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Geek Speak

20 Posts authored by: glenn gray

Adobe recently posted an announcement that urged all users to drop whatever they’re doing and update their Flash® Players—immediately. This especially applies to those who visit Google® Chrome™ and Internet Explorer®. They further punctuated this warning by mentioning a vulnerability that could allow an attacker to remotely overtake users’ computers. Their announcement included a patch that updates computers to the latest version of Flash and forestalls users from essentially handing their computers over to cyber criminals.

 

Adobe’s agility in notifying Flash users everywhere about the vulnerability likely prevented many from laying out the Welcome mat for attackers. Still, it’s important to note that this is not a one-off scenario. These vulnerabilities occur over and over—often in rapid succession, leaving users and system administrators scrambling for the latest upgrade or some sort of protection from lurking attackers.

 

Unless your IT department is fully equipped with a patch management tool, this all-too-frequent vulnerability and subsequent upgrade is not a quick fix. Envision a poor system administrator walking the halls of a multi-story business building with over 1000 computers laboriously updating Flash one workstation at a time. With that visual in mind, now imagine how many more patches the administrator has needed to install to ward off the hundreds of other vulnerabilities that occur on a regular basis.

 

The best way to stay on top of the multitude of security risks, patches, and updates, is with a tool that does all this for you—automatically. SolarWinds Patch Manager is an affordable, easy-to-use patch management tool that handles all of your 3rd-party patches on thousands of servers and workstations. It also gives you an at-a-glance view of all your patch statuses. You can see the latest available patches, top 10 missing patches in your environment, and a general-health overview of your environment based on which patches have been applied—all without leaving your workstation.

 

Security risks and IT infrastructure vulnerabilities are not going away—neither are the attackers that exploit these vulnerabilities. You need to summon reinforcements to ensure that all your servers and workstations are up-to-date and security-risk free. Patch Manager is a good ally in your efforts to avoid becoming a target for attackers.

Remote support software is becoming more robust and popular meaning fewer companies are able to offer it as a free tool. For example, LogMeIn recently announced that they will start requiring customers to purchase an account subscription for their remote support desktop tool. Now, in terms of a cost comparison, the decision of using SaaS (Software as a Service) or self-hosted, just got easier.


Given the convenience and time-saving aspects of remote support functionality, more IT pros are starting to recognize it as a necessary asset in their IT arsenal. DameWare Remote Support (DRS) is a feature-rich remote support tool that includes remote control for Windows®, Mac OS® X, and Linux®, remote access from iOS® and Android® devices, in-session chat, and file transfer—all for a one-time fee of $349/user. Because it’s a self-hosted solution, you have more control over setup, operation, and maintenance. This means a lot when it comes to network security.


When you add cost to the equation, it’s easy to see how a self-hosted system is far more cost-effective over the long run than a SaaS offering.


With LogMeIn, users will need to pay $99/year for remote access of two computers. For small business owners, they recommend LogMeIn Pro for Small Businesses. This option supports up to 10 computers at $449/year. Therefore, support for each computer equals $45/year. If one IT pro can support 10 computers, the cost for DRS is about $35 per computer for the first year. This results in a 20% savings over the LogMeIn price during the first year.


The annual contract renewal for DRS is $99/year. This includes upgrades for all new releases and access to technical support. Comparing DRS to LogMeIn Pro, the cost of supporting the same 10 computers drops to $10/year, resulting in an annual savings of 75% after the first year.


LogMeIn’s new pricing policy serves as a wake-up call to the evolving nature of software and online services. When cost is factor in technology decisions, self-hosted, DameWare Remote Support is the more cost-effective option.

In June 2013, SolarWinds released version 10 of DameWare Remote Support which includes an innovative new mobile remote desktop tool called DameWare Mobile. DameWare Mobile allows system administrators and help desk pros to support end-users and computers from mobile devices using DameWare’s award-winning remote control software, Mini Remote Control. Originally released only for iPhone and iPad, SolarWinds is happy to announce the addition of Android to DameWare Mobile. 


Now from an iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, or Android tablet, you can remotely access and control computers on your network from anywhere.  This tool is great for IT pros that participate in on-call rotations. Instead of being stuck at home on nights and weekends, IT pros can now take back the time they lose to on-call rotations and live a little!

