The continually rising costs of remote IT support tools
In recent years IT support is increasingly accomplished though some form of remote access service. In several organizations more than 70% of all computer support given is some form of remote IT support.
Microsoft offers the Remote Desktop application on all versions of Windows that can easily be used by internal IT departments, or even remotely through ports setup and forwarded through corporate firewalls. One problem that Remote Desktop has however, is the fact that a new login session must be initiated on the computer, and the local user of that computer gets logged off of their computer while the IT remote support staff is working on their problems.
This is one reason why third party Remote Access applications like LogMeIn, or TeamViewer are used by many IT consultants and even internal IT staff. These applications automatically punch their own holes through corporate firewalls and connect to the desktop of computers without logging out of the current session.
For access to multiple corporate computers, TeamViewer cost a few thousand dollars up front, then there are additional costs for any upgrades. LogMeIn used to provide a free service for up to 10 computers with a remote desktop serving of up to 100 computers for $299 a year, making it the choice for many small IT departments, or IT consulting companies. At the beginning of 2014 LogMeIn stopped offering it’s free service, which upset a lot of IT people who used to depend on it, and now here again at the beginning of 2015, their service changed again offering a dramatic price increase of $499 to $1299 for just 25 computers per year.
As the two most popular remote IT support platforms today, and with LogMeIn annual contracts running out, many IT departments and consultants are concerned about what they are going to do. The fact that LogMeIn keeps moving the goal posts on what it takes to use their service have IT people looking for cheaper alternatives, and some new startups like Remote To PC have popped up to fill the gap that rising prices has created.
Google Searches for “Logmein Alternative” spiked in January of 2014 and it appears that they are on the same upward trend this year. Some IT consultants may have to either raise their support rates, or talk customers into paying for it if they intend on continuing to use the same services.
Any time the large players in any industry make dramatic changes to price, or what their product offering is, it creates some sort of pain or upheaval for their customers, but that also creates an opportunity for competition to make headway. Both LogMeIn and TeamViewer make millions of dollars each year off their customers, but they also have vast amounts of expenses including staff, and facilities, as well as loyalties to shareholders, and investors that demand they maximize their profits. As a small IT business owner myself who has used both products, I see an opportunity for some remote desktop access company to disrupt this sector. That will turn a dilemma that IT people have into an advantage.