Have you been thinking about partnering with a Managed Print Services (MPS) provider? Businesses of all sizes are turning to Managed Print Services (MPS) to help them gain control over their print costs and streamline their print environments and processes. Finding the right MPS provider for your unique business needs is key to a lasting and beneficial relationship.
Measure of Success
A good MPS provider will conduct a full analysis of your print environment giving you insight into your current state. They will also provide easy-to-use and understand metrics for reporting costs, performance and improvements. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Past clients will be able to tell you a lot about how their partnership worked for them.
Growth and Change
Over time, your business will grow and change. Will your MPS provider change with you? Make sure you are working with a provider that will make it easy and affordable to add additional services over time. With the ever-changing pace of business, you’ll want your MPS provider to keep up. Mobile solutions, digital conversion, digital workflows, and other changes can help keep your business up to date with the help of your MPS provider. Your provider should also be on top of the latest security risks and protections to help safeguard your business.
When you make the decision to partner with an MPS provider, you want to see your investment pay off. By asking the right questions upfront, you can be sure you’re getting the services you want and need. When you find an MPS provider that aligns with your business goals and desires, you can reap the benefits of improved productivity, reduced costs, and a future-proofed business.
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Managed Print Services (MPS) is a solution that can help businesses of all sizes save money, reduce their impact on the environment, and increase productivity. Although defining MPS may not be as simple as you think, the results are crystal clear—enhanced visibility, and greater control over office printing.
The Printing Realm
Printing accounts for a great deal of time and expense, with experts estimating the average business spends up to 15 percent of their annual operating budget on printing. Managed Print Services facilitates management and optimization of your entire print fleet, including print output and all supporting processes. It also encompasses:
- Consumables and other supplies.
- Print equipment, including networked and non-networked printers, scanners and high volume print equipment.
- Documents produced by in-house staff and mobile workers.
- Maintenance, technical support and other print-related requests.
Choosing the Best Managed Print Services Provider
Selecting the right MPS provider will yield the best results. In addition to managing your printers, an experienced, knowledgeable partner can perform a number of other vital functions, including:
- An initial assessment to determine the current state of printing within your organization. The assessment includes a cost analysis, inventory, and printer mapping to identify areas of waste, and highlight any necessary improvements.
- Streamlining your printer fleet, eliminating printers that are inefficient or ill-placed, and adding or replacing equipment to better suit your needs and budget.
- Tracking supply inventory, in order to replenish stock of consumables before they run out.
- Digitizing processes that are unnecessarily time consuming, such as approvals, or routing.
- Shrinking your carbon footprint through reduced energy usage, rules based printing, cartridge recycling and energy efficient equipment.
- Provide secure access to printing for mobile workers.
- Steadily monitor your print environment, updating processes as needed to reduce print costs, and improve productivity.
The benefits of Managed Print Services reach far beyond your printer. Choosing the right MPS provider is the key to your success, allowing you to focus on your business, knowing your print infrastructure is streamlined and operating at peak efficiency.
As a business owner in today’s day in age, you know that you needed to take proactive measures to protect your business from a security breach. An effective way to accomplish this is by creating an IT security policy for your business that clearly outlines acceptable use of digital assets, the repercussions for misuse, and how your policy will be enforced.
While most major corporations have an in-house IT staff that possess the skills to write a thorough IT security policy, many small business owners are stuck writing this policy themselves. To help you get started, here are six areas you’ll want to keep in mind when writing your own IT security policy:
- Define Acceptable Use – When employees are unsure about what separates acceptable use of digital assets and misuse, you are creating major gaps in your organization’s security. Explain in detail how employees are allowed to use technology in the workplace, what is not allowed, and the consequences for violating the policy.
- Determine How Password Security Will Be Governed – You can allow your employees to create their own passwords using established parameters or set passwords for your employees. Whichever option you choose, be sure to clearly state in your policy how password security will be governed by your company and how employees will be trained in this area.
- Offer Real World Scenarios Regarding Security Breaches – To help your employees best understand the repercussions that a security breach could have on your organization, offer real world scenarios and explain how those could be a threat to your company. This can help your employees to better understand the role that they play in your security process.
