Business Cloud Printing vs. Traditional Printing: Which Is Better?

Last Updated: 

June 19, 2024

The printing landscape is changing. For decades, businesses relied on traditional on-premise printers, tethered to desktops and spitting out documents with a whir and a clunk. But then came the cloud, revolutionising how we access information and, well, how we print it.

Now, you face a choice: cloud printing or traditional printing? This article breaks down the pros and cons of each to help you decide which is the better fit for your business's print cloud needs.

Key Takeaways on Cloud Printing and Traditional Printing

  1. Security: Traditional printing keeps sensitive documents within your local network, offering greater control and security.
  2. Mobility: Cloud printing allows printing from anywhere, anytime, providing unmatched convenience and flexibility.
  3. Cost Considerations: Traditional printing involves upfront costs for hardware and ongoing expenses for maintenance, while cloud printing typically operates on a per-use fee basis.
  4. Scalability: Cloud printing solutions are easily scalable to meet growing business needs, unlike traditional setups that can be cumbersome to expand.
  5. IT Management: Cloud printing services reduce the burden on IT teams by handling maintenance and updates, allowing them to focus on strategic tasks.
  6. Internet Reliance: Cloud printing relies on a stable internet connection; downtime can disrupt printing processes.
  7. Hybrid Approach: Combining traditional and cloud printing offers flexibility, catering to both security and mobility needs within your print environment.
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Traditional Printing: The Tried and True

Traditional printing, also known as on-premise printing, is the familiar setup. You have a physical printer connected directly to a computer or a network. Here's a rundown of what to expect:

  • Pros:some text
    • Security: When it comes to sensitive documents, traditional printing keeps them within your local network. This is ideal for businesses that handle highly confidential information.
    • Reliability: No internet connection? No problem. Traditional printing works even when the Wi-Fi goes down.
    • Control: You have complete control over your printers and printing jobs.
  • Cons:some text
    • Limited Accessibility: You can only print from devices that are physically connected to the printer or network. Forget about convenient printing on the go.
    • Cost: The upfront cost of buying and maintaining printers can be high. Toner and ink cartridges add to the ongoing expense of your print environment.
    • IT Management: Setting up, maintaining, and troubleshooting printers can be a time suck for your IT team.
    • Scalability: Adding or removing printers can be cumbersome, making it difficult to scale your printing needs as your business grows.

Cloud Printing: Printing Reimagined

Business cloud printing takes printing to the internet age. Here's how it works:

  • You upload your document to a secure cloud printing service.
  • You choose a printer from a network of authorised devices, no matter the location.
  • Your document is sent securely to the chosen printer, and voila, it pops out!
  • Pros:some text
    • Mobility: Print from anywhere, anytime – your laptop, phone, or even a guest computer at a client's office. Cloud printing functionality offers unmatched convenience.
    • Cost-Effectiveness: Cloud printing eliminates the upfront cost of buying printers. You typically pay a per-use fee with cloud print services, which can be cheaper for businesses with low-volume printing needs.
    • Scalability: Adding or removing users and printers is a breeze with cloud printing solutions. It scales effortlessly with your business.
    • Secure Cloud Printing: Cloud printing services offer robust security features like encryption and user authentication to keep your documents safe.
    • Management Made Easy: Cloud providers handle printer maintenance and updates, freeing up your IT team's time to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Cons:some text
    • Internet Reliance: Cloud printing depends on a strong internet connection. If the internet goes down, so does your printing process.
    • Security Concerns: While cloud providers offer security measures, some businesses might be apprehensive about storing documents on a third-party server, especially sensitive documents.
    • Vendor Lock-In: Switching cloud printing providers can be a hassle, so choosing the right cloud print solution from the start is crucial.

Making the Choice: Cloud vs. Traditional

So, which is better–cloud printing or traditional printing? The answer, like most things in business, is: it depends. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision regarding your print environment:

  • Security: If you handle highly sensitive documents, traditional printing might be the way to go. However, cloud printing services offer robust security features that can be sufficient for many businesses.
  • Printing Volume: For low-volume printing, cloud printing's per-use model can be cost-effective. High-volume printers might benefit from the cost savings of buying printers and toner in bulk.
  • Mobility: If your workforce is spread out or works remotely, cloud printing is a no-brainer for convenient printing.
  • IT Resources: Cloud printing frees up your IT team's time to manage other aspects of your print infrastructure.
  • Future Growth: Cloud printing scales easily, making it a good choice for businesses that expect to grow.

Beyond the Basics: Additional Considerations for Cloud Printing

If you're leaning toward cloud printing, here are some additional things to think about:

  • Features: Cloud printing services offer a variety of features, such as mobile printing, print job hold and release, and cost tracking. Compare cloud print service plans to find one that meets your specific needs for printing.
  • Security: Choose a cloud printing service with a strong track record of security. Look for features like encryption, two-factor authentication, and user permissions to ensure secure cloud printing of even sensitive documents.
  • Integration: Make sure the cloud printing service integrates seamlessly with your existing workflow and document management systems. This will streamline your printing process and eliminate the need for additional printing software.

The Hybrid Approach: The Best of Both Worlds?

For some businesses, the ideal solution might lie in a hybrid approach. You can maintain traditional printers for tasks requiring the highest level of security or for high-volume printing needs. At the same time, you can leverage a cloud printing service for on-the-go printing or for departments with lower printing volumes.

This approach gives you the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of cloud printing while maintaining the security and control of traditional printing for specific needs within your print environment.

Final Thoughts

Don't let printing slow you down! We explored traditional and cloud printing options. Now it's your turn. Consider your needs, prioritise security or mobility, and choose the path to printing freedom! Explore cloud printing services or upgrade your print infrastructure – the choice is yours!

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