The majority of my customers are what are referred to as SME’s – Small to Medium Enterprises. Some have small numbers of IT Support staff on-site
(where I serve as Technical Support to those staff) others don’t have any IT Support on-site at all (where I serve as the IT panic button for employees!). In all cases, as I can only be in one place at a time (preferably my office!) the ability to remotely be able to assist people is a must.
There are a variety of solutions.
VPN and TightVNC
My preferred route is to install a VPN or Virtual Private Network. This means I can securely access the clients network from anywhere I can get
an Internet connection, as though I were physically connected to that network. I can then use tools such as TightVNC to actively remote
control the desktops of PC’s and Servers. Free and easy!
For sites where it’s not possible or cost-prohibitive to install a VPN, until recently I’ve been reduced to talking people through instructions via telephone. When that’s dealing with the secretary who’s knowledge of IT extends as far as Microsoft Excel tables, that’s a frustration! Packages such as PC Anywhere have been available for a while but once again you’ve got the issue of cost to the sometimes very small end-business.
So when I had a problem with a customer where VPN just wouldn’t work reliably and cost was an issue, and I found the software at LogMeIn, I
was both pleased and relieved! LogMeIn works through a web-browser. It installs a small peice of software on the client-side and then, provided you’ve got a broadband Internet connection, you can connect via any Firewalls that might be in place and it, well, just… works!
There is a paid for version of LogMeIn on the web-site which is well worth looking at for multiple-PC’s, but the Free version has to be the best bit of
software I’ve come across this year. Now I can simple take control of PC’s and fix the problems quickly instead of my heart sinking after I say down the telephone “click on the start menu” and hear “Where’s that?”… 🙂