So I thought I would start a little blog series on some cool tools I have found to help you at work and at home. I am thinking a blog a week on each tool – keep me motivated to blog more regularly too!
This week I thought I would talk about a tool called TeamViewer (www.teamviewer.com).
What is it?
TeamViewer is a tool that let’s you conduct web presentations to an audience or it can also be used to screenshare/remote control another computer. At my company we have had great success using this in our support department to do screenshares with customers who call into us. To conduct an online presentation, just select that option on the interface and direct viewers to the TeamViewer presentation website where the session credentials can be entered. You can also have automatically generated emails sent to an email list with all the details. I also use this to remote control all my PCs from any web connection. Works more quickly and reliably than VPN when I am connecting to my work PC and it makes fast file transfers.
Is it secure?
TeamViewer’s website has documents that describe all the encryption they use and other security protocols to ensure you are getting a secure connection when connecting to another computer. Our security guys checked it over and agreed it is secure enough for us to use.
What about firewalls?
Using it to connect to customers all around the world and have rarely run into any firewall issues.
How does it work?
To do a screenshare with someone just send them an email with a small executable which they just need to run, not install. This gives them a number and password that we can then put into our TeamViewer and connect to the other PC. The other person can decide how much access they want to give you – read only through to full access.
TeamViewer can also be installed on each computer you want to access and these accounts saved to a partner list. This means each time you login you can connect to any partner machine that is also online. The partner list also let’s you name each computer so you can call one your work PC and another your home PC, etc. By having this setup you can connect remotely to each of the partner machines.
There is also a free iPad/iPhone app that you can use to connect to your partner list too. No need to worry about Flash issues when you can connect to your desktop and surf from there!
I have also installed this on my Mother’s PC so that when she has any problems I can remote connect and see exactly what is happening. Much easier than trying to walk through an issue from memory.
So this must be costly?
Actually, no – it is FREE for personal use!
For an enterprise license it is very reasonably priced based on how many concurrent remote sessions you need. We use this for our customer support department and bought into the 5 concurrent session limit and have not had any blocks from this (8 – 10 staff at any timezone). Interestingly, the pricing model they use is based on a one-time lifetime fee and you only need to spend more money if you want an upgrade. Business licenses start at $749, although we spent a few thousand on our licenses, it was still considerably cheaper than the alternatives we had been using. We had used Webex which was good, but pricey and we had tried GoToAssist which was also good, but about $20k more a year than TeamViewer!
All in all, I think this is a great tool that is equally of use at home and at work.