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Making “bring your own everything” work for campus print

by Scott Garvin

Students are no longer just bringing their own devices; they’re bringing their own everything (BYOE). Cloud storage services, email and more — and they want them all to work with campus print.

Students are opting to use their own cloud storage and devices, rather than depend on college-issued devices that are pre-configured to work with your campus print resources. Since 2010, the number of devices per student has skyrocketed by about 350 percent, according to Educause. At the same time, services like Dropbox, Google Drive(TM) and Box have also surged in use among students — challenging many higher education administrators to reconsider the pervasive role of BYOE in students’ academic lives. 

Your IT department can bridge the divide between students’ BYOE needs and your ability to offer mobile printing by implementing a carefully considered cloud printing plan.

And herein lies the conflict: Students want their technologies to work with your campus print resources in a pain-free way. They want to print from different devices and services — whether they belong to the school or the student — all while your campus IT department scrambles to ensure that BYOE and mobile printing does not compromise information privacy and security. In one survey1 of senior campus IT officials, “supporting mobile computing” ranked among their top priorities.

Your IT department can bridge the divide between students’ BYOE needs and your ability to offer mobile printing by implementing a carefully considered cloud printing plan. With the cloud, you can give your students great experiences printing from their own cloud storage accounts or devices, without threatening your IT infrastructure and policies. But how do you go about it?

1. Spread the wealth: Evaluate how your BYOE strategy fits into your overall goals for campus print — improving everything from student printing to faculty and production printing. For example:

  • Decentralize your print fleet to deliver a self-service model that allows your students to print to on-campus printers from their off-campus apartments.
  • Install small touch-optimized kiosks next to your on-campus printers, so printing is BYOE-friendly and headache-free for both students and your IT team.

In the kiosk example, students would enjoy the convenience of simply using an app or logging into their cloud service directly on a kiosk to print — cutting out the extra steps that can contribute to long wait times. Your students would no longer be forced to find a campus computer and then pull out their laptop, log in to their cloud account or email a document to themselves from their device, and then finally print.

2. Flexibility, not compromise, on policy: Opening up your campus print to a wider variety of devices and cloud services doesn’t have to mean forgoing your print policy — and overextending your budget. Consider how easily you could sync mobile printing with the chargeback and print management systems you already have in place. Aligning your back-end print systems with mobile capabilities helps to:

Enable digital natives on your campus today

Get more information on how your university can implement cloud-based printing and embrace BYOE, and check out the different ways you can take print beyond the device to “everything."
  • Ensure that not just anyone can wander in and print hundreds of pages.
  • Make it easy for students to print from their own cloud accounts and devices
  • Help IT manage print traffic and costs campus-wide, ensuring a better, quicker print experience for everyone.

You may also consider establishing a campus-wide list of approved services and versions of those services. Doing so averts the IT headache of students using 10 different versions of Google Drive, and the complaints and troubleshooting that come when some students aren’t able to print from some versions. If there’s copyrighted content involved, managed mobile printing could also help your BYOE users avoid infringing on intellectual property.

3. Bring security to BYOE: Higher education is a prime target for breaching security. The documents that students print from their devices and cloud accounts can contain the type of very personal, sensitive data that is often at the heart of the debate around the use of cloud in higher education. When making a significant change to your printing policy, the security of related information is critical. That’s where back-end integration comes in, helping to streamline and secure communication between students’ devices, networks and services and the printers they’re trying to reach. The location of your print server is also an item to consider. On-premise print servers can offer more control, while remotely hosted and managed print servers can save your IT team time and headaches. Based on your needs, both could accommodate the right balance of security and BYOE through encryption.

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Scott Garvin, Regional Manager, Higher Education, Ricoh USA, Inc., leads the strategy development and alignment of Ricoh’s higher education sales organization, and builds strategic customer relationships.
1 "Something Old, Something New." October 29, 2015.