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LogMeIn Defines Itself in an MDM World

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

LogMeIn, the company behind a number of popular remote access  apps and solutions for desktops and mobile devices, has been busy. 

Over the last couple months, the company updated its flagship remote support solution, LogMeIn Rescue, with additional mobile device configuration capabilities.  LogMeIn also brought Dropbox and Google Docs support to LogMeIn Pro, its remote access application for the iPhone and iPad, through a feature called My Cloud Bank.  

Previously known as LogMeIn Ignition ($99.99 at the iTunes App Store), LogMeInis now free and provides remote access to an unlimited number of computers that are running the LogMeIn Free service. When coupled with the company’s LogMeIn Pro service on a computer, the new app allows iOS users to also transfer, copy, view and save files between their mobile devices, desktop and laptops—as well as a number of Cloud services—with support for HD video and audio streaming. The LogMeIn Pro service is being offered via in-app purchase for $40 per year per computer.

Meanwhile, LogMeIn Rescue is a web-based tool that enables IT helpdesks, customer care organizations and wireless carriers to remotely support tablets, smartphones and computers. Compatible operating systems include iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows, Windows Mobile and Mac OS X.

The purpose of LogMeIn Rescue, according to the company, is to allow help staff to remotely connect to end users to solve problems, push configuration settings and secure mobile devices as long as there is an Internet connection.  Specifically, the latest release adds the ability to remotely configure iOS and Android connectivity settings, setup device permissions, push device pass code settings for iOS products, create customized iOS helpdesk or self-help shortcut app icons, and initiate mobile and computer support sessions in a single click.

The updated mobile device configuration features, it would seem, aims to help businesses and IT staffs cope with the Consumerization of IT.

“Bring-your-own-device is not just a reality in today’s workplace; it is the norm. Any tool that helps IT staff deal effectively and efficiently with the many issues that smartphones, tablets and any other mobile devices present is bound to make both the IT staff and the employees more productive and happier,” said Lee Weiner, LogMeIn VP of Support Products, to Tom’s IT Pro. “Every day, employees are bringing new and different mobile devices into the workplace. Rescue helps IT get their arms around the management and support of those devices with a simple, effective and cost-effective tool.”

Interestingly, Weinerexplained that LogMeIn Rescue was originally developed for supporting Macs and PCs. “In fact, businesses like Best Buy’s Geek Squad and Sling Media (the people behind the SlingBox) have been using it to support their customers for years,” he noted. 

LogMeIn Rescue was later expanded to support mobile devices, starting with Windows Mobile, Symbian, and BlackBerry.  “In 2010, Rescue added support capabilities for the iPhone and iPad, Weiner said. “In early 2011, Android was formally added to the mix (LogMeIn has been working with Android OEMs and Operators that deploy Android devices since early 2010).”

Tom’s IT Pro asked Weiner to some questions to elaborate on LogMeIn Rescue’s mobile device and support capabilities.

Tom’s IT Pro: Is LogMeIn Rescue a comprehensive mobile device management (MDM)? Or is it meant to work in conjunction with other products. In what mobile management and support areas does it excel?

Weiner: LogMeIn Rescue is a remote support product that can be used to diagnose and troubleshoot smartphones, tablets and computers.  There are definitely areas where it complements and even overlaps capabilities found in MDM products.  The biggest differences between Rescue and an MDM suite come down to their intended use, the profile of its users, and the people (and devices) each is expected to impact.

LogMeIn Rescue

Intended use:

MDM – proactively manage and secure enrolled devices used within an enterprise environment

Rescue – provide on-demand support for devices (mobile, but also PCs, Macs) – diagnose, trouble shoot, repair over the air whether they were previously enrolled or not.

Profile of typical users:

MDM – enterprise IT managers

Rescue – IT helpdesks (internal and external, e.g. MSPs), customer care organizations, mobile carrier helpdesks

People/devices impacted:

MDM – enterprise employees with smartphones

Rescue – customers of carriers (subscribers), SMB employees, clients of MSPs, customers of hardware and software developers

Due to these inherent differences, Rescue excels in simplicity and is better suited for remote support– the ability to remote control devices, display device diagnostics, push configuration settings, integrate with helpdesk ticketing systems and CRM, etc.  It does this in a way that does not require previous device enrollment or host software–it can perform these functions on-demand, over the air.

Another important distinction is how the software is delivered.  The vast majority of MDM solutions are on-premise.  Rescue is SaaS-based, delivered as a service via the web. 

Tom’s IT Pro: What makes it a “Web-based, SaaS offering” exactly?

Weiner: Rescue is delivered as a service via the Web, just as a Salesforce.com or Microsoft Office 365 are delivered. The primary tools (the Technician Console, and the Administration Center) are browser based, though it is important to note that in this release, we introduced a desktop app version of the Rescue tech console that eliminates the need to start a session via a browser.  Think of it like the Internet-enabled apps common to iOS and more recently Mac. 

Like other LogMeIn SaaS offerings, Rescue is delivered via the web to a global customer base, and rides on top of LogMeIn’s proprietary service delivery platform called Gravity. The platform is realized via a number of secure, high-performance data centers around the world. Owned and maintained by LogMeIn, the storage, networking, and web services infrastructure has been engineered, built and deployed over the past 10 years. This true SaaS approach allows us to deliver highly-available, multi-tenant services to millions of global customers.

Tom’s IT Pro: What exactly does this update mean to the IT pros tasked with deploying and managing these devices?

Weiner:

  • It simplifies their ability to support employee-owned devices walking in off the street
  • Opens up doors to supporting and securing IT procured iOS and Android devices
  • Provides a single tool for supporting (troubleshooting, fixing) PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets anywhere with an Internet connection (on or off LAN)

Tom’s IT Pro: Could you provide a brief example of the solution in action?

Weiner: A travelling employee calls into IT to report an email issue.  The device is working but email is no longer updating and they desperately need an important email update on their meeting.  IT asks them to go to a simple webpage and type in a PIN code.  Once done, the device is now visible to the IT technician.  The tech sets the appropriate email config settings and pushes those settings as a link to the travelling employee’s device.  The employee taps the link, email settings are updated and the important mail begins to flow as expected. 

See here to learn more about LogMeIn Rescue.

James Alan Miller is Managing Editor of Tom's IT Pro. He is a veteran technology journalist with over seventeen years of experience creating and developing magazine and online content. Founding editor of numerous business and enterprise computing sites at the internet.com network, James headed up the After Hours section at PC Magazine, as well as hardware and software sections of various Windows publications.

(Shutterstock cover image credit: Mobile Phone & Tablet)

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