The TDSIT Blog

Protect Your Data With the Right MFP

Posted by Tim Stanley on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 10:16 AM

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Small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) face a number of unique challenges in regards to growth and success, not the least of which is security. Cybertheft is a relatively new concern which makes news when it affects large scale corporations—but a recent report from Smallbiz.com shows that 43 percent of phishing schemes are aimed at small businesses.

According to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance only 40 percent of them remain up and running six months after a cyberattack, while the rest are forced to close their doors. 

The best way to reduce the risk of a data breach is by identifying all areas of vulnerability, including multifunction print devices. When it comes time to upgrade your equipment, be sure to look for the following security features, designed to protect your information from a number of common threats.  

Encryption

Sensitive data travelling across your network on its way to or from your printer can easily be intercepted by hackers. Data encryption solutions prevent access by effectively scrambling information, ensuring it remains protected. 

User Authentication

Documents left unattended in the printer tray may be read, copied or stolen by anyone passing by. Choose a printer that enables user authentication which requires individuals to input a security PIN code or swipe card at the printer before documents are printed and released. 

Password Protection

Scan hardcopy documents to digital files where they can be securely stored and password protected.  

Print Monitoring

Create an audit trail to ensure compliance with industry regulations, and to keep track of who uses each printer, when, and for what purpose. 

Cloud Automation

The cloud has revolutionized a number of office processes but it's only effective when the proper security measures are in place. Prevent users from scanning sensitive data to unauthorized cloud applications by automating cloud-to-device workflows within your organization. 

Restricted Scanning Capabilities

Unrestricted scanning leaves data unprotected and vulnerable. The right MFP will allow you to password protect files so that only authorized users can access the information. 

Data Clearing 

As a vital component in your office network, your MFP requires the same consideration given to all other devices that contain a hard drive. Opt for a printer that is capable of periodically deleting unnecessary stored data using approved algorithms for data clearing. 

Keep your sensitive data safe by choosing the right MFP, with enhanced security features and solutions. Download our free MFP Buyer's Guide to help you make the right choice for your business. 

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Tags: MFP

What’s the Best Device for Your Workgroup - Copier or MFP?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 @ 10:36 AM

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With the vast array of options available in the world of office equipment, it can be difficult to know which machines will best suit the needs of your business. Choosing between a copier or a multifunction printer (MFP) can be especially hard, since they perform similar functions, but in reality, the two are vastly different and each one fills a unique void in the area of document production.

Read on to learn more about each, so that you can make an informed decision about which is best for your workgroup.

Copiers

Office technology has evolved rapidly over the last few decades, and the office copier of today is a far cry from its predecessors. There was a time when an office copier was a single use, standalone machine, whose only function was to replicate documents, often on a large scale. The copier of today resembles the MFP on a number of fronts, with more features than ever including:

  • The ability to handle a wide variety of paper sizes. 
  • Finishing options such as stapling, collating, three-hole punch and more. 
  • Unprecedented speed. 

Because of their larger than average size and cost of operation copiers are best suited for larger organizations. 

Multifunction Printers (MFPs)

Multifunction printers are all-in-one devices that perform a number of useful functions including copy, scan, fax, and print. Benefits include:

  • The scanning function on your MFP will allow you to route digital documents directly to workflows, network folders, email, fax or cloud repositories.

  • Reclaim office space by eliminating the need for a separate copier, printer, scanner and fax machine.
  • Save money by eliminating the need to maintain and buy supplies for four separate devices.
  • They are smaller than copiers and feature a compact space-saving design.
  • Networking capabilities.

With their multifunction capabilities, an MFP can be a great addition to any size office, large or small. 

To learn more about the benefits of a copier or MFP give us a call today. We can help you make the right choice for your office or workgroup, and get you on your way to the best in document management and production. 

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Tags: MFP

Your Copier's Lease is Over: What Happens Next?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 @ 01:21 PM

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If you lease a copier or multifunction printer, do you know what happens to it when the lease ends? The device must be removed from your office, but the cost may or may not be included in your lease. Many companies aren’t aware that they may incur costs for the removal of their device and are surprised when the invoice arrives.

Term's End

A typical MFP lease lasts either three or five years. At the end of this time, the device must be returned. While you’re choosing your next copier, the removal of the old device may not be foremost on your mind. However, at term’s end, you are typically faced with one of two choices:

Option #1

The company who leased the copier returns it to the location specified by the leasing company, taking care of all packing and insurance. Shipping costs and insurance can be significant, so it’s important to take time to research your shipping options and be sure to remove all liquids and erase hard drive data before packing your device securely for the journey.

