Staying S.A.F.E.: How to Evaluate Mobile Printing Solutions

Posted on September 08, 2015

Mobile printing continues to grow in importance as businesses increasingly rely on an employees' ability to work from anywhere, and customers expect your employees  to respond more quickly than ever before.  Over the past year, we've fielded an increasing number of questions from organizations trying to separate signal from noise in finding a mobile printing solution that works for them.

Our Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing, a free eBook, has been downloaded and used by more than 500 people -- but in order to try to simplify things even further, we recommend using a simple framework we call S.A.F.E.: Security, Accessibility, Flexibility and Experience.

S for Security

Any solution that makes it to an enterprise user has to conform to the security standards set by the IT department. While public companies considering a printing solution have to follow minimum standards defined by their industry, most medium- and large-sized companies have defined their own set of standards as well. Encryption is critical, since documents being sent in plain text can be easily compromised, and most organizations with Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions should also find a solution that integrates with their EMM platform.   Whatever your security requirements, make sure any printing solution you consider meets them.

A for Accessibility

Mobile printing requires interaction between two hardware components: a user's mobile device and a printer. A mobile device is only effective in helping a user be truly mobile if the user can print form anywhere. While this may seem obvious, solutions that rely solely on AirPrint are unable to perform this basic functionality, because they rely on WiFi connections that may not always be present.

Along the same lines is the ability to print to any printer, at any location. In effect, users should be able to print from anywhere (home, office, traveling), and to any printer that is generally accessible to them. Breezy not only satisfies these requirements but also gives users the ability to print to any our thousands of public printing locations, including FedEx Office / Kinko's stores, and many hotel locations for business professionals.  

F for Flexibility

Enterprise IT professionals  well understand the difficulty of introducing new products. Whatever solution you choose, make sure it can accommodate changing user needs in the future. For example, iOS or Android may dominate in your company today, but what happens if that changes?  Similarly, HP, Xerox or another vendor may comprise most of the printer fleet in the home office, but what happens when users travel to your other offices, or when you add a new vendor to your printer fleet?  We've spoken to customers who first considered investing millions of dollars to change their entire printing fleet to AirPrint-enabled printers, only to realize that they would be locked into specific printers and specific devices, reducing their ability to change with user preferences.  Make sure your printing solution allows you to grow and develop as technology evolves and your users' needs change.

E for user Experience

Finally, arguably the most important component: don't forget the user!   Any product can only produce benefits in proportion to user adoption -- and with mobile printing products, if the one you choose isn't easy for your users, they'll end up resorting to insecure workarounds.  We have spoken to customers who have told us that their printing department already had a mobile printing product that came included with their printer management licenses, but they haven't seen any usage because it was simply too hard for employees to use. A "solution" like that doesn't solve anything.

The three most important requirements that we hear from customers are the ability to print with a minimal number of taps, single sign-on so users don't have to remember more passwords, and document rendering that matches the font and format of the original document. While the first two are easy to evaluate, IT professionals should ensure that they try to print a variety of documents before deploying any product to users. An executive or salesperson will quickly get frustrated if their painstakingly formatted document looks different when it's printed.

We hope you find this framework helpful as you evaluate To make it easier, we have consolidated these categories in a PDF document so you can easily print it and check off the categories in your list.

Download the S.A.F.E. Checklist

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