Teamviewer Alternative – What to Consider When Choosing Your IT Tools
With TeamViewer’s latest security breach, many in the IT world have been looking for alternative remote assistance software. Remote access into personal computers or any personal device is a tricky proposition and many consumers have become aware of the pitfalls only recently. As IT experts are searching for TeamViewer alternatives, we’ve put together the must consider factors when making the selection.
Remote Assistance Technology
Remote access technology has been around for decades and was first used in the 1950s by government agencies to transmit data via a modem and a phone line but its capabilities were limited and not for commercial use. Fast forward to 1996 when the 56k modem was invented. This advancement enabled high-speed data transmission via multiplexing, a networking technique which integrates multiple signals, combining them into a single signal which is transmitted through a single phone line. With this modem, technicians were able to gain remote administration of computer systems and PCs, but the high cost for telephone line usage limited the technology to enterprises.
Enter broadband internet, the modem’s more advanced cousin. Broadband internet enabled an “always on” connection which made long-distance computer admin more affordable. However, early versions of remote access technology tools relied on “listening” to ports – ports which could be easily monitored by hackers wanting to intercept and steal data.
Modern remote access technology, which still relies on broadband internet use, has been built with security in mind although it is still not impervious to hacker attacks. Today, a web-based company offering remote access can create a secure connection by having both the user and the host log into a secure portal, sometimes done through a small software download but more advanced systems can skip this step. The most advanced systems, which are rapidly being integrated into customer support and call centers even tap into a device’s visual and audio system to enable higher levels of remote assistance.
Factors to Assess When Researching Remote Assistance Technologies.
Security (and how to avoid a TeamViewer-like breach)
Security breaches are the number one concern for any company in the digital world. And remote assistance technologies are high risk for getting hacked due to their nature, which opens a port providing direct access to customer PCs and devices. This makes it easy for hackers to monitor and analyze user behavior. Hackers can easily open a new unmonitored session and access previously viewed browser pages which typically have auto-login such as Facebook, eBay, PayPal or the like. This makes these technologies a never ending treasure chest for hackers. Scenarios where secured remote support technologies were hacked and sensitive customer information was stolen directly from their PCs, had customers frantically reporting that a number of financial accounts had been drained.
Remote takeover tools providers are aware of the security concern and have implemented security parameters in order to safeguard your computer. When making the decision on such a tool research it’s security methods and make sure you understand what you are buying. Beware of the free tools, they often have to compromise something somewhere and some will chose to gamble on security.
Augmented and mixed Reality are becoming a part of our daily technology and as they do they present remote virtual support alternatives that are as effective but don’t run the risk of opening a direct port into your customer’s PC.
High friction is enemy numero uno of any technological solution. While low security will hurt you “during the game”, high friction will keep you out of it. Your customer’s experience has to be easy and fast. These days, a consumer’s willingness to download items onto their personal devices is dropping fast. Finding and adopting a solution that is web based can make a big difference in your customer experience.
The right amount of friction that is acceptable for your company and its customers needs to be carefully balanced taking into consideration your specific situation. If you have long standing customers who get a lot of great benefit from you every week asking them to download something might make sense. If your business is based on consumer that needs only occasional support than having a low friction solution can make a big difference .
The success of Google’s push for web pages over apps in mobile is a clear sign where things are heading. Browser based solutions are preferred by most consumers as long as they are as effective as it allows them more flexibility, choice & freedom over all. Here to you can find multiple solutions for live video and photo sharing that can transform a support session as well as co-browsing. While some of those tools may not give you control over you consumer PC, they will provide you with more visibility into your consumer world with less friction.
Remote assistance is about visibility and access to your customer’s environment.
When the agent can see and manipulate the customer’s device from afar it saves a lot of time in identifying the source of the problem and solving it. Remote takeover technology is a great solution when it comes to seeing what’s going on on your customer’s computer. However, with the growing complexity of our technological ecosystems it is often that a problem in one device is actually the outcome of a problem with another device. Or the communication between the two of them.
When it comes to networks, connectivity and multiple hardware environments it is often advantageous to have more than just on screen visibility. The ability to visually communicate and look at how a device is connected to the network and or how a modem is set up, or what is the specific alarm coming up on a network printer will help the IT resolve more issues remotely.
With self service and automation being the water cooler talk at any support organization around the globe the reality of fully automated support delivered to consumers is still far ahead of us. That being said it’s early incarnations are starting to form and present a significant tool to support organizations.
The idea is simple, let a machine learn from the multiplicities of interaction you’re doing using remote support technologies and let it analyze the data and come up with best practices.
Some of the more advanced technologies in the remote support area are incorporating advanced AI to learn the process of fixing problems. Starting with identifying the cause of the problem based on the symptoms reported, through the most effective path to resolution. A machine is extremely effective when it comes to analyzing and dissecting that data and delivering likely scenarios and possible solutions to a human.
This is still a young technology but it’s making waves, it’s reducing the training period for support personal and improves over all performances of support operations.
Research the tools you’re considering and see if it’s incorporating a knowledge base functionality into its system. It’s time to get started with collecting your data.
Remote assistance is growing in demand and will be an important part of how tech support will take place in the future. Technologies such as augmented and mixed reality will slowly take over from current solutions like Teamviewer, and soon enough we will have virtual agents meeting our devices somewhere in a virtual space where they will be fixing our problems. While we wait on this futuristic vision to come into fruition the early representation in our current support is remote support – technology that allows access and visibility to the customer service agent into the customer’s environment.
When you are choosing one for your IT or support operation, you have to consider the pros and cons of each. Security, friction, visibility, and preparing for the future of automation are the four primary categories you should be looking into.
Do your due diligence; thoroughly examine whether the technologies you look into have the right parameters for your company, ask for referrals and read reviews from top tech sites and tech forums like TechTarget and StackOverflow.