Option #2

Pay the vendor to remove it along with all associated fees charged by the vendor. This will include moving the MFP (which can weigh upwards of 300 lbs.) out of the office, liquid removal, hard drive decommissioning, insurance and transit fees. This is often the most convenient option for business owners; however, the price tag can be hefty. Shipping costs alone can range from $300-$600.

Know Your Contract

Review removal options and fees before signing a leasing agreement so you aren’t faced with a surprise at the end of the term. Be sure to budget the removal costs into your budget to avoid any financial complications later.

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Tags: copier, lease office equipment, TDSIT, MFP, digital copier

The Paperless Office - Pipe Dream Or Reality?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 @ 01:38 PM

paperless office1When we were kids, we were promised many great things in the “future”. By now we were supposed to have flying cars and two-way wrist radios (ok, we did get smartphones and smart watches) but the biggest promise was the hope of the paperless office! The term, first coined by marketers 50 years ago is still not a reality. Businesses even today, can’t go completely paperless but we’re getting closer all the time. Here are 9 quick tips to move your company closer to a paperless future.

  1. Institute print monitoring and begin to track your paper usage. – Knowing is the first step towards reducing use. Tell your employees that you are monitoring print output and enlist their help in keeping track. Use print logs to track use.  Bonus – studies have shown that simply informing employees they are being monitored can reduce print output by 10%.
  2. Go paperless at the bank and with service providers – Have the phone company and other vendors send electronic invoices. Make an effort to pay bills online to eliminate checks, envelopes and stamps. These savings can add up!
  3. Put in a recycling bin. – A low-tech approach that can raise awareness of your company’s paper use. Plus it moves your business towards sustainability.
  4. Eliminate physically signed internal documents. – Take as many non-essential documents online as possible. Institute an electronic signature policy to help reduce output.
  5. Eliminate your fax machine. – Replace faxes with editable documents (pdfs) that can be submitted via email or the web.
  6. Cut your print output in half by printing two-sided documents.
  7. Replace multiple machines with a Multi-function printer. – Replace your fax, scanner, copier and printer with a single MFP. You’ll use less energy, paper and consumables.
  8. Use OCR software. – OCR software lets you turn documents into editable files that can then be shared online.
  9. Use smartphone apps like CamCard or WorldCard. – Use your phone to instantly turn business cards into digital contacts.

Reducing your paper use is a process. Small steps lead to big savings. Cutting paper saves money and brings your business closer to sustainability. The paperless office isn’t here yet, but taking these steps brings it one step closer to reality!

Click here for your free e-book and learn how your office can begin to go paperless!

green printing

Tags: software solutions, green printing, true cost of printing, paperless office, regulate printing, MFP

Who Pays to Remove the Old Copier From Your Office – Is It You???

Posted by Tim Stanley on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 @ 01:53 PM

TDS copier removal

When the time comes to finally replace your copier with a multifunction printer (MFP) or another device, many business owners or managers are happy to see the old machine go.  But before the copier leaves your building you should be aware of the costs that can be incurred for copier removal.

Typical copier lease agreements have a three to five year term.  In the agreement there are typically stipulations outlining the removal of the copier when the lease expires or if the copier is to be removed before the term of the lease is completed.  Hefty fees can be involved in these cases.

As with any lease agreement business owners and managers should carefully review the entire lease before signing.  Far too many times, however, the copier removal fees happen by surprise because that portion of the lease was overlooked or misinterpreted.

Copier leases can have two different options available.  The first is for the business to completely manage and pay for preparation, transport and shipping expenses for the copier removal.  The second option is for the business to have the copier company handle all of the preparation and transportation expenses.  Both situations can be quite costly for the business.

Copiers are not easily transported because they are heavy and contain toner or ink that must be carefully moved.  Copiers are delicate devices that can be broken if not properly protected during the removal process.

Thoroughly reviewing your copier lease is the best way to avoid the surprise copier removal fees.  Xerox takes pride in having an end of lease program that is business-friendly and can protect you from unanticipated expenses.
 

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Click here for your free e-book on how to make your office more environmentally friendly!

Tags: document management, lease multifunction printer, Total Document Solutions, TDS, service agreement, MFP

Do you Know the True Cost of Printing?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Mar 07, 2013 @ 08:30 AM

Do You Know the True Cost of Printing

Between invoicing, record keeping and communications, most businesses are thought to be spending between one and three percent of their annual revenue on print costs. In addition, few Small Medium Sized Business owners are aware of the exact amount of inventory their company is carrying between equipment and supplies. Multiple devices may also rely on multiple vendors for repairs and replacement equipment adding to the confusion. 

