The school year is just around the corner. Soon, the halls will be filled again with students – and the printers with finished assignments. Many schools take the summer to update their print hardware, installing new printers or optimizing their printing environment based on the noticed shortcomings or desired accessibility. However, for schools, print hardware needs can be hard to anticipate, plan, and maintain.

To stay abreast with the evolving needs of growing campuses, schools need to remain diligent towards their printing environment. The new technology is about to come into use, meaning new opportunities for students and network administrators alike. However, it’s never too early to plan for further optimization – in fact, for most education institutions, it’s necessary. Here’s why.

Hardware and Software Updates Mean Opportunities

Updated print hardware and software is exciting, but the deployment of new devices doesn’t mean the work is finished. With a new printer fleet or print environment, schools must pay extra attention to how their devices perform during the first weeks. Why?

Students Will Find Creative Uses for Printers

Kids – especially teenagers – excel at finding uses for items beyond their original purpose. Think there’s no chance of unauthorized printing? With the right printing software and the right configurations, that may be so. However, a school print environment represents one of the more sophisticated and demanding ecosystems. Compared to offices, school printers see significantly more use by many more users, and it’s much more difficult to control access to the machine.

That makes it extra necessary to keep an eye out for usage which may drive up operating costs or expose printers to unnecessary wear. Responding quickly can help reduce unnecessary costs and security risks.

Campus Printing Needs Are Moving Targets

Campus printing needs change – with the trimester and semester systems, that change can be dramatic, occurring in a little as a few months. As such, it can prove incredibly difficult to adequately anticipate exactly what printing power an educational institution needs, or to anticipate how it will expand or contract. Therefore, keeping a close eye on the print environment at the start of the year can help a school quickly identify if scaling is needed.

Data Security Is More Important Than Ever

Think schools aren’t targets for hackers? Think again. For the past few years, hackers have been increasingly targeting schools. Hackers assume that because sensitive data isn’t the first association when it comes to schools, many will overlook the need for robust cybersecurity defense – and they’re right.

Printers, likewise, constitute a security risk of their own. The average modern printer – especially Wi-Fi-connected ones, like MFPs – have a hard drive which stores information about print jobs. Unfortunately, these hard drives represent one of the most overlooked pieces of technology when it comes to installing an antivirus. As such, hackers have learned to target printers.

A new printer will naturally invite curiosity. Be prepared to monitor the network a little closer to discover any opportunities to tighten security.

Staff Needs Time to Adapt

New technology always means a learning curve. For faculty members who were used to working with the old machines, new printers may mean time taken away from work to learn how to use them. That may lead to frustration as workflows get changed. During the beginning of the year, connect with staff members to provide any support they may need while adapting to the new system.

Take Notes for Next Year

Never stop analyzing a print environment. A printing infrastructure is built around the needs of its users. Even in the most well-designed systems, users constitute a dynamic element and may result in shifting needs. For schools, analyzing a print environment means:

? Planning to gather data for the entire year. The end of the academic school year may seem like a long way away, but a strategy to ensure data is gathered over the entire school year will help maintain visibility and awareness.

? Presenting data-driven budgeting requests. It’s hard enough to get funding – maximize chances by presenting the data which shows exactly what is necessary for a print environment.

Consider Using a Managed Print Service

A managed print service provider specializes in helping companies build efficient, effective print environments. They can often perform assessments to help companies or campuses spot opportunities for improvement in their printing infrastructure. Consider a managed print service provider for expert guidance in getting the most out of new print hardware for a school.

DSI Partners with Schools for Print Hardware Updates

Schools need printing – from essays to office processes, it’s as critical to campuses as it is to companies. With the school year just around the corner, many campuses are rolling out updated school print hardware. That doesn’t mean the work is done, however. In fact, it may be quite the opposite. New hardware means opportunities for refinement and the chance to take notes for next year.

DSI works with schools to develop best-in-class solutions for campuses large and small. Contact us today to get started.