Enterprise Software

Remote support planning saves time and money


In these days of cost consciousness and the demand for instant fixes, more and more organisations are turning to remote support as a way of getting customers problems sorted out quickly and economically. The company I work for is changing its product focus from office automation and paper handling to business support systems, such as parcel tracking, access control, accounting systems and any other applications that can run on a PC.

Consequently, a lot of the problems that occur are ones that are fairly easy to deal with once the system is in front of the service engineer. But we traditionally have supported our customers face to face.

But on-site support is not a sustainable situation. It takes time to travel to customers, it costs money -- if you think that gasoline is expensive in the USA, try buying it in England! -- and Murphy's law dictates that if you have an urgent call in Brighton there will soon be another in Bristol and you can't be in both places at the same time, especially on our crowded roads.

With this in mind we decided to look into remote support. There are various useful tools to use; in house we use Dameware to take control of any of our networked PCs to do any necessary work, but outside we needed a solution that does not require the installation of any software. We found a possible solution in the form of Webex. All that is required is that the PC to be supported is connected to the Internet. It may require an ActiveX control but once this is in place it is possible to control the PC, push files to it, and manipulate the system.

The end user at all times has the option to terminate the session and has to click a box to allow the access. There is no question of us being able to wade in and mess about uninvited.

There are many remote support products but many of them require something to be installed on the system to be supported.

In recent months on TechRepublic a lot has been said about Crossloop. It is an excellent product but for two things:

  • You have to install it on both machines, OK for in house but maybe not so good for external customers.
  • Although there is a file transfer utility, it is the host that can initiate the transfer, in a support situation it is the remote user who will want to do this. I have used it very successfully to sort out my mother's PC and have unstuck a stalled print queue on a customer's machine but had I wanted to do an update to the customer's machine it would have been difficult.

For me, the idea of remote support is the good old adage about "working smarter, not harder."

If I can stay in bed till late, drag myself out and log in and fix problems and get as much, if not more, work done, save hours of driving time and many gallons of petrol it must be a good thing. If my working hours can be reduced and my productivity improved how can anyone object?

In my home town there is a free wireless access point that can be accessed from the beach so it is possible to provide remote support whilst lazing in the sun. Can life get much better?

21 comments
MariaJones
MariaJones

RHUB is an appliance based remote support solution. For those who want an in-house hosted solution, RHUB (http://www.rhubcom.com) is the best bet.

mrsmzm
mrsmzm

I just bumped into a free customer support site that lets you access a pc with no software for free. no software...its sponsored by a site that looks pretty neat called www.onlinebackupvault.com the remote login site is called www.gointomypc.com plz let me know what u guys think

chase_me
chase_me

I have been using teamviewer for quite some time now, and i dont wanna miss it anymore... It can basically do anything. Presentation, Colaboration, File-transfer, Switching sides, Rights management during session and so on and so on... Give it try, you'll love it: www.teamviewer.com

AstroCreep
AstroCreep

...an application that uses Remote Desktop/Terminal Server or Remote assistance as a 'hook'? See, I started at a new company where we use this app called "Omniquad Instant Remote Control" which does NOT require a client installation piece; somehow it hooks via RDP or RA. Thing is the application is kind of buggy and you can only have one instance of it open at a time, so I was looking for a replacement. I have used VNC in the past (and frankly love it) but my net admin doesn't want to load amy more software on the users' systems if we can prevent it (we use a lot of stuff here that slows down a system with 2GB RAM quite a bit). Anyone have any suggestions?

Chained
Chained

I have been using Copilot, http://www.copilot.com I like it because there is an option to pay by minutes used rather than a monthly fee. I keep track of which clients use which support id(s) and then print the Copilot statement out at the end of the month. This makes it easy to bill my clients. The only down side is Copilot is way too slow on a dial-up connection.

enderle.matt
enderle.matt

www.bomgar.com - 1 user $2k .. pays off in the long run.. anyone had issues with bomgar?

NDYNAMICS
NDYNAMICS

I use TWD Industries "Remote Anything". Small 90K single click install, recyclable licenses, and with their DS it can traverse firewalls. Initial investment equivalent to about a year of Webex/GotomyPC/Logmein Rescue and then no recurring fees after that. File transfer is awesomely fast and in B&W compressed mode it works very well over 56k modems and really slow DSL lines.

allen.mcclure
allen.mcclure

Look into LogMeIn Rescue - EXCELLENT remote tool - faster and more user friendly than WebEx currently.

manan123
manan123

Hello All try Goto Meeting. It is same as Webex but with few additional features and lot more polished application.

kdubendorf
kdubendorf

We've used Remote Desktop for years now. Originally VNC was used where Remote Desktop doesn't work. We've since switched to Log Me In IT Reach. You can't beat it for cost/performance. Sure these approaches require a modification to the client but our clients are more than willing to trade an additional app for the benefits of remote support.

KestrelVt
KestrelVt

I too have used dameware in house, We have gone to Log Me In IT reach for remote support, It does require a small install but allows full control with file transfers, reloads and reboots, I highly recommend it.

kevin.brown
kevin.brown

Webex isnt cheap, i cant see why you wouldnt just use VNC SC really... Ive used it before to provide support over as little as a 256kbps link...

Mrinal.Desai
Mrinal.Desai

Jeff - a thanks from all of us at CrossLoop for your nice words. I thought I would quickly clarify that one can transfer files from the 'JOIN' and 'HOST' side i.e one who is accessing remotely or the one sharing their desktop. Details with screen shots are here: http://www.crossloop.com/help.html#filetransfer Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks Mrinal

vasilissa
vasilissa

I know that remotesupport.com is using logmeinrescue.

mchoffy
mchoffy

I am interested in how you have deployed this application. I too am a IT consultant and you have sparked my interest in this product. I am currently looking for an inexpensive client easy solution for supporting my customers.

ecurrey
ecurrey

We use Inter-Tel and it works ok. They finally released a non JAVA version. It runs from your server. The user has to download a client and join a q. The end user has to give you permission to control their PC. We also use Remotely-Anything. It has a slave download for the client. It is a very small file 20k. The end does not have to answer any questions. You can even view their PC without them knowing. Inter-Tel (Linktivity) is price based on number of queues. Remotely-Anything price is based on number of Masters and Slaves.

cryan
cryan

There is a product that is offered by Inter-tel for remote support and for web meetings. The thing we like is we own the product rather than pay ongoing monthly fees for each session. It provides for remote control, file transfer, reboots, audio, chat, video, and logging and recording of sessions. Very cool. Small java or activex control in the browser is all it takes.

cjones
cjones

We use the LogMeIn Rescue. Works great. Can even reboot a machine into safe mode.

serge_soroka1984
serge_soroka1984

Personally, I'd recommend Techinline Remote Desktop (www.techinline.com). I find it to be the easiest to use for both the client and the expert, and since it browser-based, you don't have to install or configure anything. At $30 a month, I don't think you'll find anything cheaper with the kind of functionality they offer

tech
tech

You might want to check out teamviewer (www.teamviewer.com). I've been using it a lot lately, and the paid for version allows you to customise a client exe so that end-users don't have to install. The best bit - the price is for a perpetual license. Very uncommon with these things.

kevinlevart
kevinlevart

The company I currently work for uses this. It seems to be a great solution. However, I do not know how much it costs. I've thought about checking into it myself for my own business. I use logmein at home and it's awesome. Their LogmeinRescue seems a little pricy for the new small-business guy.

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