 

DameWare Mobile consists of two components – the DameWare Mobile Client for iOS or Android and the DameWare Mobile Gateway (DMG).  The Mobile Client for iOS and Android can be downloaded directly from the App Store and Google Play and installed on a mobile device or tablet.  The DMG is included with every DRS v10 download.  The DMG must be installed and configured to allow connections from mobile clients to Windows computers inside your firewall.  Instructions for configuring the DMG can be found here.

 

As with every DameWare product, DRS v10 with DameWare Mobile is available for a fully-functional 14-day free trial.

SolarWinds is happy to announce the release of DameWare Remote Support (DRS) version 10!  Just like earlier versions, DRS v10 includes a comprehensive suite of systems administration tools, but this latest offering includes an innovative new mobile remote desktop application for iPhone and iPad that lets IT pros support end-users from anywhere using DameWare’s proprietary remote control protocol.

 

What is DameWare Mobile?

 

DameWare Mobile is an ideal tool for on-call rotations and after hours support.  With it, sys admins can create mobile desktop remote control sessions from anywhere a 3G or 4G signal is available.  It consists of two components:  the DameWare Mobile Gateway Service and the DameWare Mobile Client.

 

The Mobile Gateway Service


The Mobile Gateway Service manages connections from the outside world to computers behind a firewall.  It is packaged with the DRS installer and must be configured before users can connect to computers on a network from an iOS device.  Generally speaking, there are two ways to configure the Gateway Service:  on a Windows server residing in a DMZ or on a Windows server accessible through VPN connections.  The setup is quick and painless as the installer for the Gateway Service is packaged with the DRS v10 installer.

 

The Mobile Client for iOS


The mobile client is available in the iTunes App store for iPads and iPhones running iOS 6 or higher. From the mobile client, users can connect to Windows computers with the DameWare agent on their networks.  The mobile client includes a host of intuitive controls that make remotely controlling computers much easier than with free iOS RDP and VNC apps.  A Windows-ready keyboard complete with start button, ctrl, del, and esc keys is included as well as a virtual mouse with right and left clicks and drag & drop abilities.

 

DRS_10-0_DAMEWARE-MOBILE-MOUSE_Base_EN.png

 

Remote Control and Remote Administration


As always, DRS is packaged with Mini Remote Control the award winning remote access tool that has made the lives of countless IT pros easier for over 10 years.  DRS also includes a set of remote administration tools like Active Directory management, Windows administration, and support for Intel vPro with AMT.

 

So there you have it….DameWare just made things even easier for you sys admins.  If you’ve got an older version of DameWare Remote Support or some licenses of Mini Remote Control, now is your chance to make the leap to the latest version.  Visit www.dameware.com to learn more about v10 of DameWare Remote Support.

On March 5th of this year, Network Topology Mapper v1.0 was made available to the public.  Since then it has quickly become one of the more popular products that SolarWinds offers.  It’s a great tool for MSPs and IT Consultants that travel from one client location to the next because with only one license of NTM, an unlimited number of networks can be scanned and mapped.  It’s also a nice complement to SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) because maps created in NTM can be exported to the Network Atlas format and then imported for use in NPM.

 

NTM_1-0_NETWORK_MAPPING_REGULATORY_COMPLIANCE_Base_EN.png

 

On 5/13/13, the first service release of NTM was made available.  This update includes some great new features.  Among a few bug fixes, this service release includes:

 

  • Nodes with multiple IP addresses are now supported in tooltips, details windows, and search queries
  • Spanning tree now reports states in English instead of stored values
  • Link speeds of up to 10Gb are now identified
  • Maps can now be exported to Visio 2013 vsdx format

 

For those of you who have already purchased NTM, visit the customer portal and download the latest release for these updates.  If you haven’t tried NTM yet, now is the perfect time!  For those who would like to try NTM, we’ve unlocked a few of the features in the trial to make the experience better. Download NTM v1.0.1 today and see how easy it is to create an accurate and detailed map your network.

