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Top 8 IT help desk requests, answered

The help desk deals with the same issues over and over again; learn how to resolve them as quickly as possible so you can focus on the big issues of the day.

Every help desk technician has their favorite example of a ridiculous support call — but they are memorable because they are unusual. The reality is that the same issues come up again and again.

This means your team needs to develop techniques to deal with these routine calls as quickly as possible, freeing up resources to concentrate on other, more pressing tasks. Here are eight you need to consider now.

  1. I’ve forgotten my password.

The first support call on a Monday morning is almost certain to be password-related. You reset their log-on but it doesn’t work. You confirm the spelling with the user, ask them to confirm as they type it in and, unsurprisingly, it still doesn’t work. So, you reset the password a second time and the dance begins again.

In future try firing up a remote desktop session and asking them to enter their password while you watch — you’ll find that the user gets it right first time.

  1. My shortcuts are missing.

Some users are completely reliant on desktop shortcuts to work. If those little pictures disappear these people immediately freeze, apparently unaware of the Start menu and Search bar tools. No links, no work.

Your tech support team faces a choice — ask the user to reboot and logon again, or use a remote desktop session to paste those-all important icons back onto the desktop. Often, it is quicker and easier to take the second option and avoid the complaints that typically accompany a request to reboot.

  1. I can’t print my documents.

“I pressed Ctrl+P, but nothing happened. No printouts, nothing,” says Val in accounts. Save yourself a trip to the accounts department. Log into Val’s PC remotely and delete the holiday photo print job that is currently jamming her print spooler.

  1. I’ve printed too many copies of a document.

“I was just printing a funny email to put on the break room noticeboard, but the printer went crazy and now I have 18 copies. Oh wait, 19!” Val screams shakily at your luckless help desk agent. You can save another desk-side trip to accounts by logging into her PC and clearing down the print queue, a direct result of Val’s impatient clicking.

  1. The on-screen text is too small; how do I change it?

How small is too small? Who knows. But have you ever tried to talk a user through the process of adjusting screen resolution or system-wide font settings when they cannot see what you are describing?

If your support technician uses a remote support tool, they can make the necessary adjustments there and then — without having to make a wasteful and expensive desk-side visit.

  1. I’ve received an error message.

For some reason, users love to report error messages after they have clicked OK and forgotten what it said. Others will send an email documenting the error message in full — but without the all-important context that helps you diagnose the fault.

The fastest way to assess the severity of the problem? Have the user repeat their last action while you watch on a remote desktop session — that way you get the error message and the context in one go.

  1. I need to access John Smith’s email.

You know that the day after John Smith goes on holiday, Dave will be on the phone demanding urgent access to John’s email. “We’re waiting for a very important email from a customer — and I think it’s been sent to John,” squeals Dave.

For some reason asking the client to resend is never an option, so you will need to set up an out-of-office mail redirect on John’s email. And disable it again when he returns and complains that all of his messages are being forwarded to Dave.

  1. I need XYZ app right now!

Deadlines have an extraordinary effect on users — but that is probably because they are doing real work while you sit around pressing buttons. It also means that you never receive software installation requests until it is too late.

Fortunately, remote desktop tools allow you to carry out urgent app installs immediately — and without having to leave the comfort of your button-pushing help desk lair.

Takeaways

For help desk technicians, all of these issues are incredibly trivial — but for non-technical users, they could be show-stoppers.

Using remote desktop tools not only allows you to see and fix problems, but also to impart some of your own knowledge and experience. With some luck, your users may even learn a few new tricks that help reduce help desk call volumes in future.

 

Give your colleagues the information they need to resolve common requests. Share this article now.

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HDI Conference – The melting pot of support

TeamViewer exhibited from May 9 – 12 at the biggest event for IT management and support in the U.S.—the Help Desk Institute (HDI) Conference in Washington D.C.

Our newest TeamViewer developments aimed at help desk professionals, including our unique mobile-to-mobile capabilities, were very popular with attendees, along with our integration into IBM MaaS360, an industry-leading mobile device management (MDM) platform.

