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Citrix's GoToAssist: Next Best Thing to Being There

GoToAssist 6.0 gives help desks a shared screen to see what users are experiencing.

For your helpdesk, a picture of a user's screen can be worth more than a thousand words. With GoToAssist (GTA) 6.0, Citrix's managed service for both internal and commercial helpdesks, staffers can view a shared screen to see what users are experiencing and can solve support problems without a remote-control package such as Symantec's pcAnywhere.

I tested GTA in our Syracuse University Real-World Labs® and found it lives up to its promises. I easily met remote users through a secure channel, chatted with them in real time, shared screens and transferred files.

Citrix gave me a GTA account with a license for five agents accessible over the Web, but one agent would have been enough--a single agent can host an unlimited number of support sessions and end users. GTA's HelpAlert agent application, which runs on Windows platforms, shows the details of individual sessions with users. Posing as an agent, I downloaded and ran HelpAlert, assigned a license to myself and tracked all incoming queries.

End users or customers must use Windows, but GTA supports any Web browser. Posing as a user, I visited a configurable Web page supplied by Citrix that can be inserted into your Web site by the URL or code. Then I entered a typical customer question: "Where did all my applications go?"

The question was broadcast to all agents assigned to my user account. Once an agent accepts the question, the user is directed to a secure Web site to download a small plug-in, which lets the user communicate with the agent through secure Citrix servers. It took mere minutes from the initial inquiry to the opening of the dialog box.

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