In the Time Before Remote Support Tools

 

In the early days of information technology before remote support software existed, IT pros had to travel from computer to computer in order to support them.  While this was great for socializing, it wasn’t exactly the most efficient method of support delivery.  And who could forget IT support by phone?!  It is certainly more efficient than walking the halls, but taxes both tech and end-user, increasing frustration on both ends of the call.  Conversations held during a phone IT support session sound something like, "Click on XYZ and then tell me what happens," which is inevitably followed by prolonged periods of silence while the user attempts to follow a technician's instructions and report back.

 

Fortunately, the ways in which remote support can be delivered has evolved significantly over the years.  Let’s take a look at how remote support tools have evolved over time.

 

Early Remote Support Tools

 

Command Line Support

 

Humankind’s first foray into the area of remote support involved simple command line protocols.  Telnet is a protocol that dates back to 1969 and is still used today to provide option negotiation between a client and the server. According to the THINK protocols team, Steve Crocker wrote RFC 1 in April 1969, documenting the broader goal of "finding a host level protocol capable of facilitating a connection between two hosts, where the remote host acts as if the user were sitting directly at that terminal." Crocker further outlined the collective desire for "the use of a TTY-like connection and a file-like connection in order to facilitate a complete connection between two hosts and the need for error checking."

 

Secure Shell, or SSH is another network protocol that emerged early on for remote support. It uses a secure channel to exchange data between two networked devices. In earlier years, both Telnet and SSH were found to be better used by network administrators.

 

SSH_Tool_IOS.png

 

Remote Control Tools

 

Early Licensed Remote Control Tools

 

In a response to the market demand for remote support tools, DameWare emerged and Symantec created a suite of computer programs known as pcAnywhere. These remote control tools enable techs to share screens with end-users and improve the quality of the support they were able to provide.  Both used proprietary protocols and both required agents to be installed on host machines.

 

The emergence of remote control software heralded the streamlined delivery of remote support from centralized locations and dramatically decreased the time needed to troubleshoot a remote computer.  It also eased the transition of housing servers in-house to their placement in colocation facilities.  In short, sys admins were able to reliably support and operate their servers from remote locations.

 

Free Tools Hit the Scene

 

The next tools to arrive on the remote support scene were the RDP protocol and open source remote support software VNC. RDP was created by Microsoft for Microsoft operating systems. It has been a part of every business or professional series OS delivered by Microsoft since XP.  While it is a great tool for administering Windows servers, it has some limitations that prevent it from being a pure remote support tool.  The most important of these limitations is lack of support for screen sharing.   Another limitation is that it only works for Microsoft OSs leaving those who support mixed-OS environments searching for another tool for their Linux and Mac computers.

 

As a remote support tool, VNC probably represents a better option.  VNC has some advantages over RDP like screen-sharing with end-users and the ability to support mixed-OS environments, but like RDP, has serious limitations preventing it from being a true enterprise-class remote support tool.  Large-scale deployment of VNC is not a simple process and as an open-source tool, it is likely that organizations requiring robust security will steer clear of VNC as their remote support tool of choice.

 

Remote Support Redefined

 

DameWare - Remote Control and Remote Administration

 

Today, remote support has evolved even further and can be broken down into two categories:  remote control and remote administration.  Remote control tools simply allow IT pros to operate computers remotely.  Tools like RDP and VNC fall squarely into this category.  Remote administration is a more holistic approach to remote support.  With remote administration software, sys admins can perform many of their daily tasks from one software console.

 

0011_DRS_9-0_Services_Lg_EN.jpg

 

As remote support has evolved over time, so too has DameWare. DameWare’s flagship product, DameWare Remote Support (DRS), is a comprehensive remote support solution.  DRS includes a remote control solution for mixed-OS environments and is capable of remotely controlling Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers all from one console.  On the remote administration side, DRS can manage multiple Active Directory domains allowing techs to manage AD objects and edit Group Policies.  DameWare also allows sys admins to perform administration tasks on remote computers without having to initiate full remote control sessions.  From the DRS console, sys admins can troubleshoot remote computers by viewing event logs, restarting services and processes, and managing disks and peripherals.  The latest version of DRS even includes support for Intel vPro AMT which allows sys admins to interact with computers regardless of the state of their operating systems.

 

DameWare Remote Support is an affordable, attractive option for providing remote support, saving time with administrative tasks and quickly troubleshooting problems.  Download a 14-day free trial today to discover all its benefits for yourself.

