What is “Remote Tech Support”?

We’ve heard about it many times. It’s all over the internet. People call you from different parts of planet earth and tell you they’re the best at it.  But what exactly is “Remote Tech Support”?

In simple terms, “Remote Tech Support” only means providing technical support for computers in a situation where the technician and the customer (whose computer is not working) are located in “different” places.  Now, “different” places can mean a lot of things – it could be different locations in the same city, different cities in the same country or different cities in different countries! All this is made possible due to the availability of better and high-quality internet access.

What is great about “Remote Tech Support”?

As always, there are the good aspects and the”not-so-good” aspects. Let’s take a look at the advantages of Remote Tech Support:

  • You can call your computer technician on the phone and tell him about the problem. And the  remote computer technician can remotely access your computer right away and fix the problem.
  • Your privacy is not interrupted – Remote Tech Support technicians do not have to physically visit your house to fix your computer. (Unless of course, there is a hardware problem and something in your computer needs to be repaired or replaced.)
  • There are a number of companies offering this service – you can choose the company that provides the best service.
  • Remote tech support is affordable.

What are the disadvantages of Remote Tech Support?

There are a few not-so-good things about Remote Tech Support – a few of them are:

  • With so many companies calling you and offering their services, it is difficult for any individual to differentiate between genuine service providers and fly-by-night companies.
  • Allowing remote control of your computer to absolute strangers, who are probably located on another side of the planet you live in, might not seem to be a good idea. In fact, it is not a good idea at all.
  • Your personal information (like your files, documents, pictures and everything else you have in your computer) can be at risk.
  • Computer users, especially the elderly and those who are not “techies” are vulnerable to be taken for a ride. They might not know what exactly the “remote” technician is doing.
  • Some of these “Remote Tech Support” companies offer a number of free “utilities” and software. There is no way of knowing if any of these software are actually malicious in nature. It could even be spyware or a virus. On the other hand, it could be just freeware!
  • Many of these companies offering remote technical support employ poorly trained, inexperienced and over-worked staff who are under constant and immense pressure to “perform”. (“Performance” in this context means getting a sale from a new customer or selling something more to an existing customer). In some cases their places of work resemble a “tech support shop” more than a “tech support company”!
  • Very few of these companies pay any special attention to quality.

What can you do to protect your computer?

What can you do to protect your precious data in your computer?

A few simple precautions can go a long way in protecting your computer and your data. Of course, it can also save you money and a lot of headache.

  1. Never ever allow any stranger to access your computer – remotely or otherwise.
  2. Nobody can ever get to know what is wrong with your computer or what is going to be wrong with your computer – if someone calls you up (from a different location) and tells you that your computer is probably going to “crash anytime” – don’t even waste your breath telling that person to get off the phone. Just hang up.
  3. Remember this – Microsoft never calls up people and tries to sell tech support. If somebody tells you they are calling from or “for” or “on behalf” of Microsoft – simply hang up.
  4. Educate your friends and relatives – especially the elderly.
  5. If you need technical support – ask your friends or relatives for references and only deal with reputed companies.
  6. When you make a payment for remote tech support – get as much information about what you will be getting for what you have paid. Be very clear about the refund policies.  Never make a payment under stress. Take your time and consider as many options as possible. Talk to other companies as well and see if you can get a better deal.
  7. For those who use Windows XP, Vista or 7 – if you have a valid, properly licensed copy of Windows – do not waste your money buying anti-virus, anti-spyware  from other companies. Microsoft provides all licensed customers a free anti-virus/anti-spyware application called Microsoft Essentials.
  8. If you get a call from these “remote technicians” offering to provide you with “free, licensed anti-virus” – remember the cost of what they are giving you “for free” is also included in what you have paid them.
  9. If you get a call from a company you are not familiar with – Google the company and see what you find.

Please note, this article, by no means, is intended to indicate that “Remote Tech Support” as such is a bad thing. In fact, there are some very good companies who provide excellent tech support.  There are some excellent technicians as well who are passionate about providing only the best services, even under difficult circumstances.This article is only meant to highlight the fact that taking a few simple precautions is a good thing – it can save your data, your money and of course, your computer.

If you have a question about your computer, do write to us and we will be glad to answer them.