Wednesday, February 16, 2011

utilising the power of 'remote'

Among other jobs I manage the IT for a number of small businesses and in a bid to not be on site very often (save costs,fuel,carbon etc), I have been testing a few remote support platforms.

The 2 that remained after testing were Microsoft Remote Desktop and Teamviewer.

All of my clients are Microsoft based, so when working on their servers Remote Desktop just made sense.
The down side is that there needs to be a public IP address linked to the server you are trying to connect to if you don't use a VPN that is.
On hat note VPN's are great, however they don't always give you the best user experience, like trying to connect across a 3G dongle to fix a problem can be clunky, remote desktop does hog a lot of resources. It can be done though, don't get me wrong. While on holiday in Kefalonia I did connect into a server over a very ropey 3G connection using Remote Desktop.

Teamvier has a citrix(y)/go to my PC feel about it and for connecting adhoc to client PC's it is fantastic.
You dont need a VPN (although it has one built in anyway), your client connects to their server which managed the authentication and initial connection. As far as I can tell it then drops the 2 connections together like a VOIP call, dotn quote me on that I have not done mush research into this side of things.

What teamviewer does do is alleviate the need for public IP address and firewall routing, it uses port 80 from both ends of the connection and encrypts the data as well.

I have been saved on a number of occasions by teamviewer, as you can install it to run when windows starts up, I can remote into a PC and fix VPN's etc without too much hassle.

The other big seller for me is the client PC's do not need to have teamviewer installed, they can download and install a 'no install' client for windows/mac and just tell me the ID and secure password, presto I am in.

There is no downside for me anyway with using teamviewer, its free for non commercial or you can buy a lifetime licence.
When you add in its ability to allow you to do remote presentation, VPN, VOIP calls, chat, file transfer etc, the cost of a single licence is quite resonable +/-£440

Just checked and there are clients for PC, Mac, Android and IPhone and iPad.... 

The most complicated thing I have had to try and do is move some files to a secure web server and my access is IP based, so I only have access from my office.
This happened while on a train;
I used teamviewer to get onto my desktop in the office (had to call to have it turned on though
Then remote desktop'd onto my clients PC that is on their office network, copy the files from the designer's PC to the server in the DMZ through the PC I was logged into.
Long winded and slow, but I did it without having to break any security by telling someone how to do it and it meant the client didn't have to wait for the job to be done the next time I was 'passing by'

If you do IT support and need a remote support platform to use (did I mention you can white label it as your own?).

Teamviewer gets a thumbs up from me.

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