Knowing the true cost of printing can pave the way to a reduction in print usage and expenditures, streamline work and printing processes and increase your bottom line. Managed Print Services (MPS) can help get you on your way; here’s how.

What is the True Cost of Printing?

Because printing is a necessary part of doing business, it isn’t an area often considered when management is looking to trim costs, but the fact is, if you don’t know what you’re spending, how do you know how much you could be saving?

Ask yourself the following:

  • How many printers are in your office?
  • Of those how many are multi-function printers (MFPs)?
  • Are they all from the same manufacturer?
  • Do they each carry separate maintenance/service agreements?
  • Do the supplies for each come from the same vendor?
  • How much are you spending each year on ink cartridges, toner cartridges, paper and hardware?
  • How many steps are necessary to print?
  • Do you have a sustainability initiative in place for office printing
If you don’t know the answers, it’s time to consider MPS.

The Benefits of MPS

Answers

The road to the successful management of your print services begins with an in-depth assessment of current inventory and expenditures. By examining document workflow improvements can be made to streamline processes and get costs under control.

Cost Reduction

Savings can be realized by:

  • Eliminating redundant or outdated equipment.
  • Optimizing the ratio between employees and equipment.
  • Reducing the amount of devices and supplies.
  • Streamlining document workflow to eliminate unnecessary steps.
  • Introducing print rules such as double-sided or monochrome printing for certain applications.

Increased Efficiency

Through proper placement of equipment within the office, employees can save steps and increase production. Optimizing processes to take advantage of digital solutions can save both time and money.

Through managed print services, you can free your IT resources. As a rule IT will be responsible for call outs for malfunctioning printers, many of which then require a second call out to a service vendor.

Enhanced Security

By introducing secure print practices and protocols, the level of security for printed documents within your organization can increase exponentially. Features such as data encryption, PIN or password enhanced printing and image overwriting can help keep sensitive documents safe and secure.  

Environmental Sustainability

Small changes can make a big difference.

  • Protocols can be put in place to re-route or outsource jobs to the most cost effective printing method, saving toner, paper and emissions.
  • Print rules such as double-sided printing or toner saver settings can be enacted.
  • Through the use of recycled products and materials such as paper or toner cartridges your company can reduce its carbon footprint substantially.

The true cost of printing within your organization is most likely higher than you think. MPS can successfully manage all your printing needs, while minimizing the cost. By assessing current practices and procedures, improvements can be made that result in the increased productivity and efficiency of your business, where employees spend less time on printing and more time working towards increasing your bottom line.

To find out how much your business spends on print, click here for your free print assessment: 

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, MPS, TCO, true cost of printing, total cost of operation, MFP

How to Practice Environmentally Friendly Printing

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 @ 08:30 AM

How to Practice Environmentally Friendly Printing

If your company is like many, a recycling box stood next to your printers for years. And for years, staff members tossed extra, misprinted or unneeded paper into the box. Every now and then the box appeared emptied –who took it and where it went was a mystery – and that was the extent of the “green” printing initiatives.

Today, thanks to digitization and the increasing role of managed print services (MPS), environmental sustainability has taken a larger and more impactful part of the print realm without taking time or resources from you or your staff.

What “green” means today
Environmental awareness and sustainability have gone beyond the recycling box to become part of many companies’ mission statements. Eco-friendly practices, from switching to energy-efficient light bulbs to obtaining enterprise-wide LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, all contribute to today’s green initiatives.

When it comes to printing, an MPS provider can take the lead in assessing your company’s current technology and usage, and provide recommendations on going greener in several ways:

  • Controlling paper. In an ideal world, no recycling box would be needed, because no paper would be wasted. The cost of paper, the resources it demands to create and distribute, and the potential damage that waste causes to both the environment and to a company’s budget are all concerns of the managed print services professional.
  • Managing ink and toner. Ink and toner run a close second to paper when it comes to the cost and environmental impact of waste. An MPS provider can both optimize the print fleet to save ink and train users on reducing the use of toner – reducing unnoticed resolution by printing in “grayscale” or “fast draft,” for example – providing small changes that can make a money-saving and planet-friendly difference.
  • Reducing energy consumption. It takes electricity to run the printers, electricity to light the room the printers are in, and even more electricity to do all this with multiple printers and locations when perhaps only one or two are actually needed. A strategic plan from an MPS provider can reorganize a company’s print infrastructure, creating more energy-efficient workspaces along the way.
  •  Promoting digital solutions. One highly effective long-term environmental solution, of course, is reducing the overall dependency on hard copies by adopting digital processes for documents and data that speed delivery of information, accommodate today’s mobile workforce, and ensure information security – all while conserving natural resources.

