Different users with different requirements. Some users need to print directly with immediate job release, others need secure printing. In addition, satellite offices often require greater flexibility to store print jobs in the cloud until they are securely released at a device. uniFLOW Online 2020.1 provides the solution; highly flexible and easy to configure.
Scanning becomes even more powerful by adding the new scan destination Therefore™ Online and ensuring users can find target scan folders faster. Additional supported identity management services centralize management of user access.
Using non-default passwords increases security immensely as it keeps botnets, who rely on default passwords, from gaining access. This is also true for printers running in a network environment. The non-default password policy has now been extended to the uniFLOW Online applets installed on connected devices. With the deployment update to 2020.1 uniFLOW Online creates unique passwords for all existing and new tenants upon tenant creation. Please note that this non-default password becomes immediately effective after updating to MEAP/AddOn v4.10.3 or later.
Local job submission via a SmartClient requires a user’s client PC to communicate to the device. The local network environment however is not always set up to allow this which makes local job submission impossible. As well as local storage locations for secure print jobs, print jobs can now be stored in uniFLOW Online too. This means, secure print jobs travel from the uniFLOW SmartClient (for Windows) to the cloud and are securely stored in uniFLOW Online until a user releases them at a device; print jobs are released from the cloud directly to the device. By default, the job information is also stored in the cloud so printing becomes independent of the corporate network.
Universal Output Queue
The Universal Output Queue enables printing directly to any device without the need to install device specific drivers. This is suitable where secure printing is not required e.g.front desk personnel printing for customers without leaving their desk or printing from host systems.
The Universal Output Queue reduces time on deploying print queues and drivers to end-users significantly. As the uniFLOW SmartClient can be installed and registered silently, end-user involvement is not required. It provides a single print queue for end-users to print to any printer within the company network. Information about newly added devices will be received by the uniFLOW SmartClient automatically. Neither the administrator nor the end-user need to update or maintain printer drivers.
Fully vendor independent
Multi-vendor devices of any brand or model can be integrated as network printers. Devices integrated as network printers can be used directly using Universal Output Queue. Multi-vendor devices can also be integrated via the uniFLOW Release Station to enable Secure Printing.
Target folder selection options
A folder structure can be complex and navigating to the desired target folder time consuming. By specifying a target folder path, users do not need to navigate as scanned documents are stored directly in the appointed target folder. Users also have the option to browse further, starting from the specified target folder.
Instead of a specified target folder, the last selected folder can be used. After an initial successful scan, the selected folder will be stored for each user. The next time that same user scans a document, folder selection starts at the last selected folder.
Target folder selection is available for the following destinations: Box, Dropbox, Evernote®, Microsoft OneDrive® and Google Drive™.
Folder path rules
To find documents quickly, a useful folder structure could include attributes such as date or user name. uniFLOW Online not only allows scanning directly to those folders; it can also create these during the scan process which improves end-user productivity. The administrator can build folder creation rules by using a variety of tokens via a simple drag & drop process.
Document splitting rules
Scanning large volumes of documents in a single lot requires automatic separation of the documents. Document splitting rules for scanning have been implemented to reduce the need for manual separation. With uniFLOW Online 2020.1 splitting after ‘Every x page’, ‘Blank pages’ and ‘Barcodes’ is available.
Scan to Therefore™ Online
Therefore™ Online provides all the benefits of information management without the inconveniences or upfront costs of servers. uniFLOW Online provides the interface to scan documents directly to Therefore™ Online using meta data and multiple templates, including case management support.
Support of new IDaaS providers via OpenID Connect
With uniFLOW Online 2020.1 new IDaaS providers are supported via OpenID Connect, allowing even more customers to use the identity providers commonly used within their organization e.g. AuthO, Okta, OneLogin™, Ping Identity. In addition, it is possible to configure other ‘OpenID Connect’ identity providers manually.
uniFLOW Online in Microsoft Azure App Gallery
The Microsoft Azure Marketplace is an online store that offers applications and services based on or designed to integrate with Microsoft's Azure public cloud. The uniFLOW Online app is now available for download in the Microsoft Azure App Gallery: https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/. This will allow administrators to use even more pre-configured claim action mappings.
In order to reduce costs, businesses remove single desk printers in favor of more cost-effective shared devices. Without pull print functionalities however, this means that documents could accidentally fall into the wrong hands or even be intercepted maliciously. Today, businesses must be more security conscious particularly in light of regulations such as GDPR which can allow fines to be levied against those who do not react. Now is the time to secure the print environment with a solution that will support a flexible workforce and boost productivity.
Document security is preserved because a user must be physically at a device to gain access and release their print jobs or to use the available scan profiles. Users simply authenticate using one of the following options.
uniFLOW Online enables users to print securely wherever they are working; they can print from their desktop PC or their mobile phone. uniFLOW Online promotes BYOD policies so users, especially guests, can print from their devices securely.
With My Print Anywhere, print jobs follow users from device to device allowing print jobs to be released at any printer within a location. Users can also alter finishing options directly at the device before printing.
All print jobs are stored in a user’s personal secure queue until the user is ready to release them at a printer of their choice. Users can select which of their print jobs to release from a list displayed directly on the device screen. If required, finishing options can be changed without the need to resubmit the print job, saving valuable time.
A wide range of Canon devices have an embedded platform for integration with uniFLOW Online. Devices without an embedded platform can be connected via the uniFLOW Release Station which offers the same look and feel as an embedded applet.
When implementing cloud processes for the print infrastructure doubts about security and data breaches arise. uniFLOW Online addresses these challenges e.g. easily setting up the environment so that a user’s print job always stays within the local network.
uniFLOW Online allows businesses to mix ‘n match different setups based on location. Some locations might be running a client software called uniFLOW SmartClient while others make use of Direct Secure Print. Each location can be configured independently from each other, providing greater flexibility.
On November 22nd Google have announced that they will discontinue support for Google Cloud Print™ as of 1st January, 2021. Rather than relying on plug-ins, apps or extensions that need to be installed on each Chromebook, NT-ware have been working directly with Google for the past few months to ensure that both, uniFLOW and uniFLOW Online, will work with the native print functions of ChromeOS.
