Remote Support Software

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Remote Support Software

Postby indy-pc » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:00 am

I'm sure this topic has been discussed before, but I couldn't readily find a topic on these boards. Even if it has been discussed, it wouldn't be so bad to bring it up again, would it?

My small-time business has been growing recently (thanks in large part to running a Google AdWords campaign). I have only been in business for almost two years and my annual profits are still only 4-figures so far. But, things have been improving and I have been trying to reinvest into my business like crazy. I purchased the full version of d7+dCloud a couple of months ago and I am trying to look to the future a bit and wanting to try and establish some recurring monthly income by promoting remote support.

I have been using a modified logmein.msi (kudos to Lalo from Podnutz and his video tutorial showing how to do that) to create a "remote.exe" that would install the LogMeIn Free software on clients' systems. I could continue to do this, but the free version limits me to only having 10 systems available to remote into at any given point. Such a low cap really limits my earning potential if I want to push my remote service subscriptions. I could upgrade to LogMeIn Central ($49/mo or $299/yr for up to 100 "Free" systems) or even LogMeIn Central plus LogMeIn Pro licenses (additional $70/system/yr), but I'm not really thrilled with how the initial installation works (more on that later).

My question to you all is what are the best options out there right now?

My current method is limited as I can't seem to host the remote.exe file on my website for some reason. Even if I could, the auto-block or security warnings that people would usually get when trying to download it makes it difficult to get someone to download and install it without me talking them through it. I also can't email it as the file is around 15MB. That means I would typically need to install it for them on-site (I'm a mobile tech) or while I have it on my bench. That's not TOO terrible, but it limits my potential subscriber base to my existing clients.

Ideally, I'm looking for a remote software that even the most computer-illiterate client could install without much instruction from me. Something that would let me just send them a link or a very small file would be good, or something I could even install remotely without their intervention would be best (though I doubt something like this exists). I would certainly be using d7 as my primary tool, so I would need to be able to run that quickly and easily as well.

Cost is also another primary concern. As I am still a very small shop with zero remote subscribers at the moment, I can't afford to spend $100/mo on remote software on top of my dCloud subscription. It might take me several months to have enough remote subscribers to cover that expense. Something that can grow with my business without being prohibitively expensive early or later on is key.

Other features that I would like to see would be things like custom branding and file transfer. I would like to be able to make drive images to my NAS, VM or external HDD before I start working in case something goes awry. Perhaps I could even offer a hosted backup option at some point. Or would that be a separate software altogether?

What remote software and d7 combination are you using to service your clients remotely? What are the pros and cons of it?
indy-pc
 
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby Mitch » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:21 am

Well for myself, the Logmein Central and Pro combo has worked for me. I too used Lalo's method of creating a Logmein msi and hosting it on my site. I haven't had the issue yet of a client not being able to download the .exe and only once when they did they were not able to install it, but that was due to a .Net framework installation on an XP machine.
Regarding the PRO license, I only have two licenses and I just transfer them between machines as I need them.

****Correction**** I did have a client a while back that could not download my file. Then I went with Techinline (my backup remote option), connected via the web option. Transferred my .exe from my machine to theirs and installed it that way.

I know a lot of people knock LMIC and Pro, but it works fine for me and my clients. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I haven't really had any major problems with this setup and the cost is just right for me at the moment.

**Added Note** I will be adding more PRO licenses in the future as I will be bundling dSS packages along with Logmein's remote monitoring (with A/V). Each client's subscription will pay for their own PRO license.

Not sure if any of this helps you at all, but that's my 2 cents.
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby indy-pc » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:28 am

I didn't realize that you could transfer LMI Pro licenses. I've never used the Pro version, so that certainly makes LMI more affordable.

How does dSS fit in? Wouldn't LMI with d7+dCloud do the same thing or am I missing something? I guess I don't understand dSS enough...
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby Mitch » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:50 am

dSS is basically automated maintenance software that can be white labeled for your company. This allows you to leave your "business card" on your client's desktop. Install the software to their system. Not like d7, you would not leave a tool like this on your client's computers!

Check out the video's for more info:

Getting Started http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... fVXyCRLXTc

Setting up the Management Console http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cH6RqVCfN4

Good luck!
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby indy-pc » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:00 am

Mitch wrote:dSS is basically automated maintenance software that can be white labeled for your company. This allows you to leave your "business card" on your client's desktop. Install the software to their system. Not like d7, you would not leave a tool like this on your client's computers!

