When determining the best copying and printing equipment for your business there are some key technical aspects that need to be taken into consideration. Determining the best copiers, printers, and multi-purpose machines will require addressing security issues, bandwidth usage, document management and administrative solutions. Here are just some of the major aspects that should be discussed with your dealer.
There are many security issues that can come up when acquiring a new printer, copier or multipurpose machine. One major concern may be control over who can use the machine and what functions they will allowed to use. For this you want to get a machine that has a user authentication feature. This way users will have to log in to the machine using a number of options to verify their identity. The options range from a simple password, a magnetic access card or even a fingerprint authentication. To allow for access from desktop computers new printing and copying devices will have to be connected to your network. To keep this secure, network authentication can be setup to only allow certain IP addresses to connect to the device. You also want to make sure that machines with a fax function have a secure connection so there is no “back door” for network hackers to break into. Additional security measures include data encryption, erase or overwrite features, and secure watermarking or blacking out of text on unauthorized copies.
Depending on the documents that you will be sending through your copier, you’ll have different bandwidth needs. Large and/or complex color documents consume a lot of bandwidth. This could become a strain on your network and slow it down for all users. The size of files created from scans vary from machine to machine. If you are concerned with too much bandwidth being dedicated to sending files you should look at machines that offer scanning compression technologies. These will reduce the size of the files making their storage and transfer easier and faster, plus the network won’t be bogged down handling large files.
Document Management Solutions can be critical to your printing and copying infrastructure because they allow you to manage, manipulate, and track all documents sent across the network. They can make work easier by streamlining the workflow and can help the IT department by automating many processes that are done manually. A key area would be creating exportable usage logs to assist with assessing needs and budget reporting. Usually they are sold as options and many are industry-specific, which allows them to to be customized to your business’s specialized needs. Your dealer should be able to provide reports on various solution products.
The difficulty of setup is an extremely important concern, because the harder your copier or multi-purpose machine is to configure on the network the more time you have to invest in its installation. Be sure to ask your dealer for detailed installation information and the administrative utilities for all equipment before purchasing or signing a lease agreement. These utilities can become crucial to your operations because they let administrators monitor all the copiers, printers and multi-purpose machines that are on the network. It also allows for assigning and limiting user rights. Remote access is an available option as well, making it possible for administrators to install and upgrade print drivers from their desk. Other concerns will have to do with the type of feedback received from the equipment. For the ease of use you may want a machine that sends a notification when it’s low on toner or has a paper jam, can route jobs to another printer or copier on the network, and alerts the dealer when there is a mechanical failure.
Most dealers will include service options into your contract, be sure to know what it covers and how quickly they will respond to issues. Even if you have your own staff to keep up daily maintenance, it is usually worth it to save your employees time in case of a major failure.
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