Supporting the native ChromeOS functionality will allow users to print directly to uniFLOW and uniFLOW Online without administrators needing to make any changes to their Chromebook fleet. To make this happen, development was required by both Google and NT-ware. In the new year NT-ware will announce when the native ChromeOS support for uniFLOW and uniFLOW Online will be available and which minimum Chrome version is required for it. Until its discontinuation on 1st January 2021, both uniFLOW and uniFLOW Online will continue to support Google Cloud Print™.
uniFLOW Online is continuously improved to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. Since its last update, additional features have been added which are important to our customers so we at NT-ware decided for an deployment update outside of the regular release period. Equally important for us was the implementation of some minor bugs fixes to ensure our software meets the highest quality requirements.
These new functionalities are available immediately to our customers, provided the required subscriptions are activated.
Today NT-ware Systemprogrammierungs-GmbH announces the recent transition of the COSMOS business from Canon Europe to NT-ware Enterprise Solutions GmbH in Stuttgart, which is a 100% subsidiary of NT-ware. The official acquisition date is August 1, 2019. NT-ware, developers of the leading print and scan management applications uniFLOW and uniFLOW Online, aim to strengthen its already powerful software portfolio into the enterprise space, and benefit from the high knowledge and skill set of the COSMOS employees.
The COSMOS software is a highly flexible workflow management application that can equip customers with a secure, unified and well-managed document input and output processing system. It can help embrace digital delivery systems, enhance customer information, and integrate all critical document processes into one streamlined system. Customers can leverage their existing software tools and processes by allowing COSMOS to centrally control multiple processes through them. With bi-directional communication, results are monitored, checked and validated. Improving customers’ competitive edge and shortening customer response times.
COSMOS is ideal for applications across a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, banking, insurance and logistics. With its certified SAP connections COSMOS can accept, analyze and transfer any data output from the SAP Output Management System and convert it into nice looking documents before they are sent for printing or email distribution. All data output is accurately routed and tracked by COSMOS.
By adding COSMOS to its portfolio and investing in its future, NT-ware expands its base in the enterprise and production print market segment. Furthermore, by integrating some of the advanced COSMOS technologies, like the highly flexible workflow engine and enterprise ERP connections, into uniFLOW on-premise and its public cloud solution, uniFLOW Online, NT-ware can expand their enterprise reach as well.
‘By integrating the COSMOS product and technology in our core products uniFLOW and uniFLOW Online, and by utilizing our proven support structures, we have the opportunity to expand the COSMOS business globally,’ says Karsten Huster, President and CEO of NT-ware. ‘In addition, COSMOS customers can profit from uniFLOW technology becoming available in COSMOS, and from NT-ware’s experience in developing public cloud solutions.’
Located in the center of Bad Laer in Lower Saxony, Hotel Storck is an ideal point from which to explore the Teutoburger Forest, one of the most attractive recreational areas in the region. The hotel has been owned by the Storck family since 1938 and is now managed by the third generation.
Customer Challenges and Requirements
Hotel Storck is also a popular meeting place for local companies, as business and team meetings are held in the hotel conference rooms. These business guests frequently need to print a variety of documents such as presentations, meeting notes or flight tickets. Additionally, recreational guests of the hotel wish to print hiking or biking routes for the Teutoburger Forest. The growing guest numbers have led to an increasing number of print requests, prompting Hotel Storck to look for a solution that would provide additional service and benefit for its guests while simultaneously reducing the organizational effort of hotel staff in printing documents for guests.
The Solution – Mobile Printing for Guests
uniFLOW Online is a powerful cloud print solution that offers a mobile guest printing functionality to enable hotel guests to securely print documents themselves. Users can use their smartphones or tablets to send their documents to the dedicated mobile printing email address or by scanning the promoted QR-code. Guests then receive a job code which they can use to unlock the device and release the print job from the user’s secure print queue. When Hotel Storck heard about this solution, which solves the challenge of the increased number of print jobs, they decided to purchase a Canon i-SENSYS printer, which is now used in combination with a uniFLOW Online Basic Printing subscription for mobile guest printing in their house. With this solution, mobile printing has become easy for guests and the effort for hotel staff has been reduced.
Nico Stöppelmann, the third generation hotel manager, summarizes the benefits of uniFLOW Online for Hotel Storck as follows: “Offering a mobile printing service to our guests has led to a noticeable increase in guest satisfaction. Implementation of uniFLOW Online Mobile Printing was smooth and fast; it was up and running within a few minutes.”
With its advanced scanning capabilities, uniFLOW Online already offers a wide range of applications. These have now been extended with the ability to scan password-protected, encrypted PDF documents. The fleet of supported Canon multifunctional print devices has also been extended. Managing high numbers of users is easier to handle through automated user management. In addition, the uniFLOW SmartClient communication has been greatly improved and can now be rolled out silently to end-users, making the rollout of uniFLOW Online even more convenient.
Cloud-based Encryption for scanned PDFs
Scan document security is greatly improved as they can now be encrypted via industry standard AES-128/256. Adding a password at the end of the scanning process will encrypt the scanned document and ensures only authorized users are able to access the document. This can be especially crucial if documents are stored in a shared folder.
Scanning for Canon imageRUNNER and Canon i-SENSYS/ imageCLASS
Scanning is now available on a range of selected Canon imageRUNNER and i-SENSYS/ imageCLASS devices supporting eULM. The devices are capable of showing up to 12 scan profiles on the local user interface. To setup a scan profile, multiple scan templates are available, including templates for the following scan destinations: Myself, Google Drive™, Box, Dropbox, Evernote®, Microsoft OneDrive® and Microsoft OneDrive® for Business.
Bulk Management of Users, Groups and Departments
Managing users manually can be time consuming and error prone. uniFLOW Online now sits on top of Windows PowerShell tooling which enables tasks to be automated e.g.
The interface to PowerShell offers the means to administer user, group and department related base data with ease. It is a major timesaver and can add or remove users’ subscriptions automatically based on pre-set parameters.
Automatic User Creation via Google Identity Provider
With this latest release, administrators can enable self-signup of Google identities. The functionality, already known for Microsoft Office 365, allows a user to register to uniFLOW Online himself and will then assign subscriptions to the newly created user upon first login.
