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Cloud-managed secure printing for the Microsoft modern workplace

By Greg McCallum


May 8, 2022

You’ve been using email hosted in the cloud for many years, and finally moved your files off that old server and into SharePoint or Dropbox. You’re on the journey to becoming a zero-infrastructure business, but what about that Windows print server, and the Active Directory policies managing the printer configuration and job queues for all your users? A new cloud service by Printix aims to not just solve this dilemma, but provide a secure print solution which is probably better and more cost effective than what you are doing right now.

Many businesses are moving to a cloud-first approach, utilising Microsoft 365 services such as Azure AD and Microsoft Intune to replace traditional on-premise Active Directory (AD) and Group Policy Management. In the traditional approach, group policy preferences are used to assign print queues to users or devices, and/or printers are published in AD for the users to find. Unfortunately cloud-based print management simply does not feature in Microsoft cloud services – Intune has a device restriction policy which can be used to configure a list of printer network host names, but this requires setting up DNS names for each printer and does not manage configuration or drivers, let alone print queues for job management. And Microsoft’s recent Hybrid Cloud Print option brings some much-needed functionality for some enterprise scenarios but relies on a Windows Server 2016 server on-premise, effectively just integrating Azure AD and Intune with a traditional on-premise print server setup. You could host a Windows print server in an Azure virtual machine but this just introduces ongoing costs and poor performance as jobs must route up into Azure and back down to the printer.

Printix eliminates the need for print servers and moves the management of print infrastructure to the cloud. This Copenhagen-based software company has only been around for 5 years but in that short time has built a Microsoft Azure Certified printing solution which was recently awarded the blue-ribbon seal as a Microsoft Preferred Solution. Their Printix “print management-as-a-service” platform combines a modern cloud administration portal with a lightweight Printix client to automate the delivery and management of office, remote and BYOD printing for every user.

The Printix service is able to discover and import existing printer configuration and drivers, using this information to create your print queues (or queues can be created manually if desired). Then these cloud-managed print queues can be assigned to users, handling driver installation and updating, and used to control the direct printing between the devices and on-premise printers (print jobs don’t need to unnecessarily go through the Internet). You can automatically deploy the Printix Client with Microsoft Intune and use Azure AD groups to deploy and control access to printers based on users’ group membership. Using Single Sign-On (SSO) with Office 365, each user gains fast, automatic access to printers, ready-configured via the Printix cloud administration. Printix boasts enterprise-grade features such as secure document release and actionable reporting and insights, providing a far better solution than your traditional Windows Print Server.

From the users’ perspective, the printing process is intuitive and fast, with USB and network-attached printers managed in the same way. Printix is integrated with Microsoft Azure AD to manage user access and supports Azure AD conditional access, providing automatic sign in to Printix Clients on any Azure AD domain-joined Windows 10 computers. Optionally, the Printix mobile app (iOS/Android) can be used to control release of documents, so you can print your confidential document on any Printix-managed printer at a later time, or even require a QR code to be scanned to enforce secure printing.

All things considered we see the Printix solution becoming an essential part of any Microsoft modern workplace solution, especially for businesses looking to reduce infrastructure costs and improve document management security.Greg McCallum, Chief Technology Officer, Virtuoso

Pricing is very fair compared to traditional secure print solutions (less than £2 per user per month) and based on the active users per month – you don’t need to pay anything for those users who don’t need to print. Free trials are available and can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Contact us today to find out more.