Remote User Support with NTRsupport
Today I have taken the plunge and migrated to NTRsupport  for remote user support. Readers of this technology blog will be aware that I have been a fan of Logmein Rescue for quite some time , and it is still a great product however after having a demo of NTRsupport and field testing it for a week or so I have decided to give it a go.
NTR, formed in 2000, offer remote support solutions in 14 languages world-wide and their product range includes a number of solutions such as NTRconnect (offering secure remote access to your own PC), NTRadmin (controlling and managing information technology assets) and NTRsupport (their flagship support product) offering remote user support to clients. It is the remote user support for clients that I have elected to migrate to.
The first thing to note with NTRSupport is that I am able to put a handy button, (which is skinnable too), onto our company website which allows users requiring assistance to place a support call from a familiar place (our website in this instance) and thus removes the reliance on PIN numbers for support verification – however this is still an option if required. The button also shows the availability of a support representative (just me in this case) for easier notification.
The support scenario begins with a simple friendly chat session that can be extended to include remote control, file transfer and useful features including video and audio communications, and the very useful ability to swap around the remote viewing window so remote users can see my screen if required. An interesting feature is the ability to specify which applications can be shared over remote control so a security conscious end user can limit what the remote operator can see and do on a per application basis. Surveys can also be configured prior to or post support to offer a rounded support service.
From an Operator perspective, the management interface is clean and uncluttered and immediately, upon login, offers tutorials and FAQs to get a new Operator up and running fast. Incoming support requests (up to 5 at a time) are shown as new tabs in the display and these can be renamed to more meaningful names once support is established. An optional help-desk module extends the functionality to give a trackable incident registration and follow up system.
From an Administrative perspective operators can be assigned easily and live information shown in case a number of Operators are in action. Auditing is another useful facility, being able to access a range of historical information and produce a number of reports in both text and XML formats.
From what I have seen so far I have yet to touch the surface on the sheer number of options available and I look forward to trying them all out, including Installable Remote Control, Flash/XML Buttons, Mail accounts for incident forwarding, privacy policies, and configurable system messages to name but a few.
I recently heard about another product, Citrix GoToAssist  which comes in both express and corporate editions which I hope to take a look at – at some point in the future.
UPDATE (2008): I have had a look at utilising a product called RealVNC  as a potential product for users located upon the VPN and for providing access to the server management.
UPDATE (2009): I have since revisited LogmeinRescue as I felt the mechanism for connecting end users to the platform was easier. It is unfortunate that with both platforms they are slightly hampered by browser security which continually requests verification from the, usually non-technical, end user asking them questions like “Download or Save this Application?” and “Do you want to run this application?” several times.
FURTHER UPDATE (2009) – Regarding the above issue regarding the browser hampering access to the support window. The Logmein Rescue product has slightly changed the way the user accesses the support tools which has helped with this problem considerably .
-  NTRSupport
-  LogmeinRescue
-  RealVNC
-  Get support quicker with latest enhancements to LogMeIn Rescue
-  Citrix GoToAssist