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.