If you’re looking for a remote access tool, it’s a buyers’ market; they come in all shapes, sizes, scopes, and price points. Interestingly, in addition to a premium marketplace—which in itself offers an enormous range of choice—there’s also a compelling freeware catalogue of tools out there, some more functional than others. Rather than just picking one to get the job done, you need to be very clear about your selection criteria.
First, let’s (very) briefly turn our eyes to the $$ sign. Although the prize of a free “download and go” tool may seem compelling, the service, which you’re working to sell, and the reputation you’re in the process of developing are both on the line. Here are a few reasons why that initial price tag of $0 quickly becomes an expensive endeavor:
Here’s a real-life example: On May 25, 2018, the European Union (EU) implemented the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is specifically designed to promote and protect the data rights of users within this region. Did your tool have you covered? Given the potential impacts of non-compliance, several “global” utilities decided that rather than adapt to, and adopt, this new standard, they simply stopped serving any (and all) clients in this region—the entirety of the EU. Could your business handle a loss of that magnitude?
Whatever tool you decide to select, you need to know somebody has your back. If you’re in a session or building a customer relationship and you need assistance, lack of documentation, support, or guidance can—and often does—lead to an unwanted outcome.
Advertising banners, pop-ups, limited session time, and more are all direct consequences of using “freeware” or freemium models, none of which will help you expedite a satisfactory client outcome or help polish your image in the eyes of your unsuspecting user base.
Is it really secure? How confident are you that your new free application isn’t actually a delivery platform for a far more unsavory payload? The saying, “nothing in life is free,” or something is “too good to be true,” have never been truer when it comes to freeware. All too often, the delivery of freeware software is hi-jacked with unwanted and often highly undesirable software additions.
Ultimately, once you’ve downloaded and installed your “free” tool, you may find yourself paying in other ways.
Let’s say you have a free tool and—ads and other interferences aside—you’re up and running—what next? Can you say with confidence that your shiny new tool will help you build your business for the days, weeks, months, and even years ahead?
Needless to say, there are many more considerations, but these points go some way to informing your decision.
So, dropping now into premium, paid-for tools—the initial question still remains: What are your selection criteria?
Here are a few considerations for you:
Be wary of ultra cheap solutions. There’s a huge gulf between a desktop sharing/file transfer environment and a remote support tool. The bottom line is a desktop sharing and file transfer tool won’t give you the advanced features you’ll find yourself in need of: remote registry, remote command line, process control, service control, and event reading. And that’s without taking into account the administrative functions, like scheduling, permissions, access levels, logon management, and more.
Whatever tool you choose, make sure it’s from any platform, to any platform… and that includes mobiles.
If you know you’re going to want to support a potentially global client base, or at least avoid immediately imposed geographical limits on the reach, you need to know you’re invested in a tool that affords you a first-class experience, first time, every time, regardless of the geo-location of you or your client.
This is perhaps one of the most compelling areas to investigate before you make a purchase. Arguably, a healthy list of company standards is something you can see and touch—and which evidences a best-practices approach to solution development at every level of an organization. So before you even start your trial, check out the company standards.
SolarWinds MSP products are also, across the board, GDPR-ready, and information on this and the full scope of what this means for you may be found on our public GDPR resource center.
Gerry O’Donnell is the product manager for the SolarWinds® Take Control solution and RMM products, having been with SolarWinds for some 7 years.
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