This relieves IT administrators and allows a user driven rollout of uniFLOW Online.
Real-time communication between the uniFLOW SmartClient and devices is introduced. This means all communication regarding job information and the release request is handled via uniFLOW Online. The print job itself however remains in the local company network and is sent directly from the uniFLOW SmartClient to the device. Smooth communication is ensured, even across different networks. Security conscious companies do not need to open up ports in their network to facilitate device communication with the uniFLOW SmartClient.
Resilience when outdated Software Versions are used
Where an older version of uniFLOW MEAP Client/ uniFLOW AddOn Client, or uniFLOW SmartClient is used, communication automatically switches back to bi-directional communication between uniFLOW SmartClient and devices.
Resilience in the Event of external Network Failure
If the cloud is not reachable, the print job information cannot be stored in the cloud even though ‘cloud’ has been confirmed as the print job information storage location. Instead, users can select a device from a list of all available printers within the user’s location to print directly to the device. This ensures business processes are not interrupted and users can still print.
Silent User Registration
With 2019.3 the uniFLOW SmartClient can be installed silently to a user’s Windows PC. This provides easy installation and registration without end-user involvement, which improves the end-user experience and reduces requests sent to a company’s support desk.
Canon’s newly launched imageRUNNER with AddOn Platform, the 2600 series, is now available for uniFLOW Online. Canon imageRUNNER with AddOn Platform devices can be added via the Devices Setup Utility or via the device’s ‘uniFLOW Online Setup’-button and are capable of supporting a wide set of uniFLOW Online features.
Mobile print jobs and uniFLOW Online notifications can now be sent and received via an external email provider. Both an IMAPS account for emails sent to uniFLOW Online per tenant and an SMTP account for emails sent by uniFLOW Online can be configured.
Configuring an external email provider promotes the company identity as users can send their mobile print jobs to the company email address and receive notifications from a recognized company email address.
Every business has its own unique requirements. An hotel might like to offer printing to its guests. Another may wish to ensure that their external sales force can print in every subsidiary. Maybe freelance employees should be supported through bring-your-own-device policies for printing? The list of requirements are wide ranging.
uniFLOW Online has proven to be the perfect solution in even dynamic work environments. Here are some examples.
Introducing secure printing and scanning in multiple subsidiaries is seamless with uniFLOW Online. Within one tenant, multiple locations can be created with individual configurations. Reporting data is available for the whole tenant or can be seen on a per location basis. This can all be managed easily as administrators have just a single platform from which to manage users and devices.
Major events or constructions sites need to have a well-functioning local infrastructure. As these sites are temporary it’s vital that the set-up is fast and uncomplicated. uniFLOW Online offers the perfect solution as it can be setup in minutes. No servers are required and employees have the same comfort and document security they are used to having at their regular business sites.
Soon around 40% of field service-work is carried out by contractors who either work as full-time freelancers or are employed on a performance-based wage. Although the majority of work is conducted outside a business’ office building, contractors often use the business facilities and need printing and scanning capabilities to close a deal. With uniFLOW Online, they can easily print and scan on all available devices. But why limit these capabilities to devices within the office? There is no need to; Single Function Printers suitable for home offices can be connected to uniFLOW Online. All printing costs can be accurately allocated back to the department or even the user.
As far as hotels, training-centers and exhibitions are concerned, customer service is key to their success. Guests must be made to feel welcome and the ability to print flight tickets, training materials or hand-outs adds those little extras to a package. Mobile Printing means guests can easily print their documents with their own devices and without any configuration. Furthermore, devices do not even need to be part of the business´ network which eliminates another security threat.
In shared offices and co-working spaces, employees from different businesses - mostly start-ups - share a single printer. The printer must be located somewhere accessible by everyone. This raises a major security risk as documents could easily fall into wrong hands. uniFLOW Online secures co-working spaces; devices remain locked until users have authenticated and only then will print jobs be released. Furthermore, costs incurred can be allocated back to the individual businesses.
Like to learn more? Contact one of our Canon experts to discuss your needs.
In March 2019 we highlighted five reasons why cloud services can beat server security. Today we will discuss three reasons why public clouds can beat private clouds. Before examining the advantages of public clouds, we will review the importance of cloud-computing and differences between public and private cloud.
In 2018 cloud-computing celebrated an all-time high: cloud-computing use has grown by 15% in one year1. As a result of increased security, file encryption before cloud storage and cloud storage technology enhancements, both cloud service options, private and public, were becoming increasingly popular. The private cloud targets the needs and goals of a single organization with its focus on continuous maintenance and administration per single customer installation. This can be delivered in a SaaS concept by a service provider or managed by the individual business itself.
Public cloud systems are hosted by companies in a SaaS (Software as a Service) concept as well but the service is offered to multiple clients. This includes providing holistic solutions for creating, securing and maintaining the cloud. Public clouds are available to the general public via the internet and have a higher scalability because they are designed for multi-tenant2 environments. Multi-tenant architecture allows tenants to share the cloud service and resources. Its main advantage is that at the same time all tenant data in the public cloud remains isolated from other tenants.3typo3/#_ftn3
The main difference between public and private cloud solutions is the technical and personal management of the cloud service. If you use a public cloud solution, you will not be responsible for the management of this service.4typo3/#_ftn4 The cloud provider takes care of maintenance, security, software updates and, if necessary, hardware upgrades of the services. Businesses benefit from this model in particular because internal IT staff and resources can be made available for other jobs and projects.5typo3/#_ftn5
Advantages of public cloud solutions
Of course, both cloud services have their advantages and both services can be the right choice, depending on requirements. From a business perspective, there are three reasons as to why public clouds can beat private clouds.
For every company the most important requirement of a public cloud is that company data is protected. To achieve this goal for its customers, public cloud providers spend a lot money on security features since that’s one of the main characteristics6/7.typo3/#_ftn7 Indeed a RightScale survey from 2017 demonstrates that the public cloud is becoming more attractive even for enterprises. Nowadays, enterprises are managing 32% of their workload in a public cloud environment; although the figure is 43% of managed workflows in a private cloud solution8. The gap is getting smaller.