Applying IT processes outside IT

TeamViewer partners that integrate TeamViewer into their own solutions were also well-represented. One of the main areas of development focus was the application of structured IT processes outside the respective department. Both Freshdesk and ServiceNow now allow their users to do project management for tasks in marketing and especially HR. They aim to create a zero-touch self-service solution that empowers users to help themselves.

While some might wonder if that could create issues, especially for companies focused on ticket handling, the answer is clearly no. In the future, the focus will be on machine learning and AI, something Zendesk is already putting into their own product.

Features to Guide you

Zendesk calls this feature ‘Guide’, an AI enabled help center that can determine your needs. Based on the input it receives, it will automatically reply to the sender and suggest solutions based on an ever-growing knowledge base fostered by crowd sourcing and—in the beginning—regular staff input.

Zendesk is also focusing on improving reporting capabilities. Not only ticket reporting, but also business intelligence systems and even Google Analytics real-time reports. Finally, they expanded their capabilities by introducing an option to send mailings to your existing customer base using the same engine as the ticket system.

Traditional is not dead

While a lot of these developments seem to be focused on new areas, there are those that are more traditional. Atlassian, known for Jira, e.g. expanded their pool of available languages to now 14 and increased the options to customize and brand both their portals and outgoing emails to better represent the customers brand.

Takeaways

  • ITSM will morph into SM
  • AI in combination with machine learning will reduce the need for manual work
  • Software integrations through open APIs increased in relevance
  • Localization of IT infrastructure a focus for many
  • Cloud, cloud, cloud. On-site is counting its days.

 

Being part of an IT eco-system, a cooperative and dynamic environment that allows for easy implementation and linking of software, is necessary to thrive in the years to come. We at TeamViewer believe in this, evident through the many native integrations and add-ons provided for other software.

To learn more, visit our integrations website or have a quick look on how different help and service desk systems with TeamViewer integrations compare.

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Want to improve customer experience? You need this checklist

Constantly improving the service offered to customers is vital, this checklist will help you get started.

Becoming a support Jedi Master means improving the customer experience. Whether you are dealing with internal users or external clients, the people you support have expectations that need to be met.

This checklist will take you through the four fundamental facets of great support — better, faster, smarter, stronger — and how these are achieved.

Better quality of support

For service users, “better” support is easily defined — receiving the help they need, when they want it. They want issues resolved as quickly as possible, preferably on first contact, and with minimal input from themselves.

  1. Train helpdesk employees to ensure skills are current, and that they are able to properly use support tools.
  2. Issue users with tickets that allow them to track the progress of every support call.
  3. Lighten the user’s load by using technology and experience to minimize their input — they just want a fix.
  4. Keep the customer informed so that they know their issue is being worked on.
  5. Deliver on your promises, providing updates and fixes according to an agreed schedule.

Faster delivery of support

IT issues dent user productivity, and it is the help desk team who take the blame for every delay. Delivering more support more quickly helps keep the business moving and reduces the overall cost of your help desk service.

  1. Reduce desk-side visits by using a remote support solution to solve problems.
  2. Pre-deploy remote support solutions so you can connect immediately when a user logs a call.
  3. Share support knowledge so your entire team learns how to deal with future occurrences.
  4. Implement mobile device support to help customers when they — or you — are on the move.

Smarter support provisioning

Deploying your support resources more intelligently improves the quality of service on offer and helps you better control support costs. How you route calls, emails or instant messages, and who you assign them to, will directly affect the time to fix.

  1. Use topics to flag incoming calls so they can be properly prioritized.
  2. Analyze support history to identify peaks in demand and allocate resources intelligently.
  3. Deploy an end user portal allowing customers to track the progress of their issues, saving them time and effort chasing updates.
  4. Stay connected to the team using your support solution to update cases, ask for advice, and to share knowledge with other agents.
  5. Consolidate support tools and have all your resources in one place to increase the efficiency of your service delivery and reduce operational costs.

