For businesses considering managed print services (MPS) there’s no one size fits all.  When you weigh up the pros and cons, a range of factors come into play – cost, maintenance and security to name but a few. It can pay to review all the options available to decide on the best print environment for your business.

So, what should you consider when choosing between a cloud MPS or on-premise print environment for your business?

Balancing the cost

A cloud-based MPS can make it simpler to manage printing costs. Your hardware and consumable costs are more predictable, so it’s easier for a business to drive operational efficiencies.

A cloud service can result in considerable cost savings, as according to the Gartner Group, firms that actively manage their printer fleets can save up to 30% of their printing costs.

With on-premise solutions there tend to be annual licence fees. These fees may vary if you add new users or equipment to your system, but the fee is an upfront cost, and you then own that licence.

Hosted vs owned

A key decision for companies designing their print environment is whether to opt for a hosted solution, or to invest in their own kit. The advantage of a solution hosted in the cloud is that you don’t need to purchase and manage a server. The software is hosted by the cloud provider, which will be compatible with the devices you use.

Adopting a hosted approach can provide the flexibility to reduce capital expenditure and improve company cashflow.

However, some businesses prefer to invest in their own equipment, and to own the hardware that runs the system so that they retain a greater element of control. This could include applications, servers and networking infrastructure. While older hardware can be used initially, it’s important to consider the long-term needs of your organisation when specifying new hardware purchases.

A question of security

For some organisations, concerns about security are a barrier to considering a cloud solution, and they prefer to manage their own data security, access permissions and back-up processes.

But many cloud-based MPS provide enterprise-level security using encryption techniques and user passwords to protect your printed materials from unauthorised access. And having just one cloud provider for your MPS reduces the number of external users or organisations with access to your networked devices.

Keeping up and running

Printing is a business-critical activity, and most organisations can’t afford to have their printers or multi-function devices out of action for long. A major advantage of MPS in the cloud is that all your maintenance and support is included in the subscription cost, as well as patches and upgrades. And depending on your contract, it can cover unlimited printers and users.

On-premise models often give you the option to take out an annual maintenance contract, linked to the initial licence fee. However, these contracts are negotiable, and pricing can change when the contract expires, so you’ll need to read the small print.

Maximising productivity

Whether your business is a multi-site, multi-user operation, or a start-up with a single device, productivity is critical to success. A cloud MPS manages your devices by providing a view of print usage across the organisation, as well as live information on your machine uptime, consumables and servicing needs – supporting a smarter, and greener, way of working.

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that a cloud solution can reduce the amount of time your IT team are spending on printer management, freeing them up to focus on driving the business forward.

ASL can help businesses choose the right solution for their needs. Click here to see how ASL helped Fortis Living with its print management.