SolarWinds is pleased to announce the release of its latest network discovery and mapping tool, Network Topology Mapper (NTM).  NTM has a broad set of applications and use cases ranging from simple discovery of network devices to the maintenance of network diagrams to meet specific information security requirements.

 

Network Discovery


NTM is a robust network discovery tool that can be used on an unlimited number of networks.  This makes NTM the perfect tool for Managed Service Providers and IT Consultants that work with multiple clients.  Simply install NTM on a laptop, take it to clients’ locations, and use it to scan and map their networks.  You’ll quickly find all of the devices on a network and have them presented in an easy-to-use interface.

 

NTM’s network discovery feature gathers information about network nodes utilizing multiple polling methods.  These include ICMP, SNMP v1-v3, WMI, CDP, LLDP, and VMware.  Using these methods, NTM can create a comprehensive network map that shows you all of the devices on a network – even those that aren't supposed to be there.

 

Network Mapping


NTM uses the information it gathers from network scans to create highly accurate network maps.  Network maps created with NTM can be displayed in several ways to give you the most appropriate visible representation of your network topology depending on your needs.  Maps created with NTM contain a wealth of information about your network and the nodes on it including network speed between nodes, hardware type, subnets and VLANs.  NTM also contains a set of role classification filters that allow you to display devices based on their role or only show specific network segments.

 

Exporting network maps created with NTM is a snap!  NTM allows you to export your network maps to Microsoft® Visio® versions 2007-2013, PNG, and PDF formats.  It also allows you to export to SolarWinds Network Atlas format.  Maps exported to Network Atlas format can easily be imported into Orion and used by other SolarWinds products like Network Performance Monitor.

 

NTM_1-0_NETWORK_MAPPING_REGULATORY_COMPLIANCE_Base_EN.png

 

Meeting Specific Requirements of Information Security Standards


More and more, organizations are required to adhere to rules laid out by information security standards like PCI, HIPAA, SOX, and others.  Many of these information security standards require organizations to keep up-to-date diagrams of their networks.  NTM can help organizations meet these requirements with its scanning and mapping features.  NTM includes a scheduled scan feature that can be set to run scans of a network at intervals chosen by the organization.  Each new scan represents a picture of a network as it exists at that time.  These can be exported and archived to ensure an organization is meeting these network mapping requirements.

 

Additionally, new diagrams created at each scan show changes to network topology since the last scan.  In this way, NTM can be used to detect rogue devices or unauthorized changes to a network.

 

Check Out SolarWinds NTM


Like all other SolarWinds products, NTM is available for a free trial.  If you are an IT Consultant, work for an MSP, have to meet information security requirements, or just need to see what’s on your ever-growing network, NTM can help.

The Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and the WindowsNetworking.coms – That’s right….it’s awards season!!  Sadly, the music, television, and motion picture associations have snubbed DameWare again, but all is not lost this season.  On February 20, 2013 DameWare Remote Support (DRS) received another Readers’ Choice award from WindowsNetworking.com!  This is the 4th year in a row that DameWare was chosen by readers as the best remote control software on the market and the 5th time since 2008.

 

In honor of this award, I’ve prepared a little speech, so here goes…

 

Well, another year has passed and DameWare Remote Support has gotten even better.  I have a list here of people that deserve some praise for their hard work and ingenuity.

 

I’d like to thank the product management and development teams at SolarWinds for working on our customers’ behalf.  They designed and built-out the new features that have made DRS the best remote support software on the market again.  Here are some of the great features that became available in DRS in 2012:

 

- Remote control for Mac OS X and Linux operating systems

- Support for Intel vPro AMT

- Agent backwards compatibility through version 7

- Support for Windows 8

 

That list augments an already impressive feature-set that includes:

 

- 3 methods of desktop remote control from one console including MRC, RDP, and VNC

- Active Directory management tools that let you manage multiple AD domains

- Remote administration tools that let you troubleshoot Windows computers remotely without a full remote control session

- A tool that lets you export Active Directory users and other objects

 

(music begins playing)


Please….just a few more people to thank.  I’d also like to thank our customer support team for providing outstanding service to our customers.

 

(music begins playing again)


Please!!  I’m not finished!  I’d also like to thank our sales and marketing teams for getting the word out about this great product and making the sales process quick and painless for our customers.