Stronger support frameworks

Building support processes is essential to properly managing the flow of incoming calls and seeing them through to successful resolution. These processes need to be embedded into operations and supported by your support tools to reduce administrative overhead, and allow your technicians to focus their energies on solving customer issues.

  1. Establish clear paths of escalation to keep incoming support calls moving towards conclusion.
  2. Replicate these frameworks in your support tools to streamline the delivery of support, and to automate escalation and allocation wherever possible.
  3. Work your support tool, identifying and grouping similar issues so the same agent can work on, and close, several calls simultaneously.
  4. Centralize your data to make every aspect of your support provision available to all your agents.

Takeaways

  • Great support is a moving target, so you must continually be looking for ways to improve.
  • Using the knowledge and experience of your team, and the insights available from your help desk support solution, you have the raw data that will help inform these improvements.
  • Focusing on working better, faster, smarter and stronger will help you to improve the customer experience moving forward.

Share this checklist with your colleagues so they can improve the IT customer experience.

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3 Steps to Securing Sensitive Health Information

In our connected world, if it’s technological, it’s hackable. And while not all medical devices are as mission-critical as implantable cardiac transmitters, they still need to be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). The FDA approval process now also covers cybersecurity. So paying attention to protected health information (PHI) isn’t optional.

Sad to say, there are criminals who put patients’ data—and therefore their lives—at risk by compromising the medical devices you sell. Over 100 major breaches were reported in 2016, and those are just the big ones. Here are some of the threats to look out for, with advice on how remote access software can foil them.

Layer 1: Physical device security

Can it be hacked? From the smallest electronic health record (EHR) database to the latest MRI scanner, any device that collects patient information needs to comply with HIPAA’s rules on patient privacy.

Because today, a host of medical devices are connected to other equipment in a way they weren’t just a decade ago. Bedside infusion pumps. Defibrillators. Pacemakers. Patient monitors that report back vital signs to physicians. Radiation therapy machines where dosage is within narrow parameters. Recently, testing discovered an insulin pump used by 114,000 patients could theoretically be compromised, and the dose changed by a hacker with malicious intent.

Many hospitals are using remote access software that’s already HIPAA-certified, like TeamViewer. This first layer of security is guarded by blacklisting and whitelisting: to connect to a device, the connecting machine must be explicitly approved by the systems administrator. Regardless of the hacker’s black-hat skills, if he’s not on the list, he’s not getting in.

Layer 2: Secure data connections

A hack may do nothing more than copy information — but if the information gets out, it’s a breach of patient confidentiality. For the patient it may lead to identity theft; for the device manufacturer it can mean a disastrous loss of business.

This is becoming more important with the adoption of EHR Stage 2 by six of ten hospitals, where a patient’s arrival at the emergency room generates an automatic notification to his/her physician, allowing other information, such as allergies or special conditions, to be communicated back. It’s a great initiative — but it needs a secure connection.

A remote access solution such as TeamViewer adds to its first layer of security by combining device and user IDs. Both person and device have an assigned ID — in the machine’s case, a unique fingerprint generated from the machine’s configuration — and both must be valid before the device can connect. There’s a twist: devices are assigned to specific individuals and the IDs must match. So a borrowed laptop doesn’t grant access to anyone but those associated with it — even if that user is authorized on other devices.

Layer 3: Integrity of information

With both patient privacy and data security protected, our last layer of security involves the information itself. A patient’s condition and vital signs can change in an instant, with a torrent of information being produced 24/7. Physicians today need to be data analysts as well as physicians.

Increasingly, physicians are solving this with solutions like TeamViewer. Rather than needing a human to keep constant watch, the application can operate passively, monitoring indicators for change and sounding the alarm if metrics go beyond acceptable levels. Sometimes that device isn’t even a recognized clinical tool; over 100,000 health monitoring apps are available on phone platforms.

