parts of their infrastructure to the cloud, and this has accelerated as a means to support remote and hybrid working. Cloud print management enables you to print from any internet-connected device to any network, wherever you are.
This unique type of environment abolishes the need for locally managed infrastructure, including print servers. It streamlines workflows while addressing the challenges faced with on-premises infrastructure. Most importantly, cloud-based print management infrastructures allow businesses to accelerate their digital transformation — their way, with flexibility and productivity at its core.
Cloud-based print solutions are alive with benefits, all available as long as you are connected to the internet. You’ve probably heard about cloud solutions many times before, but why make the move? And given that you likely don’t want to give your print infrastructure more attention than it’s already demanding, why should you? Let’s dig deeper:

1. Controlling your Cloud Infrastructure

While you still have full visibility; it comes with less responsibility. Your server will be managed by a third party, reducing workload significantly. With enhanced accessibility, you can access your data anywhere, at any time. You also gain efficient data recovery with an off-site backup solution. In terms of availability, cloud services are available all day, any day, from anywhere.

2. Costs Associated with Cloud Solutions

Cloud print management doesn’t require on-site infrastructure which saves you money, creates energy savings, and lowers your carbon footprint. As for the cost of the cloud infrastructure, typically you can expect to pay a monthly subscription fee for your cloud print management solution instead of a sizable upfront cost.
The costs associated with a cloud solution depend on what solution you go with, I.e., a hosted cloud, a native cloud, or a hybrid solution with a mix of both cloud and on-premises infrastructure components. Regardless, a cloud-first infrastructure will cost you less as you don’t have to handle the print servers, maintenance, or staff time. Also, beware that the costs adjust as you scale your solution up or down.

3. Level of Security in a Cloud-Based Solution

Unlike the on-premises option, cloud print management is controlled by your provider, meaning you are freed from any direct control over security protocols. Then again, you keep the power to decide what provider to go with, and cloud security should be part of that decision.
Here are some security features to consider with a cloud solution:
  • Cyber security hygiene
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Access control & data permissions
  • Authentication & user protection
  • Data confidentiality & integrity
  • Compliance & governance
  • Incident management & penetration testing

4. What About Cloud Scalability?

With competitive flexibility, cloud-managed print gives you the flexibility to scale your infrastructure up or down as needed. Cloud-based storage is scalable and doesn't require hardware changes to scale up or down. Not only are you able to get more storage space, servers, and licenses at the touch of a button, but you also have the option of only paying for what you use (subscription).
Depending on your business size and budget, cloud hosting can be either reserved or shared (or a combination of both). Cloud print management is perfect for businesses of every size, you just need to make sure your solution is tailored to your business needs.

The Moment of Truth: On-Premises or Cloud?

Whichever way you choose to host your print management solution, each option comes with a set of meaningful benefits to meet your business needs. Choosing the right MPS solution for you is all about reviewing your requirements relating to growth, security, control and scalability. As mentioned earlier, it also comes down to a company’s digital maturity. 
Specifically in our industry, digital maturity comes in four stages:
  1. Incidental: Executing only a few activities that support digital transformation 
  2. Intentional: Tactical digital transformation activities in progress 
  3. Integrated: Digital transformation initiatives executed with high strategic intent 
  4. Optimized: Proactively driving digital transformation 
One thing we’d like to challenge you on is to not think of it as merely on-premises, cloud or hybrid. In our experience, the real question is what solution best represents the future of your office. What are you hoping to achieve with your print management solution?
Are you looking to leverage a multivendor infrastructure solution for enhanced print management, document capture and managing complex workflows, then an on-premises enhanced print management solution like YSoft SafeQ is your answer.
If you’re interested in streamlining your print infrastructure, eliminating the need for costly print servers, and moving forward in your digital transformation journey, then Cloud is the way to go.
‘Tis the season to make print management your next big priority for digital transformation. And don’t forget, Y Soft print management solutions can help you enhance, simplify or modernize your print experience. They can also be adopted across a single business or multiple locations and can be applied locally or globally to meet the varying demands within a department, office or home office, all to lessen the burden on IT teams.
And to the IT teams, may your presents be many, and your burdens be few. Merry Christmas from all of us at Y Soft.
Delphine Clavel
Delphine is our go-to-market team lead. She holds the role of Product Marketing Manager, a position she has upheld before and since the acquisition of EveryonePrint in 2022. Delphine leverages her extensive experience as a product and project development executive for innovative products to lead her team. She has a master’s degree in Marketing from IAE France - Aix-en-Provence. Even more, she’s an active individual, based in France, who loves food, quality time with family, and traveling the world.
View all posts by Delphine Clavel

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