 

(music begins playing again)

 

Please!!!  Just one more!!  And most of all, I’d like to thank our customers.  You made this award possible by voting DameWare Remote Support the best remote control software on the market!  We promise to keep improving DRS and delivering the best products possible to you.

 

(music begins playing again and I’m dragged off the stage)


Thanks, everyone!  See you next year!!!

We Have a Winner!!!

Well, folks....it looks like DameWare can be used to remotely control a Surface Pro tablet.  We'd like to thank our thwack friend jimmyyen for doing the QA work for us and proving that DW is once again up to the task.  Check out jimmyyen's video below to see his handy-work.

 

 


The Surface Pro is Here, Now How Do You Support It?

As most of you already know, Microsoft released its Surface Pro tablet this weekend.  What sets this tablet apart from the likes of Apple’s® iPad® and even Microsoft’s Surface RT® is that it is squarely aimed at enterprise users.  Its internals are really no different than those of a laptop or ultrabook.  It runs on a 3rd generation Intel® Core i5® Processor, has 4GB of RAM, and up to 128GB of storage on an internal SSD.  It also includes the Pro version of Windows 8® which means it can be joined to an Active Directory® domain and can have Group Policies® enforced on it.  Adoption rates for this new tablet are expected to be robust, so it is time for IT pros to start thinking about how they are going to support it.

 

surface_pro_pcworld.jpg

                                                                    Image by PCWorld


So how will you support these new devices? 

Well, if they're exactly what we’ve been told they are, DameWare® will be up to the task.  The DameWare MRC agent should be able to be installed on a Surface Pro just like any other Intel-based Windows computer.  This means that you should be able to remotely control a Surface Pro the same way you would the other Windows computers on your network.  It also means that you ought to be able to perform remote administration tasks on one like viewing event logs and restarting services from the DameWare Remote Support console.
 
So you’re probably thinking….Should beOught to?  Does DameWare work with Surface Pro tablets or not??  Well, to be honest we haven’t tried because they just became available 2 days ago.  The release of the Surface Pro got us thinking about how active our friends are on thwack and we decided to let you help us find out if these new tablets can be supported by DameWare.  Now rest assured that we haven’t lost all of our software developers or QA analysts.  We just thought it might be fun to engage our thwack friends in a little QA contest.

 
The QA Contest: Show Your DameWare Surface Pro Support Savvy

Here’s how it works:  All you have to do is be the 1st one by February 25th, 2013 to post a video on thwack of a Surface Pro tablet being remotely controlled with DameWare Remote Support or Mini Remote Control and then tweet it with #DameWare.  It’s that simple!  The winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card and some bragging rights on thwack.


And Now for Some Fine Print

Your video has to clearly show that it is a Surface Pro tablet being remotely controlled and it has to be with the Mini Remote Control Viewer.  I recommend showing an MRC chat session to prove you’re using the MRC Viewer.  The best way to get your video on thwack is to upload it to YouTube and post the link to the DameWare DRS or DameWare MRC forums.  You can also submit directly to those forums and attach your video submission.  Please make sure to check the “DameWare Surface Pro Tablet Contest” category before posting.  Once you've posted your video, tweet your video with #DameWare.

 

Sadly, this contest is for US residents only.  My apologies to our good thwack friends from Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.  Please see the attached Terms & Condition document to get all of the fine print.


Go Get ‘em!

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s see those videos!

We’re pleased to announce that version 8 of Mobile Admin is now available to the public.  We’ve made some great enhancements to the product that allow it to integrate seamlessly with other SolarWinds products.  Now Mobile Admin includes support for Network Performance Monitor, Server & Application Monitor, Network Configuration Manager, NetFlow Traffic Analyzer, and User Device Tracker.

 

Mobile Admin integrates with over 40 enterprise technologies allowing IT pros to complete most of the tasks they perform in a day with a mobile device.  Currently, Mobile Admin works on iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, and BlackBerry platforms.  From Mobile Admin you can manage Active Directory and remotely access computers via SSH, Telnet, RDP, or VNC.  You can manage mail servers like Exchange and Domino and database applications like Oracle and SQL Server.  Mobile Admin integrates with Backup Exec allowing you to restore files while on the go.  And in addition to enhanced integration with SolarWinds NPM, Mobile Admin lets you manage other infrastructure monitoring tools from your mobile device like Nagios and SCCM.

