How Can You Safely Allow Non-Admins to Install Printers?

By Jordan Pusey – If you look around at different IT environments, you’ll find that many of them adopt a “gatekeeper” approach in which admins hold the keys and grant end users access to various aspects of the infrastructure as needed. This is especially true in print environments where routine tasks like printer installation generally tend to be handled by admins, and the prevailing print management paradigms reinforce this by making tasks like deployment and installation admin-level functions. Even if admins wanted to allow users to install printer drivers and printers themselves, they would often find themselves limited by their print management solutions.

In organizations where admins are able to allow users to install printer drivers and printers on their own, there’s usually some degree of trepidation. And not without good reason. When users are given free rein to initiate driver or printer installation themselves, things can and often do go wrong, which results in the admin having to spend time cleaning up improper installs, replacing incorrect drivers or purging jobs from some random queue they were never supposed to enter in the first place.

With that in mind, there are two major requirements if you want to allow users to install printer drivers and printers without admin rights or admin intervention:

  1. Ease of use.For end users to be able to carry out printer installation without hand-holding, the process needs to be simple and transparent. The convoluted process of mapping printers in print-server-based environments is anything but easy and usually requires familiarity won through trial and error before most users are comfortable doing it themselves. At any rate, it’s not something that you could expect new employees to understand on their first day. An intuitive printer installation process that can be grasped by any employee—from top-level veteran executives all the way to temporary freelancers—is the ideal.

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