IT Consultant: Portable CIO, Inc., San Francisco Bay Area
Challenge: Save time and frustration created when trying to assist a client with a computer issue over the phone
Solution: Datto RMM cloud-based remote monitoring and management platform with remote control and takeover
Results: Significant savings of time and money and greater customer satisfaction
Portable CIO, Inc., established in 2001, first operated without using a remote control/remote access tool. Evan Corstorphine. President and CEO of Portable CIO, says, “Some people are really hard to help over the phone. It can be inefficient and frustrating to conduct telephone support for people if you have to rely on them doing what you say.”
The San Francisco Bay Area IT consultant began using remote control a few years later, which allowed them to address their clients’ issues more quickly. “It saves time and frustration for both parties, and ultimately, it saves our client money because we’re not inefficiently sitting on the phone with the meter running.”
In 2013, Portable CIO upgraded to a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool that included remote control. Unimpressed by that vendor’s commitment to their customers, they switched to Datto RMM, formerly Autotask Endpoint Management, which Corstorphine says works well for his operation. “With our RMM solution, we don’t have to wait for someone to notice a problem. We can proactively deal with an issue and may not even need to remotely control the machine. We may just need to push a code or tell the system to fix itself via remote commands.”
Corstorphine says the feature of Datto RMM that’s most valuable to his business is consistency. “There are so many moving parts to our business. So many technologies — unbelievably — work very well together 99 percent of the time. That last 1 percent can be a lot of trouble, and having a tool that is well-tested and consistent is critical to having an anchor, reputable platform to work from. If we were unable to trust our platform while we’re working on the obscure technical issues our industry creates, it would be disastrous.”
Putting Clients’ Minds at Ease with Security
It’s common for IT solution providers to take measures when using remote control to assure their clients they are using them securely and in accordance with corporate policies.
Corstorphine says everyone on his staff has access to all accounts remotely, and they sign confidentiality statements, if required, by the client. “We may see things on their computers incidentally,” says Corstorphine. They also use two-factor authentication so that if an unauthorized person acquires a password, they still won’t be able to access the system.
He stresses that security related to remote control and RMM is only a part of a total security solution for their clients that includes solutions that defend against ransomware, keyloggers, and other types of malware and that train employees on phishing techniques and password hygiene. “We take a practical approach to effective security — we don’t try to make it look more valuable by imposing inconveniences on people, which doesn’t accomplish anything,” Corstorphine says.
10 Benefits of RMM with a Remote Control Feature
Corstorphine lists ten benefits that remote control integrated with RMM provides to his business and his clients:
- We can manage 1000 endpoints with just a few staff members.
- It saves time per encounter
- We can be far more proactive for the client.
- We are able to help the client be more proactive about their fleet management, replacements, etc.
- We help the clients stay compliant with software licensing.
- We’re able to block certain types of software from being installed on client machines (e.g., torrent software for illegal downloading), which keeps the business out of legal jeopardy.
- It acts as a platform for our endpoint security suite. The three products together form a protective shield around our managed endpoints that we couldn’t do otherwise.
- Saves us the headache of having to work through a client’s eyes and fingers on very technical issues.
- Less frustration for our clients (and us) leads to better relationships and trust.
- Saves money, because time is money, and working on the computer remotely is so much faster.
Advice to IT Solution Providers Who Don’t Use RMM + Remote Control
Corstorphine’s advice for other IT solutions providers is simple: “Do it or die.”
“Remote control allows us to address little things automatically, freeing us up to address bigger issues or to maintain other systems,” Corstorphine says. “Having an RMM product on a client machine is like leaving an IT tech in the client computer to watch over things. He lets us know when there’s a problem and tries to fix it before we even get there.”
“It is impossible to scale your business or add proactive value to your clients without having an RMM tool on your gear. Without it, you’re blind, reliant on reacting to issues, and then reliant on a frustrated client to help you get onto their computer to help. Or, you need to talk them through what needs to be done via phone call,” he says. “When I see an IT company that is not using RMM, I mentally make a note that they’re no competition to us because they can’t scale. It’s like they haven’t discovered fire – big disadvantage!”