Consider the consequences if you are providing a web-based application on a private cloud solution but the data center has a failure? At best, a lot of extra time and effort, at worst loss of credibility. Public cloud solutions have an almost zero-failure rate. A public cloud system consists of many servers which are interconnected; if one has a failure, another server takes over the workload so there is continuous availability9.typo3/#_ftn9
3. Saving costs
The third advantage is the potential for cost savings. While using a public cloud solution, a company doesn´t have to pay for its creation, operation or maintenance. In fact, the company is not required to pay for any of the IT infrastructure removing the need for the additional IT staff who would be required to run a cloud solution properly. The public cloud services can be managed by the providers’ existing IT staff. Beside this, the overall costs of a public cloud are spread across all its tenants which, in turn, further reduces costs for every tenant10.typo3/#_ftn10
It´s your choice
If your company wants to achieve a high-level of security, an independent and failure-free cloud availability as well as huge cost savings, then the public cloud can be your way to go.
2 Hwang, K. (2017): Cloud Computing for Machine Learning and Cognitive Applications. Cambridge: Western Publishing Services
Up till some years ago, scanning has only been used to digitalize and archive paper. Today scanning has become increasingly important as business requirements have evolved. Barcodes need to be recognized, image processing optimizes scan results and scanned files need to be stored to different cloud services. Easy access and distribution of digitalized documents, less paper waste for a greener planet as well as increased data security are just a few examples which confirm the importance of scanning documents.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has also an importance for companies wanting to improve efficiency in their business processes. The great benefit of OCR is that scanned documents are converted into editable and searchable data.
By integrating optimized and improved scanning processes into daily working practices, cloud-based scanning solutions such as uniFLOW Online can enhance the users’ workflows thanks to a range simplified scanning processes. .
With uniFLOW Online, scanning becomes simpler and more flexible. Once a user has been authenticated at the device, the preferred scan workflow can be chosen at any supported device which is connected to uniFLOW Online. A user can also easily adjust several scanning settings manually directly at the device.
Once scan settings have been set, and the scan process has been triggered, the documents are cleaned up, sorted and aligned with uniFLOW Online. If the original document contained blank pages, these will be removed thanks to blank page removal. When lots of receipts are placed on the scanner haphazardly, they will be straightened, cropped and saved as single documents in a receipt storage location thanks to multi-crop and de-skewing. A file containing a barcode e.g. an invoice in which the barcode contains additional information, will be recognized thanks to the automatic barcode recognition. In addition to these functions, uniFLOW Online provides a wide range of output formats e.g. a file can be compressed to less than 5% of its original size (Average result of iHQC Level 3 cloud compression compared to non-compressed files.) Or users can make sure documents are searchable or editable; uniFLOW Online has it all!
Did you know the cloud-based OCR engine, utilized by uniFLOW Online, supports over 130 languages? Certainly, the languages that are important for your business will also be included.
There are many ways to store files online these days so uniFLOW Online provides a variety of scan destinations. Users can choose ‘Scan to Myself’ or scan to different cloud providers e.g. Google Drive TM, Dropbox or Microsoft SharePoint© which can easily be integrated to users’ personal scan workflow. Scans will be stored in users’ selected cloud destination.
uniFLOW Online scan workflows will improve document security as well as user productivity. It will also reduce errors caused by manual processing.
Alongside the features mentioned before, uniFLOW Online also offers a variety of possibilities to adjust users’ scan settings so that scanned files are automatically structured, cleaned up and compressed before being distributed to users’ favored scan destinations.
In light of market changes, business requirements and the benefits of a cloud-based scanning solution, uniFLOW Online is optimizing the way your business´s document handling.
Make it simple – uniFLOW Online provides a secure print and scan environment ensuring that a company of any size can profit from its use. Key operations, such as tenant creation and user management, can now be performed directly on the screens of third generation Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices. The uniFLOW SmartClient installation and registration process has been significantly improved, making the installation for end-users simpler. In addition, Direct Secure Print offers the ‘My Print Anywhere’ functionality without client-software using just a device’s native printer driver. The new Function Level Login enhances access behavior with the ability to restrict access to specific function categories as they will require users to login whilst others can be accessed without login.
Tenant creation and device registration can now be completed from the device’s operation panel. After selecting the ‘uniFLOW Online Setup’ button an administrator has the option to either register a device or create a tenant. Using the tenant creation wizard, a new uniFLOW Online Express tenant can be created and the device directly connect to this tenant. The administrator receives the tenant information both as a print out and email (pre-inputed email address required).
uniFLOW Online 2019.2 introduces a new login method - ‘Image login + optional PIN code’. Users can quickly find their profile by using one of the provided login images or uploading their own image. Unlike existing login methods users can define their PIN code themselves rather than using an auto-created PIN code. The new login method supports up to 48 user profiles.
Users can be created directly at the device’s user interface when the login method is set to ‘image login + optional PIN code’. Targeted at smaller companies, this function can significantly reduce administrative overheads and still make accessing the device secure but easy for users.
Users can now also edit their existing user profiles at the device. Requesting a user’s PIN code ensures, only the authorized user has access to his profile. The simple and intuitive operation increases user satisfaction and reduces requests to the IT department.
The installation and registration process of the uniFLOW SmartClient, a small client application running on the users desktop, has been improved to establish it as the preferred solution in a variety of business environments.
The installation and registration processes have been separated. Administrators can decide to first roll-out the installation to the whole company then carry out registration either straight away or at a later date.
The layout of the registration user interface and the configuration steps have been updated and simplified. During registration a user is only asked to enter his tenant login data to connect the uniFLOW SmartClient.
Direct Secure Print provides secure My Print Anywhere without using client software, minimizing IT overhead. The function is provided by using the native device force hold functionality of third generation Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices.
Print jobs are directly sent to a holder device. (1) While the print job itself stays with the holder device, the job information is sent to uniFLOW Online. A user can pick up his print job at any supported device within the location. (2) The device at which the job is released receives the job information from uniFLOW Online and (3) requests the print job from the holder device. This means users will see all their print jobs, including mobile print jobs, i n a single queue (4) from where each one can be released.
Print jobs can still be printed when in emergency mode i.e. internal network is available but there is no internet so uniFLOW Online cannot be reached.
