Managed Print Services for Higher Education

By: Dan Larkin
January 13, 2023

Even as tuition costs are rising, many colleges and universities are facing ongoing budget challenges. And it can be difficult, if not impossible, for schools to identify potential cuts that won’t also undermine the value they provide for students. 

But there is one way that higher education institutions can save quite a bit of money while reducing frustration, saving time, and increasing security, all at the same time: Managed Print Services (MPS). Unfortunately, it’s an easy solution to overlook because print costs often go untracked

Why Educational Institutes Need Managed Print

The average college student burns through about 320 pounds of paper every year. That’s perhaps a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of paper that professors, administrators, recruiters, marketers, and fundraisers use. Printing supplies, energy use, equipment maintenance, and repair aren’t often tracked, but they add up. 

Managed print services can identify hidden print costs and significantly reduce those expenses while also reducing frustration and increasing security.  It’s a service that helps pay for itself. In fact, when our print experts worked with Minnesota State University’s Moorhead campus, we were able to save them around $200,000 a year. 

What Is Managed Print Services?

What’s included in managed print services varies by provider. However, generally speaking, an MPS provider is tasked with reducing costs, waste, and disruptions related to an organization’s print environment, which may include printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. 

Managed Print

What Services Are Provided? 

A good MPS provider will typically provide the following: 

  • An inventory of your print fleet
  • An assessment of how your organization uses your equipment 
  • Identifying hidden costs, inefficiencies, and wasteful practices
  • Remote monitoring through special print software
  • Maintenance 
  • Issue anticipation to prevent disruptions
  • Remote and on-site troubleshooting as needed
  • Automated supply ordering
  • Recommending print policies to reduce waste and cost
  • Recommending print policies and technology to increase security
  • Identifying devices that could potentially be eliminated to save money

That said, not all providers are the same

For example, at Marco, we have a dedicated print security team, and can therefore provide our MPS clients these additional security services as part of our standard, no additional fees offering:

  • Secure passwords at setup that are unique to each client
  • Multi-pass data overwrite of HDDs and NVRAM clearing
  • Complimentary print security assessment
  • Auxiliary uplift services
  • MPS specific SOC Type 2 report to provide a higher level of assurance of our processes in place to protect your data 

What Is a SOC Report, and Why Is it Important? 

A SOC 2 Type 2 report indicates that a third-party auditor has conducted an extensive review of a service provider’s offerings to verify that the provider is consistently following best practices. While most IT providers have achieved one, it’s still a rarity among managed print providers. 

With the increase in cybercriminals’ use of networked printers as an easy entry point, print security should be a concern, even for organizations that don’t need to comply with privacy regulations. Marco has achieved a SOC 2 Type 2 report for both managed IT and managed print services so that our clients — regardless of their industry or location — can have the peace of mind that they deserve.

Benefits of Managed Print Services for Higher Education 

The benefits to colleges and universities are not dissimilar to the benefits other businesses experience. But for institutions where stress is common, deadlines are tight, and IT departments are notoriously strapped for time, managed print services are especially helpful as it addresses all of these issues rather handily. 

Reduce Disruptions

Thanks to remote monitoring software, your provider will be able to anticipate when a part is about to fail and dispatch a technician, send supplies when they’re needed, and provide life-prolonging maintenance to keep your fleet in tip-top shape. 

Fewer Workplace Frustrations

Your staff won’t have to spend nearly as much time troubleshooting equipment, their daily lives won’t be disrupted so often by printer issues, and they’ll never have to order ink and toner again.

Better for Your IT Team

And here’s a hidden benefit, but one that should never be overlooked: if your IT team is frequently overwhelmed, managed print services could be the key to lightening their load. In most organizations, about 50% of all help desk calls are printer-related. 

Managed Print Services Software

Not to get too in the weeds here, but the type of monitoring software your provider uses will impact how effective their services will be. Monitoring software is also not the only kind of software that an MPS provider may recommend for you.  

Monitoring Software 

You should check with your provider to make sure that their monitoring software will allow them to provide good service to you regardless of your equipment — some software only works with certain print manufacturers, and can’t track ink and toner use reliably. Ours, however, is manufacturer-agnostic. 

Pull Printing or Follow Me Printing Solutions

Do documents frequently pile up in the tray, only to be discarded when no one claims them? According to a study by Xerox, 30% of printed documents are never picked up. Forgotten documents waste paper and supplies, but if any forgotten documents contain sensitive information, they may also represent a security risk. 

Secure Print Release, which is also called “Follow Me Printing” or “Pull Printing,” uses special software to only release a print job when a user either scans a badge or enters a code into the printer. 

Pull printing reduces waste, helps keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands, and it also helps you ensure that your printers are only used to produce documents for school use. Software companies like PaperCut make it much easier than ever to implement secure print release throughout an entire organization.

The Best Managed Print for Higher Education

Marco has extensive experience providing managed print services for higher education. But we’re obviously not the only MPS provider that can say that. Managed print services are growing more popular among colleges and universities for all of the reasons I already outlined. 

However, it is rare for a print provider to offer security services as part of their regular offering. At Marco, we include security for all of our managed print clients, because regardless of any regulatory requirements, we believe that print security is an important — and often overlooked — component of an organization’s overall security posture. Even if it’s not required, it’s just the right thing to do. 

If you’re considering managed print services, or are looking to get more from your provider, let us know how we can help!

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Topics: Managed Print Services