- Have a Recovery Plan in Place – Clearly state which employees will be responsible for implementing recovery procedures in the event of a security breach. Being proactive with a plan can help to minimize the impact of a disaster.
- Offer Training – You should clearly state the type of training that will take place and how often it will occur to keep your organization’s information protected. This could include computer modules followed by a quiz with a minimum score requirement.
- Enforcement – Make it clear to your employees how your IT security policy will be enforced.
Contact an AOS Group Representative today to learn more about what you need to include in your IT security policy to protect your business from unnecessary threats and liabilities.
Have you taken our SMB Office Challenge yet? Take it today and find out how you compare with other SMBs just like you! You’ll also receive a free copy of our exclusive Office Print Policy Guide!
If your business is like most, you need access to various systems, applications, devices, and documents each day to successfully operate. If one – or all – of these go down due to a disaster, your business would be unable to function, costing money, harming your reputation, and possibly resulting in lost clients. Developing a disaster recovery plan can help mitigate the effects of an outage.
IT Failure and Recovery
For IT solutions to be effective, you must plan in advance. Paper documents that cannot easily be backed up are very difficult to recover. By converting key documents to digitized files, you significantly increase the chances for a quick and full recovery.
You must also identify which operations are most critical for your business. While you may be unable to function without your phone system, older archived files may not need to be recovered quickly. You should work with your IT team to develop a protocol establishing priority for essential systems and outlining a timeline for recovery for all your systems.
When systems fail, it’s not enough to have IT protocols in place. You must also have planned for the non-IT side of disaster recovery. First and foremost, you need to be able to access the contact information for those who can aid in fixing the outage. If you only store this contact information digitally, you could be in trouble. Keep a current list of all important contact information for IT teams, providers, and employees printed and accessible.
Work with your staff to delegate tasks that can help facilitate accurate and successful communication to those who need to know how the outage will affect them, and the estimated timeline for recovery. Protocols should be developed for both short-term and long-term outages for full coverage in any situation.
Disaster recovery plans are essential to keep your business running. Early planning can help avoid long-term ramifications of a service outage.
Have you taken our SMB Office Challenge yet? Find out how you compare to other SMBs just like you and receive a FREE copy of our 2016 Office Print Policy Guide full of money-saving best practices you can start using today!
If your office is like most, you may be making common mistakes in your print environment without even knowing it. They are easy to overlook but not addressing them can have an impact on your office security, efficiency and environmental footprint.
Let’s look a little closer at three of the most common mistakes:
- Security: Printing confidential information, such as payroll data, can be risky. If you get distracted before picking up your document at the printer, this confidential information may be accessed – intentionally or unintentionally – by someone not authorized to view it. This security risk occurs frequently in many offices, but is easily prevented. Employees should make it a habit to proceed directly to the printer to pick up their print jobs, or software can be used to delay printing until the employee arrives at the printer.
- Environmental: Printer cartridges are made of non-biodegradable parts. When employees throw these in the trash, they can take centuries to decompose in a landfill. If you do not have a recycling program in place, your disposal practices will have a negative and long-lasting impact on the environment. A Managed Print Services provider can easily help implement a recycling program into your office. Doing so will reduce the amount of waste your office produces.
- Reliability: A frequent cause of paper jams is misloaded paper in the tray. Seems simple enough, but it’s important that all staff are aware of proper paper loading techniques. Reams of paper (500 sheets) should always be loaded according to package instructions, minimizing the curling effect that paper can go through during the printing process.
Taking the time to educate yourself and your employees about these common print oversights can greatly reduce the chances of them occurring in your office print environment. This will increase your security and reliability, while reducing your carbon footprint.
Have you taken our SMB Office Challenge yet? Find out how you compare with other SMBs just like you and receive a complimentary copy of our 2016 Office Print Policy Guide full of money-saving best practices you can start using today!
Many of today’s multifunction printers look the same and offer the same functionality. However, it’s important to keep in mind that buying an MFP is not just about what the machine can do, or the price. There are many factors to consider in an MFP — including service and support.
If you’re considering a multifunction printer, here are four things to consider:
- System Security
- Mobile Capability
- Print Engine
Let’s take a closer look.
System Security Level
What level of security does the system come with? Modern multifunction printers are more like computers than printers. They do it all: print, scan, fax, and even connect to the Internet. These multiple capabilities make the printer valuable, but can also open up your company to security threats. You need to be sure any multifunction printer you choose maximizes system security.