 

Dan Balcauski, Product Manager for Mobile Admin, put together this great blog post about Mobile Admin 8.0 that shows how you can use Server & Application Monitor from a mobile device.  Better yet, visit the app store for your mobile device and download the client.  Then download and install the server application and try out a fully functional copy of Mobile Admin 8.0 free of charge for 14 days.

For over 10 years, DameWare has been providing remote support solutions to system administrators and other IT pros.  The latest product offerings from DameWare, part of the SolarWinds family, include the popular remote control software, Mini Remote Control, and the robust remote support software, DameWare Remote Support.  Today we’re happy to announce a new remote support tool that IT pros can add to their tool kits.  And best of all….it’s totally free!

 

The new free tool is called the DameWare SSH Client for Windows (catchy name, eh??).  For years, IT pros have had to choose between free tools like PuTTY with limited feature-sets that aren’t often updated and paid tools that provide a rich set of features, but that can cost well over $100 per license. The DameWare SSH Client is a completely free SSH client for Windows that bridges the gap between expensive paid software and limited free SSH clients.  The DameWare SSH client provides several features that are usually only seen in expensive alternatives.  Like other DameWare products, the features included in the SSH client are designed to help IT pros save time and money and are packaged in an easy-to-use interface.

 

Get Your Tabs On

 

You wouldn’t use an internet browser without tabs, would you?  Then why use an SSH client without them?  The DameWare SSH Client for Windows has a user-friendly tabbed interface that lets IT pros manage multiple SSH or Telnet sessions from one console.  Give it a try and see for yourself how easy it is to manage multiple sessions.  Just like tabbed browsers, we bet you won’t go back!

 

Quit Re-typing Your Credentials

 

If you’re anything like the busy system administrators I’ve worked with in the past, you’ve probably got several SSH and Telnet sessions going at one time.  Most likely you’re connecting to computers and devices that require different credentials.  The DameWare SSH Client for Windows includes a very handy feature that lets you save multiple sets of credentials for easy login access to all the devices on your network.

 

Saving Sessions = Saving Time

 

Like most network environments, yours probably has a handful of devices and computers that you access more frequently than others.  The DameWare SSH Client for Windows includes a feature that lets you save your favorite sessions.  Rather than retyping session information like machine name, IP address, and login credentials, simply choose from the list of your favorite saved sessions, click connect, and voila’!

 

The DameWare SSH Client for Windows – It’s Half the Price of PuTTY!

 

What is half of zero?  Zero!  That’s how much the DameWare SSH Client for Windows will cost you.  Download it for free and it’s yours to keep.  If you like it, and I’m sure you will, remember to click on the Google +1 button at the top right corner of the DameWare SSH Client for Windows homepage.

Even though fielding emergency calls on holidays is something system administrators have come to expect, resetting passwords while the family sits down to dinner can still put a damper on the holiday spirit.  The workaholics in your office won't let a little something like Thanksgiving slow them down and as long as they are working, you'll be expected to work too.

 

Whether it's simply rebooting an end-user's computer or troubleshooting a crashed production server, having the right tools can mean the difference between spending a holiday in a datacenter and spending it with family.  Remote support software is exactly that kind of tool!  DameWare Remote Support provides system administrators with all the features they need to support their office from one location.  With DameWare's remote control software, sys admins can remotely control Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers.  Performing Windows administration tasks like restarting services, viewing event logs, and managing peripherals is easy from the DameWare software console.  And when you're dealing with a workstation or server that has crashed or is in sleep mode, DameWare's integrated Intel vPro features allow you to troubleshoot remotely.

 

We here at SolarWinds know all too well about workaholics in the office (there are more than a few here too!), so we put together an eBook for sys admins that highlights several of the types of workaholics you're sure to encounter this holiday season.  So, download it here and enjoy this quick, entertaining read.  We wish you a happy holiday and hope that the workaholics in your office leave you alone just long enough to enjoy a little holiday cheer this season!

