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The amazing remote technical support

By Jean-Claude Elias - Jan 31,2019 - Last updated at Jan 31,2019

Despite some complex issues, other elusive, not to say obscure questions such as the dark Internet, virtual currencies, the blockchain system and never ending very real hacking threats, there is still some good news on the information technology front.

It concerns the way users receive the much needed technical support for their machines and their software. This service has come a long way and now functions in a smooth, practical manner— and it is inexpensive, what is more. A combination of factors have made technical support as well-performing and convenient as it has become today.

First is the wide availability of fast, omnipresent and often wireless Internet connectivity. It has made communication between machines a breeze. Then comes the drastically improved and very reliable hardware. This alone is giving us equipment that rarely fails. Besides, nowadays, when a physical component of a computer fails, like a hard disk or a monitor, replacing it is easy and, up to a certain point, inexpensive. Hardware failure is the least of the consumer’s worries.

Technical support is needed by the user mainly to troubleshoot and solve software issues, e-mail or operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac OS, Unix) problems. It is about finding out how to do this or that, how to better use one of the countless applications available out there, addressing Internet and security questions, and so forth. The common denominator here is the fact that all these matters do not require the physical presence of an IT technician and can be treated remotely, by accessing the user’s computer over the Internet.

Providing remote technical support has become the prime way to work, and it covers 70 to 80 per cent of the cases. It therefore constitutes a huge time and money saver, and reduces transportation time and pain. It also allows the technicians to work in a more relaxed, more focused manner, by working from their own desk, therefore doing better work. The benefits are many and invaluable. It is win-win situation on both sides.

Yet, some users are reluctant to give remote access to their computer to the techies. This, in no way, is justified. There is no more risk in accessing your computer remotely than working on it locally, physically. Besides, when techies “take control” of your computer remotely you can watch them working by looking at your screen and see what they are doing, this is in addition to the fact that allowing remote access is done on a case-by-case basis, and only if you allow it. When done properly it is really a zero-risk operation.

There are several applications that let you use remote access and allow technical people to work remotely on your machine. Ultra VNC, TeamViewer, Remote PC AnyDesk, Windows Remote Desktop, ShowMyPC, are some of these applications. Some are free and others work based on a paid subscription. However, in most cases, the party that has to pay is the one accessing your computer (i.e. the techie, the server) and providing you with the service, not you, the consumer. In IT terminology and jargon you are the “client” and the technical support people are the “server”, or the “host”.

Over the last five years remote access technical support has become the norm. With time nothing stays the same — especially in the IT world — and what maybe was a major concern yesterday is now a thing of the past. If the new way of working does not solve absolutely all issues, it does solve most of them, and more importantly, it ensures a faster, cheaper and more comfortable service.

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