Going green made easier
Efficiency and profitability need not be compromised by a commitment to the environment. With the help of a managed print services partner, you can do your part for a more sustainable company – and planet.

 To find out how much your organization is spending on print, click here for your free print assessment:

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, multifunction print devices, green printing, environmentally friendly office, MFP, environmentally friendly printing

Ultimate Guide to Differentiating Multifunction & Multitasking Devices

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Oct 04, 2012 @ 08:33 AM

multifunction printerIn recent years, printer technology has improved by leaps and bounds. Gone are the days of a roomful of machines for printing, faxing, copying and scanning. The new generation of machines combine all of these functions into one unit. 

As a small business owner, determining your needs is paramount when making a decision on which technology to invest in for your business.  When you are looking at all-in-one machines, you have two basic choices, multifunction or multitasking. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Multifunction Printer MFP

The multifunction printer MFP combines the functionality of several different machines into one desktop unit. They are all fairly similar in function, footprint and design. The multifunction printer MFP can print, scan, fax, email and copy, can be controlled from the printer unit, and also comes with software for control from your desktop. Many of the newest MFPs use WIFI technology which means that they can be accessed remotely via WIFI, by anyone, from anywhere in your office.

The main difference between multifunction printer MFP and multitasking printer is that a multifunction machine can only perform one task at a time.  They are generally best used in a home office or small business setting where complex multiple jobs are not a priority. Since all of these machines basically look the same and perform the same functions, it has been a race to the bottom to produce the lowest cost multifunction printer MFP for consumers.  Enter the multitasking machine.

Multitasking Printer MTP

The multitasking printer offers all of the same functions as the multifunction printer MFP with the added benefit of handling more than one task at a time. That means it is possible, for example, to have several print jobs in queue while you are sending or receiving a multi-page fax. This functionality makes the multitasking format ideal for a busy office where high productivity is a must.

The multitask technology can be built on either copier or printer technology.  This makes for subtle but important differences when choosing a machine. Since the entry point for a multitasking machine tends to be significantly higher, it pays to do your homework!

Questions to Ask

Once you have determined your basic need for a multitasking printer you need to ask several important questions to narrow your search for the machine that is right for you.

Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.

• How will your system manage your print queue and how many jobs can it handle simultaneously?

• What happens if the current job is delayed? If there is an A4 paper outage, will the non-A4 jobs moved up in queue and be printed?

• When a job is completed will the system automatically notify the end user who printed it?

Once you’ve answered these functionality questions, the next step is to ask your vendor these questions about the machines architecture.

• Is the machine built on copier or printer technology?

• What type of engine is built into the system; drum or cartridge based?  Drum machines tend to be copiers, while cartridge based machines are generally printer based.

• What type of processor powers the system? Is it compatible with your existing IT infrastructure?

If you are looking for a simple scanner/copier/printer/fax solution, multifunction printer MFPtechnology might be the way to go. If you need the power and productivity boost of a multitasking printer do your homework! Multitasking printers cost more because they do more. Educate yourself before you buy or lease your next machine. 

To find out how your company can save up to 30% in print costs in 30 days, click here:

cut print costs

Tags: MPS, printing efficiency, drum based, cartridge based, multifunction printer, MFP, multitasking printer

Why the Surge in Managed Print Services for the SMB Market?

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 11:27 AM

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If you're reading this then you're likely wondering why there has been a giant surge in Managed Print Services (MPS) within the small-to-medium-sized business market. Well, the simple answer is that it fits the market's needs. 

Today's SMB companies are stretched thin. Their budgets are stretched thin, as is their time. They don't have the budget for the upfront costs of expensive printing equipment and certainly don't have the time to get acquainted with their current print environment in order to do bulk ordering, preventative maintenance, fix errors and jams or even determine how much printing they do/need. The result of this chaos is that most SMB companies have no idea how many printers they have and from how many vendors. They also don't know how much they print and spend on printing annually, nor how much they could save with bulk purchase agreements or standardization.

Hopefully you are already asking yourself, “do I know how many printers we have? Do I know how many vendors those printers are spread across? Have I any idea how much my company prints annually, or how much we spend on that printing?

If you don't know, you're not alone—not by a long shot. But not knowing is costing you time and money. Money is being wasted by spending too much on servicing a mixed print environment, and time is wasted from staff trying to fix print-related issues themselves despite a lack of knowledge about that specific type of machine (how could they in a mixed environment?).  

