5 mobile apps every network administrator and helpdesk professional needs

Every IT pro has been there: You're with a user and need access to a tool that lives on a desktop in the office. These five apps eliminate the problem by turning your smartphone into an IT multitool.

Image: iStock/LDProd

Have you ever had to call the office to get a problem solved? Say a user is locked out in AD, an unknown device is interfering with network quality, or a VM needs rebooting. Those situations can be embarrassing for IT professionals: I've been there. Users lose faith, resolution time ticks up, and tickets keep coming in.

Our ever-increasingly wired world has eliminated a lot of those problems with mobile apps you may not even be aware of. Here are five that can take the place of your desktop or a call to the office.

Manage Active Directory on the go with these two apps

This category encompasses two different apps because there simply isn't one standard for Android and iOS. Microsoft hasn't released an official Active Directory mobile app so developers have been forced to build their own.

Active Directory Assist for iOS and ADManager Plus for Android are two of the higher rated apps available. Both are free to download but some advanced features require a one-time purchase.

SEE: Help Desk Policy (Tech Pro Research)

IT departments would be well served to give their staff the ability to work AD magic on the road, making the low cost worth it.

Monitor and control machines with Pulseway

Keeping an eye on the machines on a network is typically done using a small client app that runs on workstations which communicate with a central server. Pulseway is yet another RMM platform, but it's designed to be mobile.

With a web portal, iOS, and Android apps available Pulseway is made to unchain the helpdesk and speed resolution times. The mobile app is free, and a trial of the whole suite is available as well.

Control your virtual machines with vSphere Mobile Watchlist

I used to work in an IT environment that relied heavily on VMware, and I came out of it wishing virtual machines were more stable and easier to work with. If I'd had access to vSphere Mobile Watchlist I might be singing a different tune today.

vSphere Mobile Watchlist is an iOS and Android app that allows IT professionals to "remediate problems directly from (their) device" by stopping, restarting, power cycling, pausing, and other steps that typically fix virtual machines.

A word of warning: VMware seems to have fallen behind on keeping the app up to date, at least according to the app's community page.

Scan your network--for free--with Fing

Sometimes unknown machines pop up on a network. It could be a user error or it could be malicious intrusion. Network scanning apps like Fing are designed to help IT professionals figure that out in a hurry.

SEE: Survey: Spending on enterprise mobile apps is up, will continue to increase for the next three years (TechRepublic)

Fing is completely free and if you have an account it can notify you of network changes, new devices, and potential intrusion. It can be used to troubleshoot a variety of issues as well. You can get Fing on iOS and Android and there's no reason you shouldn't.

Pay a fee and roll it all into one app with ITmanager.net

There's a lot to be said for free or single payment IT management apps, but using multiple services means they're not integrated. If a one-stop app is more your style ITmanager.net is worth checking out.

Designed to be a completely mobile platform, ITmanager.net integrates practically everything you need to resolve issues away from the helpdesk. There are simply too many features to cover in a couple of paragraphs, so check out our review of the whole suite here. Keep in mind that the article is as few years old, and quite a few things have likely changed.

ITmanager.net has several pricing tiers that make it very affordable for the two-person shop all the way up to the largest enterprise.

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