This check on information integrity keeps it accurate — and useful. This enables faster diagnosis and faster response when things go awry. Stepping up in scale, it’s enabling healthcare systems to model the health of entire communities, such as vaccination levels and whether herd immunity is dropping below safe levels. Fortunately, TeamViewer excels at scaling up, with over 20 million devices connected to each other through it at any one time, day or night.

CONCLUSION: Rewarding patient trust

The right approach to security at every level leads to an outcome not easily measurable, but with a huge impact on your business: trust. When patients feel confident of your device, usage becomes widespread and the pool of research data becomes deeper, enabling better decision making.

To win that trust, start with the fundamentals, like choosing a HIPAA-certified remote access solution for patient data. Make data security part of your culture — keeping up to date with new threats, checking that all your software and services are doing their job, and keeping your black and white lists accurate. Remote access can improve both patient experience — and bottom-line profits. Why not see how TeamViewer can deliver for you?

Takeaways:

  • HIPAA compliance is made easy with remote access solutions that have two-step authentication and whitelists.
  • Remote access means you can passively monitor your patient’s vital signs and act when it’s necessary.
  • Make data security part of your culture — it’s about attitude as much as it is about software.

Think you’re ready to try TeamViewer? Download TeamViewer

Download Teamviewer

 

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5 Ways to Proactively Solve End User Problems with Remote Software Support

These are the five methods savvy IT professionals use to go the extra mile in remote support.

The ticket opens. Another support issue to deal with. No problem. That’s what your team does, it deals with them all day. But this one’s been escalated to you, the IT manager. Which means it needs a little extra attention.

And to solve it, you need the right tools.

The best support technician in the world can’t make an IT infrastructure run smoothly unless they’ve got the right information and applications. So this blog looks at some remote software support methods IT professionals use to close support issues quickly and effectively — methods that go far beyond the trouble-ticket email thread.

1. Deep-six the hassle factor of the operating system (OS)

Service people waste a vast number of hours simply working out the best way to connect different systems together so problems can be solved. Heterogeneity is a support problem in itself. But when you take the OS out of the picture by letting different devices connect without trouble — letting data connect to data, Mac to PC or phone to desktop — the most frustrating part of any service interaction is removed.

It’s a benefit enjoyed by the faculty and staff of St. Edward’s University. Serving over 1,000 users with a small team might seem like overload, especially with a service solution not suited to Windows and unable to support Macs at all. Switching to a remote support solution took away the technological differences, letting the techs concentrate on what mattered — solving problems for faculty and staff.

“TeamViewer increased our capacity to provide remote support by 15-20%. The days we used to scramble to get to multiple locations are gone, and now we can fix our school’s problems remotely.” — Danny Lorenty, Support Manager, St. Edward’s University

2. Take over their device for teachable moments

Of course, the ability to take over a user’s desktop is hugely useful when solving systems issues. But if it’s a repeated problem, you’ll find more payback in walking them through the solution, rather than just resolving the issue for them.

It’s the approach used by Axterisko, which uses desktop management features to solve user problems in real time — taking over the user’s software environment from afar, and making necessary changes directly on their system. As support techs solve each issue, the end user sees their cursor and desktop moving independently — and often learn what’s needed to accomplish a particular task again, cutting down the probability of the same trouble ticket being reopened.

“TeamViewer is a win-win solution. Being able to offer support on time helps the customer stay calm and also makes them happy.” – Antonio Fiore, CEO and Founder, Axterisko Informatica

3. Go multi on the media for faster comprehension

Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is face-to-face. But with the right technology, face-to-face doesn’t have to mean being in the same room. Remote support solutions offer multichannel conferencing and collaboration as well as remote monitoring and management. Particularly with inexperienced users, a chat where you can see each other can offer reassurance and confidence to your end user. When you solve a problem face-to-face, you’re showing the human side of tech support — which does great things for your profile within the organization.

Nor is face-to-face limited to the kinds of computer trouble normally classified as tech support. Physicians at MediTouch use remote support solutions to deliver complete physiotherapy sessions to injury victims via secure two-way videoconferencing.