Direct Secure Print and uniFLOW SmartClient can be enabled per location therefore used within one uniFLOW Online installation.
Function Level Login enhances access behavior so login is only required for specific functions.
Functions can also be restricted based on device location e.g. a company wants to implement the highest security settings for its accounting and HR departments so needs to restrict all device functions for these locations to authorized users only. At the same time its training center participants need to be able to copy training materials, so for this location, copy functions would not be restricted
There is nothing more valuable to a company than its data and the smooth running of its day-to-day business. Reliable servers are therefore critical to a company's success but investing in an on-site solution is costly. When choosing local servers, business owners often do not consider all the expenses this will incur; the focus is on the initial hardware costs which are just the tip of the iceberg. It is much more interesting to take a look at what is beneath the surface i.e. the hidden costs which include operating costs, maintenance and energy consumption. Operating costs are directly related to a company's business processes and buyers know these costs will be incurred although not always to what extent. Unforeseen expenses also invariably add to the original purchase price thus significantly increasing the total cost of ownership.
This article highlights all server related costs, whether obvious, operational or hidden, that should be considered when purchasing a server.
Server: The cost of the server itself gets the most attention from potential buyers; everything stands and falls with the server infrastructure which is adapted to business requirements.
Server replacement: Statistics show that by the time a server reaches its fifth year of use it has only 40% of the original performance level. For this reason, servers are usually replaced in their fifth year to prevent performance degradation and the increased risk of hardware failure.
Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC): It is necessary to maintain a constant temperature in the server room to ensure devices and data are not to be damaged or lost due to thermal faults. Therefore devices such as heaters and air conditioners are required to ensure trouble-free operation.
Service and maintenance: The older a system becomes, the more often maintenance will be required; it is difficult to fully estimate these long-term costs.
Backups: Data is only as good as the last backup. However, backups are time consuming and IT administrators spend a lot of time securing the data.
Anti-Virus Software: Using a local storage solution requires good antivirus software to guarantee data security. Installing and updating the software is time consuming and costs money.
Upgrades: Upgrades are a time-consuming activity so server upgrades are often postponed to evening hours or the weekend so they do not interfere with normal business operations. Any downtime during regular business hours results in higher costs and interruption of day-to-day business processes.
Downtime: Every minute a server is unavailable costs the company money. Local server owners do not expect downtime. Nevertheless, the availability of local servers in most cases remains below the availability of cloud services such as Microsoft Azure with an uptime of 99.95%.
Testing upgrades: When the company's own IT department is responsible for maintaining servers, administrators spend a lot of time testing new upgrades which means higher costs in terms of manpower and time.
Risk management: Servers are more regularly affected by data breaches in comparison to cloud services because internal IT departments cannot stay ahead of the growing number of potential threats and risks so servers are inadequately secured.
Scalability: Servers are built for the here and now. The lack of flexibility makes it difficult to equip the server for changing resource requirements and handle increasing workloads.
Storage: Storage, CPU grunt and memory to run is limited and if company decisions do not schedule adequate buffers, the server will not be able to meet future business requirements. In the worst case, a new server installation would have to be purchased at extra cost.
Office Space: Noise and heat from the server can disturb employees when the server is located in respective offices. Dedicated server rooms should be spacious to provide adequate air circulation between servers. Both options take up valuable office space.
By looking at both the obvious and hidden costs, it becomes clear why the hidden costs of servers can be related to the iceberg model. Admittedly, purchasing a server is the primary cost but overall the costs below the surface outweigh the initial expense when viewed in the long-term. Therefore, a cloud solution can initially be perceived as expensive by comparison but it may turn out to be the cheaper option in the medium term. At the same time, cloud solutions are becoming increasingly feature-rich and flexible in scale so careful consideration should be given to the advantages and disadvantages of both clouds and servers.
Nowadays cyber-attacks and security breaches are widely publicized by the media and secure storage of data has become of paramount importance for businesses. Over the last year, the average size per data breach has increased by 2.2%. Governments are reacting to these threats by publishing regulations - such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - in order to compel businesses to keep customers’ data secure and safe.
Recently data use has increased exponentially and businesses are facing challenging times keeping information central and secure on their in-house servers. The best alternative is the use of cloud services which enable businesses to process large amounts of data over a secure, online network connection. The majority of individuals and businesses are already using a variety of cloud services without actually realizing they are doing so e.g. by working with cloud-based communication services or sharing programs. The available technologies for cloud solutions can be separated into public and private clouds. A private cloud focusses on the needs and goals of a single organization but it is an investment that needs continuous maintenance and requires in-house IT administration. By contrast public cloud systems are provided by third-party companies who offer software to multiple clients. In this case the cloud service provider is responsible for creating, securing and maintaining the cloud.
Cloud computing was developed two decades ago but has only received a high level of attention during the last years; statistics suggest cloud usage grew 15% during 2018 reaching an all-time high. Cloud computing has many benefits in comparison to the traditional way of processing data via a local server. However, many businesses are missing opportunities by continuing to operate legacy systems as cloud locations are perceived as abstract and not secure enough for business-critical data. Users believe their data is safer when stored on local servers because they think they have more control of the information.
The following topics will explain why public clouds are perceived incorrectly since they are, in fact, as secure as comparable on-site solutions.
These features show cloud services provide mostly much better security in comparison to server security. Studies confirm servers are more often affected by data breaches than cloud solutions. Businesses are often unable to devote the time and resources to maintaining servers regularly, so security threats go undetected. Businesses which do not have the necessary resources at their disposal can delegate the responsibility of managing the software to a cloud provider by using a public cloud.
In summary there are many reasons why cloud services, such as uniFLOW Online, increase business security. According to a recent study, businesses which invest in mobility, big data, cloud and security will enjoy a 53% faster growth in revenue. Furthermore, when businesses migrate to cloud-based services, adapting to global digitalization becomes easier and quicker. Lastly, clouds allow users to run businesses more efficiently, serving customers better as well as increasing overall profit margins.
