To compete in the field of providing IT Support to small businesses, today’s Independent Computer Consultant has to move away from the old, reactive model of charging hourly rates for on-site support and move onto the more efficient and profitable model of Managed Services, charging flat-rates for a suite of services, which include round-the-clock system monitoring and remote support.
Fortunately, there are many current utilities available that can allow an Independent Computer Consultant to provide these services at the highest level, for literally pennies a day… or even completely FREE!
The following applications are the ones I use personally and generally recommend. A simple web search will allow you to evaluate these products against competing packages to determine what will work best for your individual needs and budget.
For Network Server Monitoring and Inventory Collection and Reporting – GFI MAX Remote Management
This web-based utility allows you to keep tabs on your client’s servers and all workstations around the clock. Costing (at the time of this writing) only $12.95 per month per server and an additional $0.10 per workstation, this application will provide a web-based dashboard that lets you and your client see at a glance the current health status of all major components of the network such as:
- Backup Status
- Anti-Virus Update Status and Activity
- Drive Space Change
- Critical Events
- Disk Health
- Available Disk Space
- Hacker Monitoring
- WSUS Patch Monitoring
- Windows Service Monitoring
- Server Performance Monitoring
- Website Availability
- Bandwidth Usage
- TCP Port Monitoring
- PING Checks
- SNMP (Including RAID Array)
- File Size Monitoring
- Roll Your Own Event Log Check
- Roll Your Own Script Check
If an error occurs, the application can instantly and automatically notify you via an email or SMS alert. You also can generate weekly, automated health status reports that can be sent automatically via email to you and your clients.
For Remote Computer Support – LogMeIn Free
LogMeIn is both PC and Mac compatible and can be installed on each of your client’s computers in about 2 minutes. Once installed, you can gain instant remote access to any of these computers from any Internet connected computer.
The LogMeIn Free product is completely suitable for providing all of your users with instant support, just as if you were sitting in front of their computer, but it does have its limitations. For additional features such as remote file transfer, remote-to-local printing or allowing multiple accounts to access the same computer (if you want to grant the user the ability to connect to their computer using their own account), then you’ll need to step up to one of LogMeIn’s paid products. These are also very affordable and all information can be found on their website.
Use applications like these and you’ll be able to provide your clients with an unparalleled level of service, increase their system’s performance, reduce or eliminate unexpected system problems, increase your response time and turn your clients into your greatest fans.
Considering the cost to you can be next to nothing, investing in applications like these would be the wisest investment you could make in your computer consulting business.
Of course, there are additional applications that you will need to maximize your productivity and profitability, such as a ticketing system with a client accessible portal and service reporting. These and many more subjects are covered in depth at the following website…