A print server establishes a link between a shared networked printer and users' computers. Print jobs are sent from the users' computers' to the server and then to the printer.
There are a number of benefits to having a printer hosted on our server:
- Security: The default configuration of most shared printers is to accept print jobs from any device connected to the Intenet, leaving printers vulnerable to denial of service attacks, spam print jobs, and abuse. When configured to allow print jobs only from a print server, these problems can largely be eliminated. The ongoing attacks that have resulted in thousands of pages of junk printouts on campus printers could have been avoided if the printers were configured to use a print server.
- Access control: We can restrict access to printers hosted on our server to specific users based on their CalNet IDs.
- Quotas: We can set quotas for individuals or groups. Quota can be set to renew automatically each semester or at some other interval. Once a user has reached his or her quota, that user will no longer be able to print. We can adjust users' quotas as needed.
- Reporting: We can generate reports on printer usage, providing detailed information on who the largest print users are, what types of jobs people are printing (color or black and white, for instance), etc. Reports can be scheduled automatically and emailed to interested parties.
- Troubleshooting: When a printer is hosted on a print server, some problems can be diagnosed and corrected remotely. Print jobs that are stuck in the print queue can be deleted.
- Compatibility: Our service is fully compatible with both Macs and PCs running current versions of Mac OS and Windows. In addition, printers managed by UCSF can be hosted on our server; our print accounting services would be in addition to whatever UCSF provides.
To get started, we will need to meet with you to discuss your specific needs. As we move forward, we will need some information including the following:
- The model numbers, locations, and IP addresses or hostnames of the printers.
- Lists of CalNet IDs of users you would like to be able to print to the printers.
- Details on what printing restrictions or quotas (if any) that you would like to have.
- Your reporting needs, if you would like regularly scheduled reports. (Ad hoc reports are available on request.)
To schedule an appointment to meet with us, please contact us at LSIT@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail).
Implementation and deployment
A typical implementation of our print services involves several steps:
- The CalNet IDs for authorized print users will be added to groups in the campus Active Directory system.
- The printers will be added to our server. We will set printing defaults in whatever way the department wishes.
- We will configure any desired printing restrictions and other features that you would like.
- The printers will need to be added to the client computers, and the old printer mappings will need to be removed. We can automate adding printers for Windows computers using Active Directory group policies. We will provide documentation on how the printers should be mapped for both Windows machines and Macs. CSS IT can assist in connecting client computers to printers on the print server.
- Once all the client computers have been connected to server, we or CSS IT can change the security configuration of the printers to restrict access to the print server.
Our print server is a virtual machine in the campus data center running Windows Server software and PaperCut NG(link is external), a print management tool that provides for quotas, accounting, reporting, and other features. The server is backed up using the campus UC Backup service.
Printer Maintenance Contracts, MFD Install/Removal
LSIT can help you implement printer maintenance contracts, and assist with the setup, configuration, and proper removal of multi-function printer/copiers.
- Coordination of printer maintenance contracts, including working directly with vendors and with the UCSF Print Management Program(link is external).
- Assisting with the installation and decommissioning of networked pinters and multifunction devices (printer, copier, scanner), including networking, firewall, and configuration, working with vendors and CSS-IT. Decommissioning modern multi-function devices properly is important because they scan and store everything you copy on an internal disk drive. This drive must be properly destroyed or wiped to prevent potentially sensitive information from leaving your posession.
In addition, LSIT can meet with departments to discuss different printing solutions.