If you are interested in learning more about secure cloud printing and scanning, contact one of our Canon experts to discuss your needs.
uniFLOW Online 2019.1 introduces print from cloud enabling users to print directly from connected third-party cloud services. The new scan template library provides easy installation of scan profiles. Administration is enhanced thanks to central department ID management and an improved onboarding of Canon imageRUNNER and i-SENSYS/ imageCLASS devices. In addition uniFLOW Online’s user interface has been redesigned.
This new feature enables users to print their cloud stored documents directly from connected Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices. Folder browsing and an option to change finishing options at the device are available. Documents can be saved to a print queue and printed at another time directly from cloud storage. The following cloud services are currently supported: Box, Dropbox, Evernote®, Google Drive™, Microsoft OneDrive®/ OneDrive® for Business, SharePoint® Online
uniFLOW Online 2019.1 introduces the scan template library to setup scan profiles. Search and filter options mean scan templates can be found quickly.
The order of scan profiles can be changed via drag and drop for easier access to the most common scan profiles. Further scanning improvements enable recognition of barcodes and blank pages and remove the need to use a black sheet when scanning receipts.
The native Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE device department ID management provides cost and print log management for small to medium sized companies. However department ID codes had to be set manually on each device. This is no longer necessary as uniFLOW Online 2019.1 extends the native device capabilities by synchronizing up to 100 department ID codes with Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices. Additionally, entering the department ID or department ID + PIN code can be set as a login method.
The ‘uniFLOW Online Setup’ function enables quick onboarding of devices to uniFLOW Online/ uniFLOW Online Express. It leads users through the whole installation and registration process. The latest firmware (v.1.1.0) for supported Canon imageRUNNER and Canon i-SENSYS/ Canon imageCLASS devices also includes the setup button on the device user interface to facilitate direct onboarding of these devices.
In addition, remote onboarding and updating via ‘Device Setup Utility’ is supported. Devices with outdated applet versions are indicated in uniFLOW Online and a link to run the update wizard is provided.
Redesigned user interface
uniFLOW Online is now presented in a new, modern and high-contrast color scheme. Extra changes improve usability and supplementary descriptions have been added to icons.
Improved reporting performance
The way in which data is stored and reports are displayed has been updated. The new data model allows faster access to reports, addressing in particular the needs of companies with large amounts of data. uniFLOW Online 2019.1 also incorporates a filter for specific locations so only data for a selected location is shown in dashboard widgets and reports.
Reporting on departments
Users can be allocated to departments for reporting purposes i.e. print, scan, fax and copy volumes can be easily assigned to individual departments to guarantee precise accounting.
uniFLOW Online is expanding its reach to suit organizations of all sizes. The usability is greatly improved through changes in the user interface and supported by personalized tenant and device update notifications. It also comes with improved resilience in case of network failure, and additional scan destinations and scan output features.
uniFLOW Online 2018.2 expands its reach to suit organizations of all sizes. Organizations can now setup locations to group users and devices e.g. based on the department, floor, or geographical location. Users can only release their print jobs on devices allocated to their location. While a device location is pre-determined, users can move from one location to another. Setting up locations makes sure that internal network traffic is kept at a minimum.
The ‘Notifications’ widget on the dashboard becomes dynamic and shows individualized notifications to users. Administrators are also automatically informed about available updates for connected Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices. The device update wizard looks automatically for updates and lists them in the device overview list. Usability is also greatly improved through a user FAQ providing quick answers to common questions, and through the improved mobile print user interface with additional configuration options for administrators.
Emergency Account Access allows a group of 100 users to access Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices even in the event of network failure. Also the 100 last cached users still have access to the device. AMS permissions continue to apply and can restrict user access to certain device functions only.
With this latest update, scanning in uniFLOW Online is extended by a new scan destination – Scan to Concur® – an travel and expense claim system by SAP®. On top, the scanning output settings have been extended. Administrators can predefine the file name and add tokens to it to display e.g. the user name.
uniFLOW Online 2018.1 further enhances the scanning functionality, incorporates a brand-new device-based connection to uniFLOW Online and comes along with increased security features and a simplified tenant setup and configuration.
uniFLOW Online 2018.1 is released together with the latest update of Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE firmware (version 3.7), which is greatly improving the onboarding process of Canon devices. With the firmware update, uniFLOW Online and uniFLOW Online Express customers can easily install the required MEAP applets, activate the ULM and directly establish the connection to a tenant via a new button ‘uniFLOW Online Setup’ on the device’s touch screen user interface.
With this release, two new subscriptions are available: ‘Basic Scanning’ and ‘Advanced Scanning’. ‘Basic Scanning’ provides additional scan destinations whereas ‘Advanced Scanning’ offers additional image processing options and output formats to the users. As part of the scanning subscriptions, a variety of cloud-based scan destinations are added to the scan proposition of uniFLOW Online as well as the new output format ‘PDF device-compressed’ and the option to control access to scan profiles on a user or group basis.
Existing customers running the ‘Basic Scanning’ subscription as a trial to use the image processing options need to switch to the ‘Advanced Scanning’ subscription to continue using the image processing options.
Existing customers using scan to Google Drive and customers wanting to use any of the new cloud-based scan destinations require to update the Canon MEAP applet to version 4.7. Please see the uniFLOW Online manual for further instructions.
On the Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE line-up, device features can now be restricted in combination with the Canon MEAP Access Management System (AMS) functionality. The AMS functionality allows the administrator to restrict functionality of the device based on the user login. By default, all users have full access to the devices. Administrators can restrict access to specific features on a user or group basis.
With this latest update, the tenant creation wizard within a management tenant has been extended. When creating a customer tenant, administrators can choose within the wizard to either create a uniFLOW Online or uniFLOW Online Express tenant.
This latest addition to uniFLOW Online enhances the scanning functionality and incorporates a brand new, easy to use setup tool for the onboarding of Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices and comes along with the official launch of uniFLOW Online Express.
With the launch of uniFLOW Online 2018.0, uniFLOW Online Express becomes officially available as a product. uniFLOW Online Express is a secure cloud-based authentication, scanning and accounting solution and launched as part of Canon’s award-winning second edition portfolio of 3rd Generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices – combining the latest hardware and software technology. The solution allows customers to create their own tenants via website for tenant self-creation.
