Software

Review: Citrix GoToAssist

Use Citrix GoToAssist for a quality remote help experience that will help your company save money and time satisfying clients.

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It's a fact of life. For every hardware and software product, there is a need for a quality and well-equipped technical support team. However, sometimes troubleshooting over the phone isn't the best way to solve certain issues. When interacting with the client's desktop is warranted, you'll want a fairly idiot-proof way of gaining access without convoluted RDP or VNC configuration. Citrix, the same company that brought you GoToMeeting, has another tool to sate remote access needs.

GoToAssist

GoToAssist is a utility that takes the remote assistance to a level of ease that isn't possible to find using other remote desktop software. There isn't any need to find out the destination IP address or incorporate tedious port forwarding protocol on the router. With GoToAssist, I've been able to successfully connect to all but the most restrictive systems remotely and get the job done.

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The GoToAssist main window

With one quick login through the GoToAssist representative application, getting up and running was quite simple. In the main interface, you are able to generate special one-time use codes that can be emailed to whomever you wish to connect with. Codes that you ultimately create expire after around 20 minutes so that your GoToAssist account isn't tied up on a previously active ticket.

Product Information

  • Title: GoToAssist
  • Company: Citrix
  • Product URL: http://gotoassist.com
  • Price: 30-day free trial, then prices ranging from $69 and to $119 per month, per technician (depending the desired feature set).

On the client facing side of the equation, accepting an invite to share your screen with a support rep is extremely simple. All you do is click the link provided in the email and then run the GoToAssist applet when prompted. Everything else works behind the scenes, sending a handshake to the requestor's system using GoToAssist's servers as the intermediary. Within a few minutes, you will be connected and are given the option to either grant view-only or full access.

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This is what the client sees when they first connect to GoToAssist's servers

In addition to the obvious functionality of diving into someone's computer and taking control, GoToAssist offers file transfer, multi-monitor navigation, annotation tools to point out notes to clients, and even remote access over mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. For those supporting mixed environments such as Windows and OS X systems, GoToAssist is able to connect just fine to either operating system.

One of the features I mentioned, multi-monitor support, is fairly seamless, since all you need to do is position your mouse on the center edge of either side of the GoToAssist window, and the focus will then shift to another panel. This is great for when the client has multiple windows open and you don't have to have them drag windows around for you.

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A remote session presented to a support representative

Finally, as an important piece to the ensemble, whenever you are done solving an issue for the client and end the session, you are prompted to enter a case resolution status and a ticket number. This can then be tracked centrally by your IT department to see how many support tickets are completed or still outstanding.

Now, onto my nitpicks. While I found GoToAssist to be an apt tool for remote assistance, some interesting quirks were encountered. For one, whenever I would launch a setup program or any EXE that required UAC elevation, I am unable to see the prompt correctly and the client would have to click the "Yes" button in order for me to proceed. Even once my screen share re-establishes a connection to the remote display, I still can't click any other buttons until the app in question is exited.

Bottom line

Despite those small details, GoToAssist, with its comprehensive remote assistance functionality and cross-platform support, is quite a nice tool to have for all IT support personnel, especially when dealing with customers from outside your organization. With prices starting at $69/month per technician, it's not a bad price all things considered. And, if you're on the fence about it, a 30-day risk-free trial is available for download at the GoToAssist website.

About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

3 comments
amadsi
amadsi

We used GoToAssist for several months with just minor problems that were easily dealt with, then the automatic updates started and they would interfere with the programs we were running. After contacting citrix and explaining the situation, they would not stop the auto updates or revert back to the older version without a list of info so we canceled the account. They didn't seem to care if they lost a customer or not. We wiill never recommend or purchase another product from Citrix. Average product stacked with poor tech support and customer service.

smarthu
smarthu

We at QIMacros for Excel love GotoAssist and use it as our primary tech support tool.

www.qimacros.com

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Do you have first-hand knowledge of how GoToAssist works? What do you think of it?

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