Remote support software is a key tool for any good managed services provider (MSP), allowing technicians to resolve technical issues and troubleshoot for customers from a distance. In many ways, remote support software (or remote assistance software) is becoming even more critical as remote working becomes the norm due to social distancing and other COVID-19 mandates, making physical support visits more difficult.
If your MSP is currently looking for remote assistance software, then it is important that you have an understanding of which remote assistance features should be prioritized when making your final decision. To help you narrow down the choices in your search, this guide will provide a list of what we see as the most important and critical remote assistance software features for MSPs.
Seven features your remote assistance software should have
To effectively support your customers remotely and provide enterprise-grade remote assistance, the remote support software for business that you choose should include several baseline functionalities. These include:
1. UNATTENDED ACCESS
As a technician providing remote assistance, you will often need to establish a connection with a customer’s computer when no one is physically near the computer you want to connect to. This is also helpful if you regularly support specific customers, because it allows you to establish connections without the need for client intervention. In contrast to attended access, in which a technician connects to an end user device with the user present to grant access, this form of support is called unattended access.
Without unattended access, your technicians will need the customer present to perform even the most routine activities, like software updates and IT infrastructure management. This is inconvenient for both your technicians and your customers. With remote assistance tools that support unattended access, you won’t have to disturb the customer or request control to establish a connection. Instead, unattended access allows you to connect to a customer’s computer in a single click, usually within a matter of seconds. In doing so, technicians can perform maintenance when customers are away from their computers to minimize downtime and provide behind-the-scenes support.
To use unattended remote access, you’ll need to install your remote assistance software on all computers and devices that will likely need support. Once you’ve installed the remote agent, you‘ll be able to connect with these computers remotely—without needing to request access each time.
2. BUILT-IN LIVE CHAT
Modern customers have become accustomed to instant communication, with instant messaging platforms and live chat features allowing them to gain access to assistance in a matter of seconds. As such, customers have come to expect the same availability of support and communication from MSPs, and remote support is no exception.
Remote assistance tools should include live chat functionality, which allows technicians and customers to exchange instant messages without having to send emails or pick up the phone. This can help your technicians more rapidly get to the bottom of an issue and will go a long way in ensuring your customers are happy with your service.
3. SUPPORT FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION MONITORS AND MULTI-MONITOR SET-UPS
Many remote assistance tools are not built to support high-resolution monitors or situations that involve multiple monitors. But if you want to offer customers an enterprise-grade, versatile remote assistance experience, it’s important that your remote assistance tools can handle modern business environments. This should include the ability to support high-resolution monitors, multi-monitor environments, and small-format mobile screens—all of which are especially common in large enterprises.
If your remote assistance software is unable to support high-resolution and multi-monitor instances, your technicians won’t be able to achieve maximum productivity. Remote support software that doesn’t provide full clarity and visibility into your customers’ devices makes your technicians’ lives harder. With this in mind, we recommend choosing remote assistance software that supports everything from modern monitors (4K+) to mobile screens.
4. SESSION RECORDING
When choosing your remote assistance software, full session recording and search capabilities should be a priority. These features help ensure all your remote session activities are archived and easily accessible, allowing you to use them for historical and quality analysis purposes. Not only can you then access these recordings for any audits, but you can also refer to them to ensure you’re continually improving your services and satisfying your customers.
Being able to record and store your sessions can also support training initiatives and can help you onboard new technicians quickly and easily. By allowing you to give new technicians practical examples of how a session should (or shouldn’t!) be conducted, you gain a valuable resource that technicians can use to self-teach as they progress in their career.
5. BRANDING AND CUSTOMIZATION
With cybercrime evolving every year as attackers work to breach MSPs’ security measures, your customers must be able to distinguish between genuine remote support services provided by your MSP and bad actors trying to compromise and exploit their data. Remote assistance software that provides branding and customization features can be useful in this regard, by making it easier for your customers to recognize your authentic platform. Branding features also help keep your MSP business at the forefront of your customers’ minds when they receive support, reinforcing the value you provide.
6. ENTERPRISE-GRADE SECURITY
Without the appropriate security features, remote assistance activities can provide cybercriminals with a gateway to access sensitive customer data. As such, it’s extremely important the remote assistance software you choose offers powerful built-in security features. The following security features can serve as a helpful starting point in what to look for:
- Advanced encryption protocols such as AES 256
- Support for multi-factor authentication
- Support for multi-level permissions
- Clipboard deletion capabilities
- Safeguarded session creation that requires the appropriate permissions to initiate sessions
These security features and more can help ensure your customers’ systems and data are safe, even during remote assistance sessions.
7. CROSS-PLATFORM SUPPORT
MSPs often support a diverse customer base. Because of this, using remote assistance software with cross-platform support capabilities is crucial. At a minimum, your software should be able to support Windows, Linux, and Mac devices. Ideally, your remote assistance software should also support Android and iOS mobile devices—and a bonus if your remote support software has a native mobile application so you can also access support features via an iOS or Android device.
Not all remote assistance tools are created equal
As this guide has demonstrated, some remote assistance tools will be better suited to MSPs than others. It’s up to you to research the options on the market to find the software that meets your needs.
N-ableTM Take Control was built for IT service providers, and was designed to help them support customers with quick and intuitive remote support. This tool gives you access to deep diagnostics and support from within a single dashboard, centralizing your approach to remote assistance and increasing technician productivity. Take Control is user-friendly, scalable, cost-effective, and includes all of the key features listed in this guide. To learn more, test out Take Control with a 14-day free trial.