If this sounds all too familiar then like so many before you, you're a solid candidate for Managed Print Services. 

Stats & Facts: What's Fueling the MPS Movement
When future Managed print converts see the stats and facts about the industry, their decision not only becomes clear—but they are confident in their choice to migrate to MPS. Understanding the MPS landscape is critical to understanding whether MPS is right for you, so consider the following facts:

  • 90% of all North American companies don't have a grip on their print environment, have no idea how many printers they have or how much they are spending on printing annually
  • 40% of printers are purchased without formal procurement approval (think: sky-high costs for consumables)
  • Today’s office makes 4 prints for every 1 copy
  • The average worker prints 10,000 pages annually, of which 17% are never even used
  • The average life span of a printed page in today’s office is less than 5 minutes
  • Only 10% of desktop laser printers are managed within a print environment but they print an average volume of 3650 pages each and every month
  • Industry insiders are predicting that over 50% of larger SMB companies will have adopted a Managed Print program by Q4 2014

Despite taking up a sizable chunk of office budgets printing hasn't come under the cost scrutiny that things like cell phone usage, long-distance charges, travel and other expenditures have. But given today's economic climate SMB companies are beginning to think more consciously about how much money is spent on printing—and how much of that is spent needlessly.  

Why all the converts you still ask? Well, the average SMB company saves 20-30% of their overall annual printing costs when they switch to a well run Managed Print program. And when you consider that companies, depending on toner coverage, are paying up to 10¢ for each B&W print and up to $1.00 per color print it is easy to see how the savings could add up.    

To find out how much you could save by implementing a Managed Print solution in your business, contact us today for a no obligation office print assessment.

Print Assessment

Tags: managed print services, print assessment, MPS, printing costs, multifunction printer, Small Medium business, print costs, MFP, SMB

Digital Copier Service Agreements Demystified

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Aug 09, 2012 @ 02:09 PM

DigitalCopierServiceAgreementsDemystified2

The exercise of buying or leasing a new Multi-Function Printer (MFP) and service contract for your office can be eerily similar to that of buying or leasing a new car. You buy from the salesman but the real relationship will be with the mechanic. In the case of office equipment, you deal with a sales person up front, and then the service department for the next few years. In the office equipment business service contracts can be a tricky matter, with ever-evolving yearly renewals; renewals which often involve contract changes unbeknownst to the customer. Since an evolving, product life-long service contract can be a scary proposition, it is critical that you have a thorough understanding of exactly what you are getting into.

When reviewing a service contract--prior to purchase--there are a few key points that you should have clarified. To demystify the process we have broken down the key points to review and questions to ask before purchasing or leasing a new system:

Toll Free Technical Support
With the sophistication of today's MFPs many of the minor issues that result can be fixed over the phone without having to wait for a technician to be dispatched, so 24-hour toll-free tech support can be very beneficial to maintaining machine up-time.

Retrofits and Software Upgrades
Since coverage varies contract to contract ask whether your service agreement requires an additional surcharge be paid for machine retrofits and software upgrades or whether they are included. In some cases retrofits may be referred to as a system overhaul and may be accompanied by an unanticipated invoice.  

Remote Diagnostic Capability
Ask whether the MFP can be accessed, monitored and managed remotely when it comes to status and software upgrades.

Service Credits
Onsite service technicians may have to run numerous test copies or prints in order to check the functionality and performance of the machine after a repair has been completed. So be sure to ask whether the cost of these “test” copies or prints will be credited to your account in order to offset the cost of running them. Test copies or prints, especially on color systems, can be expensive over the life of the equipment if a credit is not applied.

Parts & Supplies
Ask whether only genuine manufacturer parts and supplies will be used throughout the life of the contract when repairing your MFP. This is critical because warranties and guarantees can be voided by the manufacturer if aftermarket or third-party parts and supplies are used. 

Warranty
Inquire how long the machine and system will be under warranty, and most importantly, who decides(and how is it decided) when a faulty or problematic system needs to be replaced.


Conclusion
When discussing your digital copier service contract, before you lease or purchase, be sure to involve all parties who will be responsible for it and cover all the points above. Ensure when discussing the service to inquire specifically about what is included and what isn't, ask to speak with a technician when reviewing the terms and conditions since these are the 'mechanics' that your established relationship will be with. 


Make sure you ask the right questions to get exactly what you are looking for because post-purchase changes may be difficult, or could require additional, and often expensive, upgrade costs. For more information you may want to review our Free Buyer Checklist.

cut print costs

Tags: MPS, Remote printing, printer warranty, OEM, service agreement, cloud printing, MFP, digital copier, Remote diagnostics