There are two types of security commonly offered: single sub-system security, which may or may not be included in the monthly lease and doesn’t cover all components of the printer. Or full system security that covers the whole system, all areas being certified as secure from outside threats.
Mobile Printing Capability
If you have a mobile workforce, it is worthwhile considering a multifunction printer that allows for mobile printing. But with mobile printing it’s important to ask about security and if there are additional charges to activate it. Ask first before making a decision that can cost you later.
Type of Print Engine
In the multifunction printer space there are two engine types: cartridge based and drum based. Cartridge based printers usually require less maintenance while drum based require a service technician for regular maintenance. Consider which one would be more convenient for your office needs.
While no one expects a printer to break down, it’s smart to know everything about your device’s warranty. Who provides it? How long does it last? What does it cover? For example, all Xerox multifunction printers come with a 3-year Total Satisfaction Guarantee that allows you to replace your printer with the same or a comparable model if you are not satisfied with the device’s performance.
Be sure any printer you choose gives you the same peace of mind. For more advice on what multifunction printer would best suit your office’s needs, contact an AOS Group representative today and we would be happy to help you find the perfect MFP for your needs and your budget.
Take our 30 second pop quiz “How Smart is Your MFP?” and see what grade your multifunction printer gets!
Today, it’s common for a business to have a wireless printer or multifunction device in the office. Wireless technology offers many benefits like the ability to share workloads using fewer physical resources, saving time and reducing per-page printing costs. Unfortunately, unprotected wireless devices pose an increased risk.
Wireless printers have drives that store copies of the data they receive. Hackers can access your company’s sensitive information through this hard drive or install malware if your device isn’t protected. Here are four ways you can protect your wireless printer:
- Install a Firewall: An extra layer of protection, a firewall will protect your network from attack. If hackers gain entry to your wireless device, the firewall will prevent them from having full network access.
- Erase Your Drives: Your printer has an internal hard drive. Erase if frequently; daily if possible. This way if the device is compromised the thief will get little or no information and move on.
- Use Encryption Within Your Network: Encryption protects data as it moves through your network. Strong encryption like SSL ensures that even if access is gained, the data will be undecipherable.
- Limit Access at the Device: Control your network. Make sure any device granted access is protected and secure. Do not allow unauthorized users access. Personal devices like smartphones can harbour malware or viruses unbeknownst to the user.
Wireless printers offer countless benefits. However, like any technology, it’s important to take the necessary steps to secure your device. Taking a proactive approach to security is a smart business decision that can protect your entire network.
Have you taken our SMB Office Challenge yet? Find out how your small business compares to others just like you and receive a free copy of our 2016 Office Print Policy Guide full of money-saving best practices you can start using today!
Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy, representing the vast majority of businesses in our country. However, the typical SMB usually has to deal with a limited budget and IT resources. As a result, they often struggle to control costs and keep essential technology such as printing equipment running smoothly.
This is where Managed Print Services (MPS) can offer tremendous opportunity to SMBs. A partnership with an MPS provider can allow SMBs to gain control of printing costs and tackle the huge productivity drain that can come from an unmanaged print environment.
At the beginning of the partnership, a MPS provider will conduct a print assessment to determine existing printing volumes, behaviours and costs. This fact-based report will typically identify areas for improvement, offering opportunities that can reduce costs by as much as 30 percent.
The information gained during the print assessment will help an MPS provider design the optimal print environment for your office, with the intentions of reducing costs, streamlining workflows and increasing productivity.
Considering that printer downtime can have a significant impact on productivity and office morale, an MPS provider uses software to detect potential issues with printing equipment and proactively addresses these issues before they interrupt workflows. Also, by managing the purchase of printing supplies such as toner, SMBs can realize cost savings and eliminate the waste that comes from employees over-ordering supplies or purchasing incorrect supplies.
Another key way that Managed Print Services can benefit SMBs is with the transition to a paperless workplace. While we hear so much about businesses going paperless, approximately 75 percent of SMBs still rely heavily on paper in their business processes. MPS can help businesses to create secure and traceable digital workflows that aid in efficiency and productivity.
