• United States
Contributing Writer

Remote control to the rescue

Feb 08, 20062 mins
ComputersSmall and Medium Business

* How NetworkStreaming's latest version of SupportDesk works

Usually in a small company there is at most one IT guru. And chances are that person spends his time running desktop to desktop trying to patch problems, update software and solve application conundrums.

If you have multiple offices it can be a serious drain to have that valuable IT resource on the road or on the phone for hours providing support.

A company that appeared at DEMO ’06 earlier this month is trying to cure this problem. NetworkStreaming used the show to unveil its latest version of SupportDesk, and the company demoed the product for me using my desktop as an illustration. Here’s how it works.

The SupportDesk consists of the SupportAppliance, which sits in the enterprise, and SupportDesk Version 9.0 software, which is licensed for each help desk member or workstation. When a user calls in for help, IT can use the appliance to send an applet to the user’s desktop within a few seconds.

The software supports Microsoft Windows desktops and can be used over most connections and through corporate firewalls, according to the company. Once the user accepts the applet, it loads quickly and from that point on the IT pro can control the computer as if he were sitting in front of it, doing everything from downloading patches to reconfiguring a VPN connection.

The beauty of the product is the IT pro doesn’t have to travel and it sidesteps the need to convey complex instructions to users that may or may not act on them correctly. And the employee doesn’t have to stay at their computer while it is being worked on. Once the applet is accepted, the remote helper has full control.

The user does have the option, however, of closing the applet. When that happens it is deleted and the computer is back under the users’ control.

NetworkStreaming says organizations that use outsourced IT resources to handle remote support might also find the tool helpful for meeting regulatory compliance issues because it would enable them to maintain control of potentially sensitive customer information.

The latest version, 9.0, allows multiple help desk personnel to view your screen simultaneously so they can consult with one another to solve complex problems.

For pricing and availability of SupportDesk visit the company’s Web site.