This release incorporates a brand-new setup tool which allows to automatically install or update the required MEAP applets, activates ULM, and automatically connects the Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices to uniFLOW Online. The setup tool together with a newly created ‘Device Registration Code’ mechanism allows an easy onboarding of devices to a tenant.
With uniFLOW Online 2018.0, the following additional output formats are added: Word, Excel®, PowerPoint®. All three output formats come along with the above-mentioned image processing options. On top, Word and Excel also support the OCR engine taking full advantage of the IRIS functionality
With this latest update, the SmartClient for Mac is available in an early access stage (limited functionality) to gather experience and feedback from the field before officially launching a final version to the market.
NT-ware announces today the release of uniFLOW Online Express, a secure cloud-based authentication, scanning and accounting solution. uniFLOW Online Express is launched as part of Canon’s award-winning second edition portfolio of 3rd Generation imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices – combining the latest hardware and software technology.
uniFLOW Online Express is an integrated solution which augments the upgraded Canon device range. The solution also strengthens Canon’s extensive hardware portfolio including the imageRUNNER C3000 series and i-SENSYS/imageCLASS products, launched in 2017, as well as new black and white i-SENSYS/imageCLASS products to be launched later this year. It can help organizations to increase office productivity and control both costs and access to devices.
uniFLOW Online Express is an easy to configure, secure, cloud-based authentication, scanning and accounting solution suitable for organizations who do not want to invest in or manage local servers. This latest addition to the portfolio is based on the groundbreaking uniFLOW Online solution which has been developed to take maximum advantage of the Microsoft Azure™ cloud platform.
With uniFLOW Online Express access to Canon devices is secured to prevent unauthorized access and usage. To gain access to devices, users simply authenticate using their company proximity card or by entering a PIN code. By providing secure access uniFLOW Online Express avoids the risk of data breaches and misuse because devices are locked so print, scan, copy and fax functionalities are not available to unauthorized visitors and employees.
Simple Document Scanning
uniFLOW Online Express simplifies document scanning on Canon devices significantly. Users can scan documents directly from any connected Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE. The lean, intuitive user interface combined with the secure ‘Scan to Myself’ and ‘Scan to Google Drive’ workflows result in immediate gains in productivity.
Track Print, Scan and Copy Costs
uniFLOW Online Express allows administrators to track the organization’s printing, copying, faxing and scanning costs which facilitates correct cost allocation to individual users. The cloud-based dashboard displays an overview of the organization’s print, scan and copy environment and different reports can be created to give detailed user, device and sampling summaries.
uniFLOW Online Express’ innovative technology means there is no requirement for a local server. All configuration and management of the system occurs in the cloud, providing administrators with online reporting tools and dashboards. Thanks to its unique technology, immediate financial benefits are realized as local servers are not required and the burden on IT departments is reduced.
The new imageRUNNER ADVANCE series is available from February 2018 and uniFLOW Online Express will be available from April 2018.
This latest addition to uniFLOW Online now includes scanning functionalities and the option to create locations. As well as the major features available, different user roles can now be configured.
This latest deployment adds scanning to uniFLOW Online. Users can now scan directly from any connected Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE. The lean and intuitive user interface, together with the secure ‘Scan to Myself’ and ‘Scan to Google Drive’ workflows, help to realize immediate gains in productivity.
uniFLOW Online 2017.4 allows administrators to create locations so organizations can allocate devices to specific areas. Different offices will be able to provide an overview of each location including local devices. The configured locations can then be displayed on a map with the ‘Location’ widget. Dealers will also benefit from the ‘Location’ widget as they can mark their sub-tenants’ devices as separate locations so will have an immediate overview of all sub-tenant locations and devices for each customer.
uniFLOW Online 2017.4 introduces additional user roles to provide more flexibility when defining access rights. Available roles are: administrator, user, tenant manager, reports manager, fleet manager and partner administrator.
uniFLOW Online 2017.4 extends device support by integrating additional ULM-enabled devices. uniFLOW Online can now connect and support the Canon imageRUNNER and i-SENSYS/imageCLASS devices listed below and will support new black and white i-SENSYS/imageCLASS products to be launched later this year:
This update further enhances the configuration process and incorporates simpler measures in terms of setup, configuration and tenant management as well as a new widget for mobile printing.
With the release of uniFLOW Online 2017.3, the setup has been further improved to simplify the configuration process for the administrator. The previous uniFLOW Online print behavior configuration has been redesigned and is now a function-based configuration which is applicable to all devices. PIN codes can now be created automatically for new users in the system and to optimize the steps taken during the SmartClient configuration process, the order of the tabs has also been changed.
Next to the simplified configuration processes, the tenant management has been improved as well. A ‘Root Administrator’ tab is available which displays the tenant-info email address and root administrator details. This allows to resend the confirmation with a new password. With uniFLOW 2017.3, also a tenant default language is implemented which is used for all users who do not have a language setting defined.
A ‘Mobile Print Jobs’ widget is now automatically available to the end user via the dashboard. It provides an overview of all jobs submitted via mobile print i.e. job name plus the date and time the job was created. Whilst the job remains in the queue users can also delete the print job using the widget.
This latest addition to uniFLOW Online significantly simplifies the setup and configuration and includes various usability improvements. On top it adds additional device support.
With the release of uniFLOW Online 2017.2, the setup has been greatly improved to simplify the configuration process for the administrator. New wizards provide a guided step-by-step configuration of tenants, users and devices. A notification widget has been added to the dashboard which includes a quick-start guide to provide an overview of the state of the installation. To offer management tenants a clearer insight regarding the actual subscription usage, new reporting capabilities have also been incorporated.
Both administrator and users reap benefits from uniFLOW Online 2017.2’s upgraded usability. To simplify the sign-up process for both parties uniFLOW Online has been upgraded so users can sign-up themselves via their company email address. In addition, a notification widget has been added which is automatically available to the user via the dashboard and includes information as to how to get started with uniFLOW Online. The previous resources page has been redesigned and is now called “Start Printing”. It provides users with start-up instruction and download instructions for the SmartClient. Users can also upload files for printing via drag and drop and are provided with the mobile print email address.
“Start Printing” menu, providing start-up instructions and an easy file upload.
