The idea of giving someone else access to your computer, remotely, may seem strange, but it’s becoming an increasingly popular solution in support situations. In the coming months and years, it’s expected to become the standard.
Remote Access Technology: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly
Remote access technology — or the ability for someone to access one computer or mobile device from another device — has improved tremendously over the past few years. The results have been both positive and negative. Jason, who prefers for his surname not be used, is a living, breathing example of someone who has been victimized by remote access technology. Earlier this year, he logged onto Facebook using his PC and saw a message tappearing to orginate from Microsoft. It alerted him that his ISP was being compromised. The message told him to call a number right away. The individual on the other line assured him he was speaking with "Microsoft."
The "Microsoft" technicians were smooth, professional, and hasty. They explained that his computer had been hacked and that his anti-virus software had been bypassed. In order to fix the problem and protect him, they’d need to request remote access. "They wanted to show me how it was getting into my system so they requested remote access," Jason said. He continued, "Stupidly, I acquiesced."
After gaining access, the technicians continued to push the envelope and asked for a one-time $499 fee to complete the repairs and deal to future-proof his system from attacks for three years at a price of $1,458.99. "They confirmed the agreement remotely, using a digital signature. They had full control of my computer at this stage and were moving very quickly . . . and the payment went through," Jason recalls.
What Jason didn’t realize at the time was that he was in the midst of a major hack. Not only was his money being stolen, but he was giving the hackers access to his computer and allowing them to steal precious personal data, while installing malicious software.
It's not exactly commonplace, but these sorts of hacks are on the rise. This year alone, it’s estimated that $41,000 will be stolen from consumers as a result of remote access scams. The problem is that stories like Jason’s are what the general public think about when they hear the term "remote access." They automatically assume that it’s a technology used for malicious purposes, when it’s actually used for good by thousands of businesses as a way of helping employees and customers.
Using a remote support software, businesses can request access to a user’s system, securely magaing and troubleshooting it without having to be actually physically present. It’s a life-saver during a time crunch, giving businesses the ability to serve as many customers as possible within a short period of time.
The Benefits of Remote Access for Business
The trick for businesses is to change the public’s perception of what remote access is and how it’s used. Three of the key benefits they’re focusing on in this push are:
1. Low Cost
The first major benefit of remote support is that it’s cost effective — both for the business and the customer. It removes travel from the equation, taking far less time to deal with problems and resolve issues. A business can charge less, the customer pays less. Everyone is happier.
The convenience factor can’t be understated. Instead of driving somewhere to get support, the customer merely has to place a call and grant access. The business doesn’t have to worry about deploying anyone and can handle all support issues on site.
3. Superior Service
Finally, most businesses find they’re able to offer better service when they handle support remotely. Instead of having to travel to the site and work with a limited set of resources, technicians are able to work from the comfort of their office, request help from coworkers, and utilize tools that are comfortable.
Putting it All Together
Remote access technology is like any powerful tool — it can be used for good or evil. Unfortunately, the headlines often make it out to be a tool for evil, when it’s really used for more good. As the public becomes more aware of remote access support and the advantages it offers, look for more tech and software companies to integrate it into their customer service strategies.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer, and researcher. A graduate of Iowa State University, he's now a full-time freelance writer and business consultant. Currently, Larry writes for Entrepreneur.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter (@LarryAlton3), at LinkedIn.com/in/larryalton, and on his website, LarryAlton.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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