Fast-forward to present day and the thought of physically doing tech support in person at the office seems like a relic of the past. I mean, who does that? With so many powerful tools at our disposal, IT workers can now provide tech support from virtually anywhere, anytime using videoconferencing solutions. As one could imagine, this further adds to the complexity of the present-day role of a remote IT worker in a world where “help desk” is no longer limited to a desk. With everyone wanting to run video on their systems, what is the best way to manage this from a remote location? Here are some helpful tips:
1. Choose an Easy Platform
Many vendors that offer remote control access have done a great job at keeping up with the fast-paced technologies as they emerge. With so many devices such as smartphones and tablets, it is important to consider a platform that is intuitive, user-friendly, and compatible with the latest Operating Systems and gadgets. The game-changer here is that dishing out control over videoconferencing requires a bit of learning from the end-user, making the ease-of-use a priority. Simple control features such as: the ability to launch calls, invite others, mute themselves, and share desktop should all be readily available.
2. Train, Train, Train
Now that you’ve selected a great platform with all the key videoconferencing features, it is time to train your end-users on how it all works. I learned a valuable lesson working remotely with my end-users, and that is to never assume. Even the most tech-savvy user will still require a crash course into the basics on using the selected platform. The last thing anyone wants is the videoconferencing nightmare where a meeting is taking place and everyone is fumbling around clicking on buttons to share a screen (not realizing it’s the mute button) and well, you get the picture. It’s just not a good look. Train all users on how to properly use all of the tools. Go the extra mile and initiate a few test calls, group chats, provide screenshots, or record a training session to simulate the “hands on” approach for those visual learners.
3. Provide Easy Access
Let’s face it, everyone likes it when things just simply work for no reason at all. Magic? More like automation. This is when we IT people get to put our “Wizard” hat on and we can preconfigure settings for our end-users. When they enable a videoconferencing session, it suddenly knows the correct camera and microphone settings, headsets are working with the click of a button, it could even sync up with their Outlook calendar and broadcast when they are in a meeting if they are using Lync. By keeping your end-users happy with so many automated features, it is a safe bet that they have you saved in their contact book as “Amazeballs IT Wiz”. You’re welcome.
4. Prepare for Doomsday
Wait, what? Up until now, it was all rainbows and unicorns because you’ve selected an easy platform for your end-users and you even got an epic entry in their contact book. What could possibly go wrong? Well, it’s just a couple of minor things that if planned properly, troubleshooting and resolving these issues will be seamless. For starters, it is a guarantee that eventually, an end-user will submit a ticket to you (when you’re in a different time zone, of course) panicking because they fried their laptop or the screen is broken on their tablet device. Whatever the case may be, you want to be sure that when choosing a platform, that it doesn’t require a top-of-the-line device in order to function. In a scenario like this, you want the end-user to be able to access from any device, such as their smartphone. I recently had this happen when my laptop crashed while in a meeting, and I was able to jump in from my smartphone using Zoom.
(Screenshot taken on a smart phone, showing the desktop of a remote party while troubleshooting)
Finally, prepare for complaints about bandwidth. It is impossible to keep all of your end-users happy when it comes to that, but thankfully, many of the top videoconferencing solutions have great bandwidth utilization built in to their solution.
5. Secure Your Network
The biggest concern that any remote IT worker should have is security. The threat of unauthorized third-parties joining in is real. It is not uncommon for videoconferencing solutions to be vulnerable to hacking. Practice good security training and protocols with your team. Implement a policy to change passwords, limit the privileges for end-users, analyze all of the features of your chosen platform and disable the ones that are not in use, stay updated on all of your network and firewall settings and look for any unusual changes or activity. Many solutions today have built-in security features making it even easier to manage and prevent security vulnerabilities. Check out this helpful article from our friends at Lifesize.
Follow these tips and you are on your way to having happy users enjoying trouble-free video conferencing from their remote locations. These tools make it easy to keep up with the trends and maximize the benefits of working remotely. You know what they say, “once you go video, you never go back!”
Great advice, especially number 2. I thrive off the training I received!