Printing best practices are good guidelines to follow to make your printing as efficient, cost-effective and secure as possible. These printing guidelines must be considered in relation to your unique environment and procedures but are always good to implement when it is possible and reasonable.
Printing is something that has declined in recent years as we are moving to a more paperless business world, but there is still a strong need to printing in the work place. Client invoices, weekly or monthly reports, proposals, human resource material, training documents or marketing materials, printing is still a huge part of businesses, big and small. Many business class printer /copiers are called MFD’s (Multi Function Devices) because the can not only print, but they can scan documents, fax, email and in some instances be used as a full document management tool. These additional functions have further secured the printer /copier’s place in business.
Printing Best Practices – General
- Use “print preview” to proof documents. Check for errors prior to clicking print.
- Print in black & white. Most documents don’t require color. Remember that when printing in color, any color it finds on the page will be printed… even that ad banner you don’t need or the unrelated graphic on the document.
- Use color only when necessary. This goes hand-n-hand with #3. Color can cost more that 5x that of a black & white copy. Save some money on color toner/ink costs or your monthly printing bill.
- Use “draft” quality for all but most important documents. Internal communications, meeting materials and notes, presentation notes etc. can all be printed as a draft to save on toner /ink usage. The quality is perfectly good for reading and storing but not as “robust” as the standard or high quality printing modes.
- Default setting for duplex (double-sided) printing. Save paper. most documents can be made double sided. Make it the default so the end users have to change it in the printer preferences window to make it single sided.
- Use User Codes. User codes help you control who accesses and can print on your printer /copier. Set them up for individuals or departments according to how your business or organization is set-up. On some devices, print limits can be set for individual users or departments depending on how your have it set up for your business or organization.
- Scan documents that don’t need to be printed. We it can be done digitally, DON’T PRINT. If we only need a document to email, why not scan it to a digital file and attach that to the email and save some paper and toner /ink. You can also “print” to a PDF which comes in handy for things like saving confirmations of online purchases or anything that you need to save but don’t need a paper copy of it
- Keep supplies. Keep at least one extra toner /ink, extra paper and extra waste bottles that your device may use so you are not caught in the middle of a printing and run out. It always happens when you are up against a deadline.
- Store your paper in a cool dry place. Paper absorbs moisture. Moisture makes paper curl. Curled paper can increase your printer /copiers’ paper jams and your frustration. Preserve your paper and save money and frustration.
- Use standby and sleep modes. Save money on electricity. The printer /copier is usually on all day with periodic usage. Standby and Sleep Modes allow the machine to ‘idle’ and reduce energy consumption when not in use. Also helps to not have to do a full start-up each time you want to use the device. We hate waiting for the copier to warm up.
Bonus Printing Best Practice:
Printing Best Practices – Security
When talking printer security we think mainly of networked printer /copiers. A network printer is a printer /copier that is accessible by network connection, making it usable by other computers connected to the network. There ARE also security tools at the device level that apply to both networked and stand-alone printers /copiers. Consider these printing best practices for securing your printer.
- Change Admin Password. Most printer /copiers come with a default Admin password. This can usually be easily found on manufacturers websites. Change your password (at the least) and your user name (to be a little extra)
- Disable services that you do not need. Printer/ copier insecure and unnecessary protocols enabled by default (e.g., Telnet, HTTP, FTP). These services enabled, provides attackers with the ability to access the printer data directly
- Set an IP access filter on your printer. Restrict access to the printer by designating what ip’s are allowed to access it.
- Block outside traffic to your printer. Your printers should be ‘behind’ your firewall like your office network.
- Use encrypted connections when accessing the printer administrative control panel. When at all possible use secure connections to your printers. This is especially important if you remote access them or your network.