Check out the video's for more info:
Getting Started http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... fVXyCRLXTc
Setting up the Management Console http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cH6RqVCfN4
Good luck!

Thanks for the links. I've been meaning to look at those. Having a 9-to-5, a side business and a 6-month-old makes it a challenge to find the time.

I actually have one client that I service bi-monthly that I have a d7 folder on. I just have it password locked so they can't use it. Maybe that's not the best option, but that's what I have.
indy-pc
 
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby adztechcs » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:31 am

I am interested in this topic as well.

Cost is a real factor for me too.

I have been looking into screenconnect - http://www.screenconnect.com/

From what i can gather there is a one of fee for $325 for a session licence prices drop off as you buy more and you can credit licences you already have to new purchases.

Then you pay 20% of your cost of licence or licences per year for updates and support.

If I can figure out if you can install it on a web host rather than a local server it would be perfect.
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby ajgyomber » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:11 pm

We use LogMeIn Rescue + Mobile, LogMeIn Central + LogMeIn Free and LogMeIn Igntion. We use LogMeIn Rescue very infrequently. I cancelled that and our LMI Pro license today actually. I will be purchasing SimpleHellp 5-User for $995 and running it on an Amazon EC2 micro instance. It also tried ScreenConnect but it had too many dependencies and quirks for me. SimpleHelp also has a few more features like remote registry, process and service viewing/editing. ScreenConnect would not integrate with LabTech for one-click access to a remote machine and SimpleHelp was able to do it. That and the limited ScreenConnect Mac support is what made me decide on SimpleHelp.

--AJ
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby indy-pc » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:40 pm

AJ, I'm curious about SimpleHelp. Their website says that it's self-hosted. Would I need my own server and static IP for that or could I host it along with my website on GoDaddy?

Also, what about deployment? Their site says that your clients can just download and install the branded software from your site, but then it says something about a "session application". Would the client need to download, run or otherwise do anything else beyond the initial download and install to initiate a session? With LMI, I can connect at any time without needing the client to do anything on their end. Needing them to click something could be a hassle.

Also, I take it that you canceled your LMI Rescue and Pro licenses because you will be using SH instead, right? I would think that LMI Central, Free and Ignition wouldn't be very handy without at least the Pro license.
indy-pc
 
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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby wmmiller » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:46 pm

I’m using SimpleHelp and I’m using it self hosted on my own computer. I had it running for over two years on a Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop running windows 7 x64. I was also running BulletProof FTP server on that same laptop at the same time as well as my own small time mail server and it worked just fine for my support needs. I’ve since upgraded to a desktop computer for all three programs and that is what I use today. Not a great computer, but not the laptop. Those are the only three programs I run on that computer, but it’s not some rule or anything. The programs run on the C drive and everything that can be is stored on other drives in the computer. What I did. I got all three programs up and running one at a time, making a clone of the hard drive after each program was working and then when all three were up and running correctly I made one last clone and then put it to work. I always make sure I have a clone before updating any of the programs so if something goes wrong I can be back up and running fast. There is a remote support gateway app I send people a link to that they download from my ftp server that they can install that make the remote computer available as long as it’s on line. You would need the computer user login password if there is one on the pc. I choose SimpleHelp because it was and is in my price range and there are no monthly fees. It can be running on a simple computer and I found that to be a great benefit. At this time I can only have three remote sessions, but that works well for me at this time. It is easy to set up and get going although I’m not using the branding features as well as they could be used. I do have a static IP address that cost me $11.00/month from my ISP.
Bill

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Re: Remote Support Software

Postby ajgyomber » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:51 am

indy-pc wrote:AJ, I'm curious about SimpleHelp. Their website says that it's self-hosted. Would I need my own server and static IP for that or could I host it along with my website on GoDaddy?

Also, what about deployment? Their site says that your clients can just download and install the branded software from your site, but then it says something about a "session application". Would the client need to download, run or otherwise do anything else beyond the initial download and install to initiate a session?


I would check this page as far as hosting. It's very economical: http://simple-help.com/support/hosting-on-amazon

SimpleHelp handles both attended an unattended access. In short it works like a combination of LogMeIn Rescue where you don't have an remote support agent on a computer, as well as, LogMeIn Pro where you have an agent installed and can connect without end-user interaction.

--AJ
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