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Support for desktop printers, on campus or at home, will not be provided by Digital Services due to the reasons detailed below.

A new print policy is making its way through the University governance process supporting the use of centrally managed multi-function devices (MFD).

Why we cannot support office desktop/home printers

Information security at home

  • Printing personal and financial information at home can result in visitors to the home seeing the materials.
  • Pages put in with household documents or possibly sensitive information placed in the recycling bin.

Desktop Printer Security

  • Desktop printers are not a secure means of printing, as the pages print as soon as the user selects ‘print’.  This can result in printed information sitting on printers within shared spaces.


  • Digitisation is the preferred business process at Ulster and generating more paper does not support this objective.
  • The University is currently setting out plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions.  This is in response to the global climate and biodiversity crisis.  Since the introduction of MFDs and removal of desktop printers we have seen significant reduction in wasted resources associated with printing, including reduction in wasted paper and ink.

Variety of Devices

  • Variation in printer models and specifications creates difficulties to support remotely and even onsite.

Print drivers have presented cyber security risks

  • Printers can pose a security risk when the internal hard drives of network printers store previous print jobs in their queues.
  • Printers Can Get Hacked! The issue, however, is that as computers remain in the spotlight, sophisticated hackers have found a way to access an object that is far less obvious, the printer.
  • Print Nightmare – a critical security vulnerability affecting the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Benefits of the Multi-Function Devices (MFD)

The MFD fleet offers a standardised print, copy and scan service at each device across all campuses. The service delivers a range of benefits:

  • Confidential Printing - All staff members occasionally have the need to print a document they consider confidential. While printing these documents requires care by the staff member to ensure that they are not left on the device, confidential printing needs are not justification for a personal printer. To help protect your documents, you can print to any MFD, since your printing job will not print until you go to the MFD and tap your ID card to release the printing job.
  • Scan direct to storage - Staff can scan documents into an electronic folder on OneDrive or email, saving physical space for storage.
  • Support - Digital Services support installation of MFD drivers and general queries.
  • Duplex Printing - All MFD devices automatically default to duplex printing to cut paper usage.  This improves environmental impact.
  • Print Queue Expiry - Jobs not printed will automatically be deleted from the print queue after 72 hours.
  • Colour/Greyscale - All devices offer colour and mono services.
  • Centrally Provided Supplies - All consumables are centrally provided to departmental, and faculty leads.
  • Energy Efficiency - All MFD are energy star compliant and go into power save mode when not being used.