Remote Support

 

Remote support is more than just remote control.  At SolarWinds, when we talk about remote support, we’re really talking about all of the remote tasks that sys admins perform in a day.  If you’re a sys admin, you’re probably doing a lot more throughout the day than just remoting in to end-users’ computers to troubleshoot.  You’re probably also the person in charge of managing Active Directory objects like user accounts, organizational units, and security groups, as well as maintaining Exchange accounts.  Do you ever have to edit group policies?  I thought you might!  I’ll bet you even manage a few servers.

 

So, if remote control isn't remote support, then what is it?  Remote control is just one part of remote support.  Sometimes it’s the right tool for the job, but sometimes it isn't necessary to initiate a full remote control session to accomplish a task on a remote computer.  The other big part of remote support is remote administration and this is where LogMeIn and other web-based remote control tools fall short.

 

Performing remote administration tasks means providing remote support to Windows users like restarting services, killing runaway processes, viewing event logs, managing disks and shares, editing registries, and managing local groups and users on computers WITHOUT starting a remote control session.  It also means managing computers that have either crashed or are in sleep mode.

 

 

How Many Remote Support Tools Do You Need?

 

When I think about remote support in that larger context, I often wonder why sys admins waste time and money using multiple tools to perform their day-to-day activities.  Having been a sys admin myself, I can tell you that it’s not uncommon to see the following tools open on a desktop:  an Active Directory MMC or two, RDP for Windows sessions, VNC for Mac and Linux sessions, Exchange System Manager, maybe a web-based remote control tool like LogMeIn, and the list goes on.

 

With DameWare Remote Support (DRS), you can perform nearly all of your daily sys admin tasks from just one console.  DRS lets you manage multiple Active Directory domains from the console where you can add/delete/edit users, OUs, security groups, and group policies.  DRS has support for RDP and VNC sessions as well as DameWare’s powerful Mini Remote Control Viewer so you can connect to Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux computers from the same console.  DRS also lets you perform remote administration tasks on Windows computers without making a remote control session to cut down on time interacting with end-users unnecessarily.

 

That isn’t really even the best part.  DRS is significantly less expensive than its web-based competitors while offering superior functionality.   It’s also super easy to set up and use.  You can have it downloaded, installed, and discovering computers on your network in a matter of minutes.

 

The following table really tells the story.  I'm picking on LogMeIn here a bit because of their recent IP litigation issues, but the story is pretty much the same for other web-based remote control tools.

 

Remote Support Features

Dameware

LogMeIn Rescue

Desktop remote control

x

x

Take screenshots of the  remote desktop

x

x

Chat with users during sessions

x

x

Upload files to remote computer

x

x

Supports concurrent sessions

x

x

Remote connection without requiring user interaction

x

          x

Automatically deploy agent

x

 

Remote Windows Administration

x

 

Start, Stop, Restart Services

x

 

Intel AMT Support

x

 

View Performance Data

x

 

Manage Exchange Accounts

x

 

View Event Console

x

 

Active Directory Management

x

 

Price

$349

Per user

$1,188
per year

 

 

Don't waste any more time or money on web-based remote control tools like LogMeIn.  Download a fully functional free 14 day trial of DameWare Remote Support and start performing all of your daily sys admin tasks from just one console.

 

 

Remote Troubleshooting

 

One of the major job functions for IT professionals is managing and troubleshooting Windows computers. System administrators use various tools and techniques to accomplish this and most of the time it requires the administrator’s physical presence at each computer. Moving around from one system to another figuring out what went wrong makes it hard for administrators to be efficient.  As organizations have expanded beyond national borders and practices like telecommuting are being practiced in greater numbers, remote support tools have become staple items in the toolsets of almost all IT professionals.

 

Perhaps the most widely used tool for remote assistance Windows is Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  RDP is native to all Windows operating systems since Windows XP (except XP Home).  This means that sys admins can provide remote assistance to Windows XP users and remote assistance to Windows 7 users alike.  It also means they can provide remote assistance to Vista users.  It allows IT Pros to remotely control Windows machines from anywhere in the world as long as they can establish a connection and certain other conditions are met (i.e. port 3389 open on the receiving firewall, etc.).

