In a perfect world, IT end users on managed services would never encounter problems. But in reality, they do — and, as luck would have it, multiple issues will occur at the same time.
David Geddes, Technology Director of New York-based MSP Cartwheel, explains that if an IT department works in the same building as the end users they assist, they just walk to the person’s desk. “But if you’re a managed services provider with clients located in many different locations,” says Geddes, “you need a better way to handle that situation.”
Geddes says a remote control solution (aka remote access) is the answer: “If a client calls for help, we can hop on their computer and solve their problem.” It eliminates a delay in providing service — when a client calls, you can help them immediately versus making them wait for a half-hour or more until you travel to their office.
Some solutions even allow you to “work behind the scenes.” “One of the pain points of using remote control is that you essentially tell the user they have to stop working,” Geddes points out. “But there are solutions that give you the ability to make some changes through a command-line interface, which doesn’t require the user to stop what they’re doing.”
Remote control also solves problems for the MSP. “You don’t have to send someone on-site, which saves resources,” Geddes says. “It helps you deliver services at reasonable prices, but still be profitable.”
Geddes says it’s hard for him to think of a situation in which remote control isn’t an asset for an MSP. “It gives us the ability to avoid going on-site, which is a cost-saving measure,” he says. “And if we do have a technician on-site, and they run into problems, a senior tech can remote in and help them out. It’s something we use constantly.”
The Biggest Mistake MSPs Make with Remote Control
A major pitfall MSPs need to avoid with remote control is the failure to secure it well. Geddes says MSPs need to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication, so even if someone gets the password, they can’t access the account. You also need to manage permissions carefully. “Security is about mitigating risk,” he says. “In general, if you’re not implementing any solution carefully, it’s not going to be as secure as you want it to be.”
It’s also vital to have security solutions in place such as antivirus, antimalware, firewall, and intrusion prevention/intrusion detection. “Use a lot of different layers of security,” Geddes says. He adds that it’s also essential to choose a remote control provider you can trust to secure their solution and that has the resources to invest so they can secure it properly.
A Few More Remote Control Mistakes to Avoid
When you’re selecting a remote control solution for your MSP business, it’s wise to look at a variety of solutions to find the one that works best with your workflow. Don’t fall into the trap of purchasing the first solution you find. “They each have their benefits and drawbacks. There’s no silver bullet,” says Geddes.
MSPs may also make the careless mistake of not using remote control to its full potential. You need to ensure that you and your team are taking full advantage of your solution to get the greatest return on your investment.
“Sometimes technicians don’t know all the things they can do with their tools,” says Geddes. “That’s a lot of work that you could have saved.”