4.5 MIN READ | OFFICE COPIERS
If you're reading this blog, you've likely already had a conversation with a copier/business printer vendor. Whether your current vendor has brought up the implementation of this software or a new one is proposing it, this article will give you a full understanding of the software's purpose, what is needed to install it, and if it is safe to exist on your network.
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What is EMC Software?
EMC or Electronic Meter Capture software is a tool many companies use to automatically communicate to their copier dealer their monthly print usage. This is achieved by installing the software on each of your printing devices. From there, the software collects printing data each month and automatically send your machines' usage back to the copier dealer.
How is EMC Software Useful?
Businesses perpetually work toward improving efficiency within their organizations. The more efficient they become, the greater the margins created.
So, how does EMC software help organizations increase their efficiency?
At Standard Office Systems, we support customers of all sizes. Some with a single print device, and others with hundreds of machines. A business with a single copier may not need EMC software to the same level as another, but it is easy to see how a few devices can make reporting usage extremely cumbersome.
Whether it is an administrator, office manager, or IT professional, organizations without the support of Electronic Meter Capture must move from device to device to manually look-up usage each month.
When the task falls on a single individual, this can take-up a significant portion of time, and unfortunately, often results in billing mistakes.
What happens if an organization without EMC software chooses not to report their usage?
At times, dealers run into situations where meter/usage reporting isn't executed regularly or accurately. This results in the dealer having to estimate a customer's usage, which can sometimes be more than the actual usage.
It is in both the customer's and dealer's best interest to get billing correct. For SOS, 100% of customers using EMC software receive accurate billing. Unfortunately, billing accuracy diminishes to 98% when factoring in organizations who do not use EMC software.
So, with billing being so accurate using the software, why would businesses and other organizations make the decision to go manual?
Is EMC Software Secure?
The decision to forgo EMC software installation by some customers centers around network security.
Electronic Meter Capture software communicates within an organization's network. This means network information like email authentication/passwords, user codes, gateway info, and more is required to install the software correctly.
Additionally, EMC software requires the network to allow communication with an outside entity (the copier dealer) in order to receive the information. This makes some IT administrators anxious, and in an effort to maintain 100% control over their network, choose not to install the software.
As of the writing of this article, we have never witnessed a security breach as a result of a customer having EMC software installed on their devices. In fact, this data includes some of our largest clients with tens of thousands employees.
What makes the software secure to include on my network?
To collect usage data from a customer's network, SOS uses a program called FMAudit Onsite to do so.
Specifically, FMAudit sends an encoded stream using the SOAP over HTTPS protocol. Additionally, confidential data is not collected, viewed, or stored by any of its applications.
The only network data that can be identified is the IP address, MAC address, and HostName, though FMAudit states this can be excluded from the data submitted if the user/customer chooses to exclude those details.
You can learn more about these security features and additional details by checking out the whitepaper below (no personal information required).
GET THE WHITEPAPER: FMAudit Technical Whitepaper
What is Needed to Install EMC Software?
For EMC software, like FMAudit, to be installed correctly, some basic network information will need to be provided by the person in-charge of your organization's network.
Common network information shared may include:
- Device(s) IP
- Default Gateway
- Email Server Name
- Email Authentication/Password
- Domain Controller Name or IP for use with LDAP
- Scan Folder Path and Authentication
- User Codes
What's the Right Decision?
At the end of the day, the decision of whether to leverage the advantages of EMC software is yours to make. If you are looking to reduce the time required to perform the administrative task of reporting your device usage, EMC software is an excellent solution.
Still, if you are still unsure of how it will affect your network's security, it is wise to seek an additional opinion.
Not all dealers have access to this type of software and support, so if you do wish to increase the efficiency of your usage reporting, make sure you work with a dealer who offers this type of service.
Reach out to Standard Office Systems today, should you have any other questions about Electronic Meter Capture software, or would like to learn more about other forms of automatic reporting for increased efficiency.
Posted by Chris Gaines
Chris Gaines has been with Standard Office Systems as the Director of Managed Services for the past three years and has over 25 years of experience as a Network Administrator in the office technology industry. He has a passion for helping small businesses discover the best technology solutions for their specific needs.