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Microsoft’s cloud based print solution, and the benefits for Toshiba clients

Businesses, schools, Governments - organisations of all shapes and sizes are used to working in the cloud. It’s second nature to them to use apps running in the cloud, use hardware platforms provisioned via the cloud, and store their documents and data in the cloud.

So of course the next logical step is a cloud based print solution. That’s what Microsoft offers with Universal Print (UP), which became Generally Available in February 2021.

With UP, Microsoft 365 users in any organisation can now benefit from the ease of use, security and savings that come from replacing on-premise print servers with a cloud based print solution.

Why cloud based printing?

A cloud based print solution makes life easier for the IT department and for end-users alike. Traditional on-premise server hardware has to be managed, maintained and serviced. The IT department has to keep driver software up to date, possibly across multiple locations, and has to intervene to add new printers. Print servers can generate significant work for IT support staff.

For users, there’s the time they have to spend finding and connecting to the right printer, time that they could be spending on higher value tasks. In some organisations, users may send documents to print but fail to collect them, increasing security risks, and generating unnecessary paper wastage. And of course, as mobility and working from home increase, users are demanding the ability to print from anywhere, not just the office.

Universal Print

Microsoft’s Universal Print (UP),offers a sleek, seamless and simple cloud based print solution for all Microsoft 365 users. It is designed to help customers eliminate local print servers and transition the installation and management of printers and drivers to the cloud. UP runs on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service, and can be accessed by any user on a Windows Client via the Azure Active Directory.

An organisation’s printers are registered with UP and are then readily visible to all users. Users can be shown just the printers they are authorised to use, and there’s no lengthy searching for a printer or trying to download the right drivers. The print job is sent from their Windows Client to UP in the cloud, and then to the printer.

Users can print from anywhere - no matter where they are working or studying, as long as they are connected to the internet, they’re connected to their print service.

With UP, organisations can require users to ‘release’ their print job when they are physically at the printer, keeping documents secure and limiting waste.

Universal Print includes the ability to manage all aspects of printing - including policy enforcement, tracking and allocation of print costs and security management.

How do Toshiba printer users implement Universal Print?

Toshiba’s vision, Together Information, articulates our goal of helping organisations to collaborate and share information effectively. This vision is fully aligned with the aims of Universal Print and we have worked closely with Microsoft to support UP throughout our multi-function printer (MFP) portfolio.

Later this year (2021), Toshiba will announce firmware upgrades for e-BRIDGE Next architecture MFPs to allow them to natively use Universal Print.

In the meantime, Microsoft has provided the Universal Print Connector, and all Toshiba printers are compatible with this. The connector application either runs on an on-premise Windows Server or on an Azure Virtual Machine with access to existing printers.

Toshiba customers can implement Universal Print now using UPC, and then use the firmware update to migrate to native connection when it is available.

Toshiba’s MFPs are enhanced by solutions from our 3rd party print management software partners, such as PaperCut and Pharos. They too have developed integrations with Microsoft Universal Print, so Toshiba customers can migrate seamlessly to Universal Print.

Benefits of a cloud based printing solution

  • IT team efficiency - Microsoft’s Universal Print means that Microsoft 365 users can eliminate the need for on-premise print servers, saving IT staff time. There’s no need to install and maintain drivers or separately manage firewalls and print server security settings. All connected printers can be managed in one place using the Azure portal
  • Cost savings - with less on-premise hardware, increased IT team efficiency and less paper waste, organisations can make significant cost savings.
  • Security - with print jobs only released when the user is at the printer, the risk of information falling into the wrong hands is reduced
  • User efficiency - users aren’t spending time finding printers, or downloading drivers, and are free to work on higher value activities.
  • Print from anywhere - Users can print as easily as connecting to the internet, giving them higher level of service and support when working remotely. Organisations can provide the support that their staff need for today’s working environment.

With Universal Print, an organisation can migrate to a cloud based printing solution without losing the investment they have made in current printer technology. Toshiba is here to support you in moving your Toshiba MFPs into the new, efficient, flexible world of cloud based printing.

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