4. Keep it mobile when you’re going global

When employee support is focused on the nerve center of the corporate network, mobile users or remote workers can often be left out. That’s a worry, since the top sales guy stuck in a hotel room or the traveling engineer with only a dialup connection is arguably in greater need of your services than the average worker sitting at a desk. If your end users can’t be productive wherever work takes them, a vital business process or a company-saving sale may be on the line.

As a communications provider, Avaya had a specific reason to be mobile-friendly. It treats mobile users as one with desktop workers, offering them the same program of maintenance and updates, at the same time.

“This ability to support customers faster, more efficiently, and professionally in the case of escalation via TeamViewer also naturally improves our quota of successful remote support.” — Thomas Wollenhaupt, Customer Support Engineer, Avaya

5. Use dashboards to solve many as one

Sometimes, the best remote software support doesn’t involve a service issue. Rather, it’s in the pre-emptive actions. Keeping applications up-to-date, maintaining the latest versions, applying patches and point releases to top up levels of security. Dashboards that bring together multiple instances of an issue, providing support teams with an integrated view on the data, can shed light on complex problems quickly.

Healthcare is one area where mistakes are best solved before they happen. The Red Cross Hospital of Córdoba uses remote support solutions to keep their IT infrastructure healthy.

Monitoring and measuring a range of metrics across a myriad of connected equipment means technical failures are found and fixed fast — often without users even realizing a problem occurred. Which is great news for the team of three providing support — and, of course, for the hospital’s patients.

Effective remote software support isn’t a simple list of problems to deal with first-in, first-out. Dashboards, monitoring, proactive control, passive updates and maintenance enable a strategic approach to tech support that results in faster response, better outcomes, and greater customer satisfaction. Whether those customers are internal or external.

There’s no time to sit back and relax — get proactive about seeing where a remote support solution can fit into your service infrastructure today.

Takeways:

  • Remote software support isn’t first-come-first-served any more.
  • The more data remote software support can integrate, the faster the solution can be delivered.
  • Taking over a user’s desktop with remote software support lets the service tech teach as well as solve.
  • A face-to-face can be a better choice than a response email.
  • Sidestepping cross-platform issues saves countless hours of support time.
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5 Ways To Protect Patient Privacy And Achieve HIPAA Compliance

What is HIPAA, and how can hospital IT comply with it without incurring high costs or complexity?

This article explores five ways IT professionals can ensure HIPAA-shaped patient privacy — and how remote access solutions are helping them do it.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 is a two-sided coin — and for patients, both heads and tails are winners.

Its patient privacy part protects the rights of those receiving medical care, by compelling healthcare providers to keep their data confidential.

Its data security part adds a measure of safety, by requiring those who hold such data to restrict access to it.

Of course, patient safeguards existed before HIPAA and associated acts like Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) — arguably, keeping patient data secret goes back to Hippocrates!

But HIPAA today isn’t about general principles; it’s about strict rule of law.

And it imposes very precise compliance standards on medical facilities and those who work in them — with breaches carrying sizeable penalties.

For IT Professionals In Healthcare, Being HIPAA-Smart Is Non-Negotiable

At TeamViewer, we believe the best way to comply with HIPAA is to follow the spirit as much as the letter of the law.

Put patient protection front and center, and you’re well on your way to full compliance.

Solutions that provides remote access to data, with the right safeguards, can help a lot — especially if it’s fully HIPAA and HITECH certified. Here are five things to think about.

1. Think About People Before You Think About Data

Keeping electronic health records (EHRs) private begins by thinking about the people permitted to see them.

Obviously, that means their physician. But it also means the emergency room front desk. The lab doing tests. And other involved parties like insurance providers.

That’s a lot of people. Lapses and breaches are why over 100 million records are exposed every year.

But the job is cut down to size if you categorize them by persona rather than person.

