Getting Started with BomgarBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2009-01-13 Email Print
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Bomgar's remote support appliance eliminates many of the worries associated with security, remote access and remote control in one convenient package.
Installation of the product is relatively straightforward, but there are a few caveats. Bomgar sent over a device for testing, which is simply a 1U rack-mountable server. Installers are offered several installation scenarios. Surprisingly, the most recommended scenario is to install the appliance outside of the corporate firewall, at the edge of the network. Bomgar argues that this approach makes installation as simple as possible and makes access to the device very simple. Of course, that does open the device up to attacks, but Bomgar has locked down all the ports on the system to prevent anything from happening, and all communication with the unit is done using SSL.
For each installation, Bomgar builds a custom software package, which hard-codes in the URL of the box (which must be a registered URL with full DNS resolution) among other things. It seems more than likely Bomgar does that to protect its software from piracy, as opposed to improving the purchaser's experience.
By installing the unit using this method, we were able to better secure inbound traffic and were also able to implement additional features on our firewall, such as preventing attacks, intrusions and other maladies from being attempted on the Bomgar device. It is also worth noting that more and more satellite offices and smaller VARs do not have external static IP addresses at their locations and are forced to rely on dynamic DNS. Bomgar really does need to take that into consideration, especially with its SMB-focused B200 device.
Once the unit is up and running, installers have a plethora of integration and customization options. Installers can customize the support portal, to lend a corporate identity to the device. Larger sites may want to integrate the device into Active Directory to eliminate the need to create additional technician accounts.
Customization can also be applied to the client application, as well as how sessions are initiated. In addition, installers can control the post-support experience, where customers can be asked to fill out a survey or receive a complete transcript of the session, along with a Flash-based video of the session.
Maintenance of the unit is quite simple; an administrative console allows administrators to quickly create accounts, change IP addresses, back up settings, download updates and monitor the system. Integrated reporting gives further insight into the use and status of the device.
In practice, Bomgar’s unit proves to be a very powerful solution and surpasses most any hosted solution on the market. Remote support is simple with the unit as well as creating a distributed support environment. Since technicians can log into the device from anywhere that has a Web connection and customers can be supported over a Web connection, the device has the potential to create virtual support teams and teleworker-based support staffs. That could save a great deal of money for many MSPs and enterprise environments.
Pricing varies based upon the number of licenses, number of concurrent users (technicians) and number of concurrent sessions to be supported. SMB markets can get involved in most cases for well under $5,000, which is not overly expensive when one considers that the Bomgar unit is a physical device that is owned by the purchaser. The unit will quickly pay for itself and should easily prove more economical than hosted services.