An MPS provider can also help SMBs meet their sustainability goals by recommending the use of energy efficient printing equipment, significantly reducing the amount of paper used in the workplace, and implementing a recycling program for used toner cartridges.
There are many benefits an MPS provider can offer to SMBs in regards to cost savings, productivity, efficiency and sustainability. Please contact us to learn more about how MPS can give your business a competitive edge.
Have you taken our SMB Office Challenge yet? Find out how your office printing practices compare to other SMBs and get a FREE copy of our 2016 Office Print Policy Guide full of money-saving best practices you can start using today!
When you’re managing an office, keeping your budget in check is always top of mind. When looking for ways to reduce spending, many managers often overlook the cost of printing, when in reality, unmanaged print costs can sabotage your annual budget. Rather than considering print to be a necessary cost of doing business, be on the lookout for hidden costs and start saving.
Here are six ways your print environment may be costing you more than you think:
- Hardware – In an effort to save money, many small business owners simply head to the nearest office supply store and purchase an inexpensive printer or two. However, the cheapest printers can often cost the most in supplies.
- Productivity Loss – Incorrect placement, inadequate equipment, and downtime due to repairs can cost your company in lost productivity. A Managed Print Services (MPS) provider can help improve office workflow by determining which equipment works best for each department and where to place it.
- Waste – Default print settings are often inefficient, frequently set for single-sided colour printing. Reset user defaults to double-sided prints in black and white, saving high quality colour prints for specified users or departments.
- Consolidation – Using multiple, single use machines such as a copier, printer or scanner is inefficient and more costly than consolidating all these function in an MFP. Likewise, purchasing your office equipment from multiple vendors will prevent you from negotiating the best deal, places excess demand on IT staff, and increases the number of maintenance and repair contracts to manage.
- Energy Output – Using old, inefficient printers can result in unnecessarily high energy bills. Instead, relegate older machines to a quieter corner of the office, or for private use, and invest in an Energy Star rated, high efficiency printer for high volume work.
- Support – When one of your printers breaks down, your instincts may be to call the IT department for help, but odds are they won’t have the expertise to diagnose or repair the issue at hand. Devise some simple self-help protocols that users can refer to for guidance to fix common printer problems.
Talk to a proven MPS provider like the AOS Group today. We can help uncover your hidden print costs, and find solutions to increase productivity, and your bottom line.
Are your print costs out of control? Take our SMB Office Challenge today and find out how you compare with other SMBs just like you! You’ll also receive a FREE copy of our 2016 Office Print Policy Guide full of money-saving best practices you can start using today!
Cybersecurity has been in the news a lot lately. Have you got a policy to protect your network from threats? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! When it comes to most malware, including ransomware, it’s easier to be proactive and prevent an attack then it is to fix things after the fact.
You need a cybersecurity policy, and you need to enforce it. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to prevent attacks. Here are five tips to get you started:
- Know the Basics/ Practice Safe Computing: Don’t open any attachments until they’re safely scanned. Don’t download anything from a website unless you are absolutely sure about it. Even then, scan any downloads, even from trusted sites.
- Have a Full Set Of Security Tools: A comprehensive security suite should include firewalls, web traffic blocks, screen for incoming links, filter junk mail, and scan your drives for malware on a scheduled basis.
- Be Wary of Links: Bad links can come from anywhere: email, text and websites. If it looks suspect, DON’T CLICK IT! Even if it’s from someone you know. If you’re worried, contact your IT people.
- Don’t BYOD without Precautions!: A major source of network infections revolves around the use of personal devices in the office. Allowing staff to use their own devices for business can set your entire network up for a disaster. Protect your network and make sure any devices are protected and authorized before allowing them to connect to your network.
- Be Vigilant and Keep Training Current: Do not assume your employees are well versed in security protocols. Provide periodic training, create a monthly update and include best practices.
These are just a few simple tips to get you started. With proper tools in place, threat training, and policies you can prevent malware attacks from happening before they start. Everyone is vulnerable. Be sure to take a proactive approach to keep your data and systems safe.
Are you looking for ways to keep your company data safe? Our SMB Office Challenge will test you! Find out how you compare to other SMBs and receive a FREE copy of our 2016 Office Print Policy Guide full of best practices you can start using today!