We run a medium sized (400 users) healthcare organization (aka hospital). We are a Windows organization; our printers can be categorized in three groups:
departamental printers hosted by a server in our matrix organization (I think it is a linux)
departamental printers hosted in one of our servers
For years, I have seen in our logs the reams of paper spent in non-work related jobs, but nobody wanted to "shake the boat". Now, the most important thing is spending cuts so something can be done.
I would like to ask for tips/strategies/tools to use to avoid the abuse. I see two main paths:
restricting printing, so you can only print from approved paths. I do not like this approach because:
- it causes administrative overhead, because it is different to know beforehand all the relevant (services are different, many times they get documentation from external sources, etc.)
- when printing from IE, we need to restrict by the source URL.
- as we need to be able to print local documents (Word / PDF), any control that we can set will be probably
checking logs for abuse and reporting it. The issues with this method are:
- administrative overhead, periodically logs will be revised.
- the number of pages is not a reliable guide to abuse (the user that prints 100 pages a day may need to print these for his work, while the user that prints only prints 10 may be printing a chapter of a novel each day).
- once you suspect something is not right, how do you check it? If you report that an user has printed "The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy.pdf", it is clear that it is an abuse. Also it is clear that the next time, the user will rename it as "Clinical History of patient 12.pdf", so our logs will probably need to be more extensive.
I somehow prefer the second approach (I do not care if an user prints occasionally a few pages, and I think that it is less disruptive).
In order to discuss tools, they must work on Windows. It would be better if they also work on linux, but it is not strictly needed (I could migrate the printers on linux back to my windows servers).