For a critically ill patient, 10 labs may be involved in the treatment plan, so it’s a lot easier to build a profile that applies in general to testing facilities than customize for each one.

Solutions like TeamViewer can make this easier.

As an administrator, you can create different profiles of typical users such as lab administrators and add their devices to the whitelist one by one, opening up a specific set of patient data as required.

Remote access scores big here, since each facility or individual can use their own device to connect to the EHR — with privacy baked into the procedure, since all TeamViewer connections are encrypted by default.

Rule One: a profiled person means a protected patient.

2. Encourage A Security Mindset Across The Organization

It’s easy to forget that protected health information (PHI), as defined by HIPAA, means more than electronic records.

The same principles apply whether you’re seeing a physical file, speaking on the phone, even writing a Post-It.

So if you can create a culture of treating patient data securely wherever it’s stored, you’ve got the ideal base for strengthening PHI.

Remote access software is in many ways the ideal tool.

Because it doesn’t restrict you to desktop logins and approved databases; it makes it easy to stay compliant.

Incidentally, only 18% of responders are “very confident” about the compliance of their mobile devices.

TeamViewer software can be downloaded and installed on any device, from phones to workstations, by individuals in your organization — and that includes the patients themselves.

Rule Two: more ease-of-use means more security of PHI.

3. Give The Patient Easy Access To Their Own Records

The individual with most interest in seeing their records stored safely and accurately is of course the patient themselves.

That’s why 63% of physicians allow patients to view their own medical records in some way.

By contrast, just 16% provide a way for patients to download and transmit those details to a third party.

And downloading and transmitting is inherently insecure, since the patient’s files risk going into the wild.

Far better to have the EHR stored in one database, and allow different parties to access the data as needed, rather than forking into multiple copies.

That’s where remote access can step in.

Because its core competency is in accessing data remotely, different devices can share a single version of the EHR, each with different permissions to view or edit.

The more complete and individual a patient record, the more useful it is to that patient.

Rule Three: a single version of the data means multiple protections for the patient.

4. Position HIPAA As A Benefit, Not A Box-Checking Exercise

Data security is more than a checklist.

But it doesn’t have to be a chore, even with awareness training for HIPAA now being mandatory. Secure data can drive greater value for the patient.

So why not frame your awareness sessions in a more positive way?

As you train staff in procedures and best practices, demonstrate how the policies and protocols can be integrated into software like TeamViewer, rather than needing to be memorized — and how remote access can bring all the right information to them without pain.

Show how policies and privacy are part and parcel of each user and device ID; demonstrate how a lost device means nothing without an authorized ID and how devices are linked to a specific user.

Rule Four: train for the patient benefit over the legal requirement.

5. Turn Remote Access Into A Competitive Advantage

Finally, when all your authorization policies and profiles are built, consider how powerful they can be as a selling point for your hospital.

Patients like to see you taking an interest in their privacy; professionals love seeing the data they need, when they need it, on their own devices.

And every bit of data is protected by the staunchest 2048-bit encryption keys and 256-bit AES.

If it’s easy to conduct healthcare business with your hospital system — like the 42% who allow e-prescription refilling, or the 43% allowing appointment scheduling — then patients will prefer your facility to others.
Rule Five: never forget who your customer is. The patient receiving care.

Key Takeaways

  • Patient privacy must come first when introducing new technologies to healthcare delivery.
  • HIPAA compliance is crucial for today’s healthcare professionals, otherwise they can face huge fines and legal action.
  • Remote access solutions offer two-step authentication and whitelists so only authorized personnel can access EHRs.
  • Access to data, by patients and healthcare physicians, is more seamless and accurate through remote access solutions.

The demands of HIPAA take today’s IT professional out of the back office — and into the forefront of patient protection.

Remote access solutions can make legal compliance easier, authorized access to data smoother, and ultimately result in more joined-up, better-informed care for the patient.

All by following five basic rules.

And with remote access software, compliance doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be a business driver.

Why not see what TeamViewer is doing in healthcare today?