The Importance Of Data Collection Agents in Managed Print

Have you been working with a company who offers managed print and been asked to install a tracking program to see how many prints you are making? This is a best practice for managed print companies, because it makes it a lot easier to manage a printer fleet. 

Is it really necessary? Is it secure?

We have been managing printers for over 20 years, and we have our own DCA tool called NSight. This tool has helped us greatly manage printers and copiers around the country.

Why do we want to get clients on a DCA and why do other printers want to do this? Is it to spy or what is the reason? By the end of this article you will understand why a DCA is so critical to the success of a managed print implementation.

Our program is safe and meets Department of Defense standards and we can give your team a whitepaper on how we handle data security if you have concerns. With any new managed print company, we would suggest you ask them how your data stays protected and what the agent can see in your network on which it is being installed. 

You want to do your due diligence before installing any old program out there on your network.

Gives Visibility to Your Devices

A good DCA will allow a managed print company to see what devices are printing on your network. What this does for you is make sure everything is being watched and secure. What it does for us is allow us to look and see what other devices you run and how much paper per device is going out.

Let’s say 3 sales managers went out and bought their own desktop printers. If this is the case, then you wouldn’t know what happened and when they call saying a printer isn’t working, your IT department isn’t thinking it is an old printer they used to have. This can save hours of headaches for your support team, especially if working with more unsophisticated users.

Knowing what devices are where really helps the IT department know how to troubleshoot issues and make sure people are not purchasing rogue devices not approved in the budget.

Know When the Device Needs Supplies

The next reason you would want a DCA looking at your environment is that you would learn when the devices needed toners. For example, every DCA will tell you when you are running low on toner and that can help the toner be ordered before it is needed. This helps to make sure you aren’t wasting tons of money filling a supply closet with unnecessary toners.

Buy the Right Devices

If you have a DCA collecting the number of prints an office is doing, it makes the next buying cycle a much more informed decision. For example, you may see you did 2800, 8100, 8200, 2600, 2500 and 1700 prints over the last six months. You may wonder why the two high months. Then you realize your company prints a lot around tax time or at the beginning of a school year. You could base the next buying decision on the 8200 prints (max), or you could shoot more for an average, a printer which could easily do 4000 pages a month consistently.

The more devices you have, the harder it is to get this equation right. We like to look for big offenders and make sure your devices are the right size for your company.

Improve Security

Another way a DCA can help your company is that the DCA can let you know some other details (depending on the brand) about what version of firmware is running and this really can help with firmware upgrading to help protect your network from hackers.

Also, every reputable DCA company works to ensure their DCA is DOD compliant. This means that, yes, you have 3rd party software on your computer, but it is software with the highest security and lowest risk you can find there. 

For the benefits of the DCA, it is well worth it for most clients, but there are some who protect the data more tightly than the government requires and they could consider the DCA an IT risk.

We have found objections only in the strictest of cases and usually with an IT security company because their policies are so strict about their data.

Adding a DCA can feel like a pain, but if you get the right DCA, it will make your life a lot easier. We would love to help you with your managed print and we can even do an assessment to show you how we can help you save time and money for your company!

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