Close up picture of old IT equipment and papers

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the reasons why you should stop wasting money on old IT equipment and embrace the benefits of a fully digital workflow.

Why You Should Say Goodbye to Printers and Scanners

In today’s fast-paced digital world, it’s essential to stay up to date with the latest technological advancements. One of these giant leaps is the shift away from using printers and scanners to a completely digital workflow. Gone are the days when you needed a physical copy of every document. With the widespread adoption of laptops, monitors, tablets, and phones for reading content as well as the availability of e-signatures for document signing, printers and scanners are quickly becoming obsolete.

Don’t Waste Your Money on Old IT Equipment

A very long time ago, Johannes Gutenberg created the first printer. Back then, in 1440, if you wanted to read something it was revolutionary to receive a printed page with beautiful lines of shaped letters. At the time, this was bleeding edge technology. We’ve gone back too far here though. Let’s skip ahead to 1959, the year IBM created one of the first modern printers. Around that time, we had such a thing as a ring printer. In order to print the text, you had a metal ring and on the rim there was a full alphabet, with numbers and other characters. Those rings would spin quickly and when they impacted a thin ribbon, they would make an imprint on the paper. That’s how words or other content appeared on the paper. But there was one small risk; the paper that was struck with the rings created a small cloud of dust and paper particles, and if there was a paper jam, there was a risk that this could lead to a fire. “Printer on Fire!” is definitely an error message you don’t want to see!

Now almost 70 years later in 2023, there is another ominous warning related to this same technology: “Printers burn your money!”

Burn baby burn! Why are printers a waste of money in 2023?

Printers are an obsolete technology in my opinion. There are sometimes (mostly archaic) legal reasons why you need to print something but even those quickly can be discounted. Most of the time it is only a human habit, which sometimes is the hardest part to change. But I will attempt just that!  😉

Below are my reasons why you should ditch printers and scanners today:

  1. Environmental Impact

One of the most significant reasons to stop using printers and scanners is the positive impact you can have on the environment. Printing documents consumes paper, ink, and energy, contributing to deforestation, pollution, and waste. By going paperless, you can do your part to reduce your carbon footprint and help preserve our planet for future generations. Additionally, printers and scanners take up physical space in your office. Plus, once the document is printed, you have to keep it somewhere which further uses space in your office. Imagine what you could do with that extra space!

  1. Cost Savings

Printers and scanners can be expensive to purchase and maintain. You need to buy ink cartridges, toner, paper, and other consumables regularly. Additionally, these devices tend to break down over time, requiring repair or replacement. By eliminating the need for printers and scanners, you can save money that can be better spent on other essential technology or business investments. Not to mention, printing and scanning operations can be challenging.

One of the most common support requests we get as IT experts is when the user is stuck trying to get a printer to work. Sometimes the printer is using the wrong paper size (letter instead of A4),  using the wrong drawer, or printing to the wrong printer. We’ve had countless situations where the user tried to print something in one location, failed and then tried to print another document in another location which led to printing the previous document.

Scanning, on the other hand, is 99.9% of the time simply digitising a document that was created already on another computer. Not only do we get an inferior copy but additionally, this will be a read-only file and it will take much more space on the server. Not to mention that using a scanner was never that easy in the first place. In our experience, even more users struggle with this technology than with printing. 

  1. Enhanced Security

Storing your documents in a digital format offers increased security. Physical documents can be lost, damaged, or stolen, but digital files can be encrypted and stored securely in the cloud or on a local server. With proper access controls in place, you can ensure that only authorised users have access to sensitive information. Printing presents its own set of issues from someone leaving confidential documents on the printer or the wrong person picking up a sensitive letter before you manage to collect it. I’ve seen many panicked accountants racing to the printer to pick up payslips or confidential financial documents to ensure no one saw them. But there is another dark side to printers.

Modern day printers are actually a type of computer with a built-in printer. This is the reason you can print to it via network or even via the Internet. Like your Windows or MacOS printer, it will have an operating system. So when was the last time you updated your Operating System on your printer? If you didn’t even realise this was a problem, sadly you are not alone. The majority of people don’t update printers and this creates a situation where a device in your office could be an easy target for a hacker who can gain access to your network and attack your other devices. 

  1. Easy Access and Collaboration

Digital documents can be accessed from anywhere, anytime, using devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones. This flexibility enables remote teams to collaborate efficiently with real-time editing and version control. On the other hand, physical documents need to be scanned, emailed, or couriered, which can be time-consuming and hinder productivity. It’s not uncommon to chat with a customer who needed a document that was located in another branch of their business, which led to another member of staff having to spend time looking for the file before scanning it or faxing it. With all documents in a digital format, there is no need for such waste. Everyone who needs to, has access to digital documents simultaneously, anytime, anywhere.

  1. E-Signature Solutions

Many businesses still rely on printing and scanning documents for signatures. However, e-signature solutions have gained widespread acceptance, making it easy to sign documents electronically. E-signatures are legally binding in most countries, and these platforms offer enhanced security, tracking, and auditing capabilities, making the signing process more efficient and secure. Another solution, which you could say is halfway to being an e-signature is where a solicitor makes a video call to their customer who is located in another location, the customer opens the document while on camera, shows it to the solicitor then signs it with a pen or on a tablet. The solicitor then can confirm that it was signed.

So, what have we learned? In my opinion, these five reasons above offer a very compelling case to leave obsolete technology like printers and scanners behind and embrace the digital revolution. 

Saying Goodbye to Printers and Scanners: A Conclusion

Yes, that’s right. The time has come to say goodbye to old IT equipment like printers and scanners and greet a fully digital workflow. By doing so, you’ll reduce your environmental impact, save money, enhance security, and improve collaboration within your team. With the availability of various digital solutions like e-signatures and cloud storage, there’s no reason to continue using these outdated devices. Make the switch today and enjoy the benefits of a modern, digital workplace. Not to mention savings on space where such devices and physical documents used to be kept. I have seen offices where paper files were covering up to 40% of all floor space. Imagine the cost…!

However, if you are worried about your online presence have a look at our articles on how to stay invisible while web browsing- Incognito Mode.

If you are struggling with such outdated technology and would like to find the best way to utilise digital, please reach out and contact me or one of my expert colleagues and we will ensure you get a modern and environment-friendly solution 🙂 Click here to get in touch!

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