Online, remote computer support is IT assistance delivered right to your workstation or PC via the Internet. The remote technician – who may work down the street or on the other side of the globe – uses remote-controlled software to inspect and troubleshoot issues, perform maintenance, and make repairs—all in real-time. The technicians never leave their cubicles, and the user may never even have to reboot his or her system.
With more and more employers allowing their staffs to work remotely, the popularity of off-site problem solving has grown. But it’s not just businesses that see value in working with remote IT specialists; increasingly, casual, day-to-day users also contract with remote computer support vendors as well.
How Remote Computer Support Works
Regardless of the IT infrastructure you use, remote computer support specialists can be easily found. Generally, the process begins with the service provider installing software onto the customer’s PC or laptop device. That software serves as a gateway enabling the technician to remotely log into the device as needed. In most cases, the initial software is the only purchase needed. It enables the technician to make the necessary fixes offsite – making it a convenient and money-saving solution for the user.
How Much Does Remote Computer Support Cost
Prices for the starter software and ongoing support vary per service provider. Businesses and consumers should shop around and seek out a pricing structures that suit their needs. Most providers will request a one-time, setup fee – and the amount will vary depending on the complexity of their customer’s system.
Once the initial fee is paid, remote service providers offer their clients various payment models, including pay-as-needed pricing, flat monthly fees or annual rates. Before selecting a provider and fee structure, you should consider your needs. Will you be calling the technician frequently and at all hours of the night? Or will an occasional phone call suffice? A busy start-up will likely need the help of remote technicians far more frequently than a retiree or a stay-at-home mom.
The best advice: Find a service that matches your budget and your requirements – but also a service that can be there when you need them.
The Pros and Cons of Remote Computer Support
The list of benefits in using remote technical support is a long one. Consider the following:
- Convenience: It’s hard to beat having a technical issue resolved in real time without leaving your home or being asked to schedule an in-home visit.
- Cost-effectiveness: You pay only for what you need. This is especially ideal for small business owners not interested in maintaining onsite IT personnel.
- Flexibility: Because remote computer support services can be based in locations around the globe, you can find service providers that fit your schedule.
- Fast: In most cases, online computer support is delivered immediately.
The predominant downside of using a remote computer support provider centers on trust and security. After all, in order for the offsite technician to fix your system, you must grant him or her complete access to your desktop and/or your network. You not only have to trust your service provider, but you have to trust the software he or she installs in your system. Consider this: two recent studies each attributed a majority of recent data breaches to vulnerabilities in poorly designed remote-access software.
Selecting a Remote Computer Service Provider
The best way to avoid having your system exploited is to find a remote computer service provider with a reputable track record and proper training. Geeks on Site uses fully certified technicians and 128-bit key connections, which is the same security that banks and retailers rely on. Clients are in complete control during every remote support session and are able to watch as we service their systems. They are able to take control of the mouse anytime during the session.
Regardless of the provider you select, do your homework: read online reviews and ask for client references. You are hiring a service provider: interview your top candidates. Ask them about their preferred security protocols and encryption techniques. Ask about their cyber security certifications. (The Department of Homeland Security’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies offers a list of professional certifications to consider.)
There are other considerations as well. You should find out your candidate’s area of specialty: Do they works on PCs, laptops, Macs, iPads? Can they help with printer issues? Problems with WiFi? Routers? Mobile devices? Can they help with malware and virus infestations? Data recovery? Whatever the answer, make sure the level of support they offer matches your needs.
When it comes to solving technical problems, remote computer support is becoming an increasingly popular method of problem-solving for computer users of all types. Whether they are casual users or the owners of growing businesses, they are finding remote computer support to be a fast, convenient, and cost-effective alternative to unraveling and fixing day-to-day technical difficulties.