 

Though RDP is easy to use, it cannot be considered a complete remote support tool for Windows computers because its functionality is limited to simple remote control sessions.  During an RDP session, users are unable to share screens, making some troubleshooting processes cumbersome.  RDP does not allow techs or system administrators to perform remote administration tasks such as restarting services, viewing event logs, or stopping processes without initiating a full remote control session.  This can be especially frustrating because there are times when simple administration tasks can resolve computer issues and initiating a full remote control session may lock an end-user out depending on which version of Windows is running on their computer.   Ideally, IT Pros would have access to tools that allow them to initiate remote control sessions and perform remote administration tasks from the same console.

 

 

DameWare Remote Support (DRS)

 

DameWare Remote Support is exactly that; a complete remote support tool that IT Pros can use to manage all of their Windows computers from one console.  DRS allows admins to initiate remote control sessions through one of three methods:

 

• RDP

• VNC

• DameWare’s own Mini Remote Control Viewer (MRC)

 

This offers admins a great deal of flexibility when connecting to remote computers and it opens up the realm of Mac OS X and Linux to admins who need to support a mixed-OS environment.

 

DRS lets admins perform Windows administration tasks from its console without needing a full remote control sessions.  Some of these tasks include:

 

• Viewing event logs

• Viewing and killing runaway processes

• Starting, stopping, or restarting services

• Accessing the Disk Manager to manage partitions

• Managing and creating local users and groups

• Managing attached printers and installing drivers remotely

• Scheduling tasks

• Editing the registry and uninstalling software

 

 

In addition to the time-saving remote support features included in the DRS console, other common IT tasks can be performed with DRS.  These include:

 

Managing multiple Active Directory Domains

• Adding, removing, or modifying AD users, security groups, and OUs

• Managing group policies

• Managing Exchange accounts

• Exporting Active Directory objects in bulk to CSV or Excel files

 

 

DameWare Remote Support makes the day-to-day tasks of IT Pros much easier to handle and increases productivity by allowing them to perform many common job functions from one MMC-style console.

Being the consummate professionals we IT administrators are, we always want to do things the right way and the smart way – saving us precious time and improving the efficiency of executing tasks. This is the reason why—not most of us, but—all of us share our desktops remotely for simplifying most of the things we do at work. In this blog, we’ll see the three of the most popular situations where we can leverage the utility of remote desktop sharing.

 

#1 Taking Control of the Remote Desktop for Remote Administration

 

Some of us use remote desktop to connect to end-users’ PCs and laptops for IT troubleshooting and support. Most of the IT administration tasks we do don’t really require our presence at an end-user’s desk. Remote desktop sharing provides a quick and easy way to perform the following IT administration tasks.

 

• Start, stop and restart services, applications, and processes

• Log in to deploy or uninstall software

• Copy and delete files

• Add shares and reformat disk drives

• View and clear event Logs

• Shutdown or restart computers

 

Even when a system is unattended by the user or in power-saving/sleep mode, IT admins can use remote desktop connection to wake it and make it accessible within the network.

 

 

#2 Managing Role-based Access Privileges for Security

 

IT admins are also responsible for safeguarding user access to corporate computers. It’s a cumbersome activity to log into each system individually and define access privileges. Why complicate it when you can just remotely connect to the end-users’ systems to provide role-based access privileges such as

 

• Editing and modifying registry settings and system services

• Implementing access and logon policies

• Forcing encryption and policies

• Monitoring processes

 

Active Directory management and Group Policy configurations are also made simpler and quicker when done remotely.

 

 

#3 24x7 Remote Access to Data and Applications

 

Whether you are at the workplace, at home, or traveling, business must always go on. Computers and notebooks need to be accessed around the clock for sharing data and applications. When you are within the enterprise network (directly on the LAN or connecting via VPN), remote desktop sharing becomes a powerful means to share computer screens for running presentations, demos, and other business applications.

 

When you cannot email a huge file, you can just transfer it between the remote computers. Third-party remote desktop sharing tools such as DameWare Mini Remote Control allow you to take screenshots when working on a remote system. You can also chat with the end-user easily from within a centralized remote access console.

 

Remote desktop sharing enables us to quickly and easily address most of the common IT support tasks that would otherwise take additional time and effort that could be used for troubleshooting critical network and application problems.

 

Watch this 3-minute demo to see how DameWare Mini Remote Control, one of the most affordable and easiest to use remote assistance tools on the market, can help you to easily share desktops.

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