Today NT-ware announces its latest release of uniFLOW Online. This addition to the secure cloud printing solution adds support for the uniFLOW Release Station and enhanced mobile printing.
In addition to supporting Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices for secure printing, uniFLOW Online now allows connecting any device using a uniFLOW Release Station. This expands the cloud-based secure printing to a wider fleet of devices. In addition to secure printing, full copy/print accounting is supported (copy accounting requiring a copy control cable).
Known users could already submit print jobs per email from their mobile devices. Now uniFLOW Online also allows guests visiting an organization to submit print jobs and retrieve them from the printer. After submission of their print job, guests will receive an email with a job code, which they can use to login.
As demand grows for better internet and telecommunication services, Lier Fibernett provides faster and more reliable cable, TV, and fibre-broadband services under the brand name Altibox in Norway. Providing quality services to approximately 7.000 customers Lier Fibernett has a strong foothold in south-east Norway and business continues to grow rapidly. When the company separated from a larger group early in 2016, it changed its focus to key activities such as sales, planning & construction, customer service and administration.
Prior to the company going solo Lier Fibernett was already using the print management solution uniFLOW, by which users could print documents securely and print jobs would follow them from device to device. The need to print confidential documents e.g. resumes, job offers, management information or private documents remained.
Lier Fibernett no longer have a separate IT department; this responsibility is now shared between two employees whose primary roles do not include IT. Furthermore Lier Fibernett has only twelve employees which would have made the cost of servers relatively expensive therefore it was important to pursue a zero-server policy and make as much use of cloud services as possible. Stian Rostad, Customer Services' Manager and now in charge of IT hardware and software purchases explains "Without an IT department we don't want to spend any time or money managing servers. Therefore we only use cloud based services like Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox for Business, and a call management system that plugs in to Skype for Business which is why we require a cloud based print management solution."
When Lier Fibernett wanted to purchase new multifunctional devices, it was clear that providing a cloud-based print management solution was an essential criteria for the purchase of the new devices. Canon partner Canon Business Center Buskerud was able to offer the brand-new cloud-based secure print solution, uniFLOW Online. Canon, the Canon partner CBC Buskerud, and Stian Rostad jointly worked together on the roll-out of uniFLOW Online. In the uniFLOW Online portal Canon created and configured the tenant for Lier Fibernett, which is their personal customer account. In this tenant Microsoft Office 365 is setup as an identity provider using Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). This way new users only need to be setup in Office 365 and not separately in uniFLOW Online.
Canon Business Center Buskerud was in charge of the roll-out of the devices - one Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE 250 and one Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE C3325i - and the overall project management. Finally Stian Rostad installed the SmartClient software on to users' desktops and laptops. The uniFLOW SmartClient allows print jobs to be processed and stored on users' local PCs rather than being sent via the internet to a cloud-based service. This way all print traffic stays within the local company network. After some minor technical setbacks, the combined solution is now working without any problems. As users were already used to working with uniFLOW further instructions were not required and they were able to print their documents securely immediately.
Looking ahead, Lier Fibernett will also make use of the mobile printing facilities of uniFLOW Online which will allow sales personnel and the planning & construction team to print remotely as well.
With the implementation of uniFLOW Online users once again have access to the powerful secure printing functionality, allowing them to print their confidential documents securely and pick-up their print jobs on either of the two devices. That, in combination with the scan to myself functionality, makes printing and scanning convenient and has increased overall employee productivity.
However some of the biggest benefits have come as a result of there being no requirement for a server. To Lier Fibernett this brings convenience and cost savings. By using a cloud-based print management solution, Lier Fibernett is able to follow their zero-server policy which saves costs for maintaining a server (estimated to be 24.000 - 30.000 NOK per year). It also saves valuable time, now not spent on server maintenance, which can be better spent on customer support.
Finally, by using secure printing unnecessary printing is prevented and the cloud-based print management solution reduces the power consumption of the print infrastructure. This means that Lier Fibernett reduces its environmental impact and contributes to a 'greener' world.
Today NT-ware, inventors of the award winning uniFLOW integrated network print and scan management software, announces its release of uniFLOW Online. This latest addition to the portfolio provides small and medium-sized businesses with a secure cloud print management solution designed to improve productivity and control print costs. uniFLOW Online offers a secure, serverless output management platform which installs effective print management and cost controls for businesses without the need for on-site print servers.
uniFLOW Online has been developed from the ground-up to enhance the benefits of the Microsoft Azure™ cloud platform, providing superior enterprise platform security, scalability and resilience for small to medium sized businesses. With uniFLOW Online's innovative technology there is no requirement for a local server. All system configuration and management takes place in the cloud and administrators are furnished with online reporting tools and dashboards. For normal print operations continuous connection to uniFLOW Online is not required.
Secure management of documents, particularly in the cloud, is a key concern for today's businesses. uniFLOW Online delivers secure printing for sensitive documents and print jobs are released from the printer with a PIN code or proximity card. Secure print jobs stay within the customer's local network, ensuring that documents are always safe. The close integration with Canon imageRUNNER ADVANCE devices offers improved flexibility as print jobs follow users from device to device, enabling documents to be printed and finalized from any compatible multi-function device (MFD).
Businesses intending to improve efficiency and maximize their IT investment can take control of print and copy costs using the uniFLOW Online reporting tools. Administrators can track their organization's printing and copying costs to ensure that they are charged to the correct department. Central reporting on print fleet usage and performance can also help administrators identify areas where printing and copying costs can be reduced. The reporting features can also be used to address sustainability requirements by monitoring and analyzing the environmental impact of an organization's print footprint.
uniFLOW Online meets the demands of a modern business by providing a fluid mobile printing solution for employees, making it an ideal solution for today's workforce. Regardless of location, users can use smartphones or tablets to print documents securely. All jobs submitted appear in a user's secure print queue from where they can be printed, and afterwards accounted and charged for.
The introduction of a new SaaS business model has enabled office equipment and IT resellers, with limited in-house software experience or capacity, to provide customers with an effective and simple network print output management solution that complements Canon office hardware devices. uniFLOW Online enables Canon's channel partners to offer even better value to customers, with the majority of account support activities being performed remotely; the result is lower support costs and resource overheads.