Why Is Keeping Your Printers Online Important?

Submitted by Karla Metzler on Fri, 07/15/2022 - 07:02
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The workplace has become more technologically advanced with time, which has increased the efficiency of office technology in automating tasks that would customarily be completed manually.  

But there is a mechanism that print providers use to execute tasks like automatically shipping your toner at the right time or ensuring you have the latest firmware update for your device.  

It involves having your printers online, or in this case, connected to a cloud server from your print provider. 

Putting your office machines on a server so that service and supplies can be conducted remotely is becoming a priority for providers, and that means some of them are now charging fees for not having your printers online. 

What does this mean for you and how can you avoid getting charged a fee for not having your devices online? 

As a print vendor that partners with Xerox, who just announced an Unconnected/Disabled Device Fee, we want to address this issue upfront with you so that you understand exactly why you could be charged an unconnected device fee if you don’t take appropriate action.  

We’re going to expand on what keeping your printer online means, why it’s important, the consequences of not doing it and how you can connect your printer to an online cloud server so you can avoid any type of unconnected device fee. 

What Does Keeping Your Printer Online Mean? 

As briefly mentioned in the introduction, placing and keeping your printer online in this instance means connecting your device to a cloud server that your print provider can access to offer remote services such as automatically sending you supplies or providing auto-meter reads.  

Sometimes putting your printer “online” gets misconstrued as connecting your printer to your Wi-Fi network, which is something entirely different and is not what will be discussed in this blog.  

Having your printer connected to your print provider’s cloud server allows the provider to execute remote services for you, which ties into the first point in the introduction about how print services have become modernized, and thus, more efficient.   

A lot of consumers opt to include these services via a maintenance or service agreement from their provider, which is usually around $12 a month. 

Some of these remote services from your provider can include: 

  • Automatically shipping your supplies, such as toner or ink cartridges, at the right time based on alerts from the machine indicating that supply levels are low.  

  • Providing you with automatic meter reads so that you know exactly how much you printed or copied in a given month. 

  • Allowing for automatic firmware updates to make sure your device is equipped with the latest security features.  

  • Ensuring that billing for your printing expenses is consistent and remotely managed to avoid logistical conflicts.  

Those are the benefits you get from having your printer connected to your provider’s cloud server, but why are some providers now requiring this? 

Why Is Keeping Your Printer Online Important?  

It was mentioned in the introduction that not having your printer online may result in an unconnected device fee. 

This is because opting out of remote services results in increased service visits for maintenance and supplies that could be avoided if your printer was connected to the provider’s cloud server to allow for remote services. To account for this, some providers are now charging monthly fees, which can be around $10 per device.  

The obvious reason for having your printers on an online server is to avoid the unconnected device fee, but having your printer online also nets you the benefits discussed above. 

Traditionally, print consumers would have to manually handle communication and execution of obtaining supplies, service, meter reads and all the other actions that come with owning a printer. 

Because of advanced printer technology, you can now have these services done automatically and remotely through your provider’s online cloud server, which saves you both time and money in the long run. 

Having your printer online helps providers take a proactive approach to service and supplies instead of a reactive approach, which was the past way of operating when your machine needed maintenance or new supplies.  

What Are the Consequences If You Don’t Have Your Printer Online? 

The effects of not having your printer online were touched upon in the last section, but to give you a clear view of the consequences, here are some of the main ones to be aware of: 

  • You could be charged an unconnected device fee by your provider.  

  • You must manually call your provider for service and supplies solutions. 

  • You have to check for and install firmware updates yourself. 

The impact of having unconnected devices is broad and may change depending on the print provider you are using, but the three mentioned above are some of the most common ones seen throughout the industry.  

2 Ways to Put Your Printer Online 

Now that you know what placing your printer online is, why it’s important and the consequences if you don’t do it, it’s time to go over how to connect your device to your provider’s cloud server.  

It will differ depending on the provider you choose, but there are two primary ways in which you can get your printer online: Either through an application or software link or via device direct. 

Let’s look into these two actions a little more to inform you on how they work: 

  1. Application or Software Link 

The simplest way to place your printer online is by an application or software link sent to you by your provider. 

This link is sent specifically to connect your machine to the provider’s server to allow for the remote services that are a part of having your printer online

An example of this kind of link would be Xerox’s Device Agent (XDA), which is Xerox's software that can be downloaded by the consumer via a link from the provider. 

Just like the device direct option, though, the application or software can be different for every brand, and you should consult your provider if you have questions about how to put your printer online through an application link. 

Use this link to download your own XDA tool. 

  1. Device Direct 

The second way you can place your printer online is by a method called device direct, which means enabling remote services directly from your printer. 

Depending on the manufacturer or model of your machine, the steps to connect your printer to your provider’s server will vary, but most of the time you can find the settings to do this on the internal webpage of your device or through the printer’s user interface. 

You can access your machine’s internal webpage by typing in the IP address of your printer into a web browser on your computer. From there you can log in to your account and complete the required steps to set up your printer online. 

If you have trouble finding the settings to do this, reach out to your print provider or consult your IT staff to receive assistance.  

Example of the internal webpage for a Xerox AltaLink C8070: 

Will Putting Your Printer Online Compromise Your Data? 

A question that commonly comes up in regard to putting your printer online is what types of data are being tracked by the provider to offer remote services. 

It will change depending on the provider you choose, but in general, providers only capture the information they need to execute the services offered. 

For example, Xerox collects only Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) data, which means they only capture the meter reads of the online devices and do not collect the actual contents of the prints or copies. 

Before entering into any type of agreement with a provider, pay close attention to their security policies to make sure you understand what kind of data will be collected with the services offered.  

Security in the workplace has become more prevalent with the growth of technology, and it’s important to inform yourself on the issue of printer security to make sure you are as protected as possible against a security breach.  

Read Xerox’s frequently asked security questions related to data transmission to learn more about remote services. 

If you’re an IT professional that’s concerned about security, read Xerox’s Security White Paper remote services and tools. 

Want a Free Tool That Will Put Your Printer Online? 

The workplace has gone increasingly remote and digital, and office printers have transformed with the times.  

Print providers have recognized this and now offer actions like toner shipments and meter reads as a remote service that can be used to increase efficiency and eliminate communication gaps in the workplace. 

But you must have your printer connected to your provider’s cloud server to reap the benefits, and because unconnected device fees are becoming more frequent, you may have to place your printer online to avoid the extra fee. 

Though it can sound intimidating at first, putting your printer online is usually a simple process that, as mentioned previously, comes with benefits. 

Earlier, we talked about the two ways that you can place your printer online (device direct and via an application link). 

If you have a Xerox machine and want to place your printer online using the device direct option, we can help walk you through the steps it takes to execute that option. 

If you want to put your printer online via an application or software link, we offer a free Print Management Tool that will help you connect your printer to the server while also allowing you to see your usage and supply levels from a single dashboard. 

And if you have any further questions about this topic or want to learn more about the ways you can place your printer online, reach out to us and we will guide you through the process.