Organisations looking to modernise their print technology will enjoy Microsoft Universal Print, a cloud-based print solution. The solution allows your printers to work without on-premises servers, drivers, hubs, cables, and other infrastructure. If you decide to fully adopt Universal Print, you can eliminate your on-premises print infrastructure and benefit from significant cost savings.

Essentially, Microsoft Universal Print allows employees to print from any device on your organisation’s network, as long as you have a Universal Print-compatible device. Many brands are currently incorporating compatibility into their new devices, including our printing partner Konica Minolta.

Microsoft has also released a Universal Print Connector that enables you to connect to older, incompatible printers. Universal Print runs completely on Microsoft Azure with a centralised Azure portal.

Microsoft Universal Print became generally available in March this year, after a preview in 2020. With Windows 11 already announced, Microsoft has implemented various minor updates and bug fixes for Universal Print over the past few months, meaning it’s more user-friendly and effective than ever. Here are a few ways that Microsoft Universal Print is superior to legacy printing infrastructure.

Simplified User Experience

Microsoft Universal Print has been designed to be as easy as possible for your staff to use. In most cases, you can simply bring up the Print function on any web application, and your connected printers will show up.

That’s a significant upgrade on legacy printers, where you need to connect to and install each driver onto your computer before you can print to it. Microsoft Universal Print, conversely, is powered by a cloud-based server, so you’ll be able to print onto any connected printer in your organisation after only installing one universal connector.

Universal Print’s intuitive user experience lets you search for the nearest printer based on desired location, and Microsoft has built in a GPS-based location search for maximum user-friendliness.

You’ll even be able to print across multiple locations. If you’re working from home, you can still print to a connected work printer. That means the modern remote work team with members in geographically dispersed areas can significantly speed up collaboration and communication.

Improved Security

Microsoft Universal Print has been designed with an emphasis on security. Many organisations were initially reluctant to take up printing servers on the cloud because they feared their sensitive, confidential data would be exposed.

Microsoft has responded by baking in multiple security initiatives into Universal Print. All the data sent to the printing server will be protected by AES-256 encryption by default and stored in the same way as your Office, Outlook, Teams and OneDrive data.

Plus, Universal Print uses Azure Active Directory, so there’s in-built role-based access control to ensure users only have limited access and privileges to exactly what they need.

The announcement of Windows 11 introduced some further security improvements to Universal Print. You’ve now got the ability to add a PIN to a printing task, so the job won’t be performed unless you (or someone else) enter the PIN directly onto the printer.

Cost Savings

Microsoft Universal Print improves operational efficiency by removing the need to maintain print infrastructure and by increasing ease of printing for your staff. Legacy printing solutions require print server procurement, device management, frequent updates, energy costs, as well as an IT team to manage your print resources.

The new PIN upgrade will also improve operational efficiency for your company — in addition to costs, it can create better environmental outcomes by reducing the chance of wasted print jobs. Verification through a PIN adds an extra step to make sure you’re printing exactly what you want.

By accelerating your journey to the cloud, Microsoft Universal Print comes with easy scalability as your organisation grows. Added to all that, there’s a chance you already have access to Universal Print at no extra cost. If your organisation uses any of these, you’ll have free access to Universal Print:

  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise F3, E3, E5, A3, A5
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3, E5, A3, A5
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Conclusion

With cloud technology becoming increasingly popular in recent years for its flexibility and scalability, it’s no surprise that many organisations want to take printing to the cloud as well. Universal Print is a meaningful step for organisations seeking to modernise their printing solutions, with a user-friendly, secure, cost-effective service offering.

If you want to check how your organisation can save money with Managed Print Services, or whether Microsoft Universal Print can help you, contact us today.