In the field of remote tech support, one company is trying to virtualize your IT people. Not literally—but the idea is “to make them more available,” says Bomgar CEO and co-founder, Joel Bomgar. In the fast-paced IT world, “We’re moving to a completely fluid environment where you’re no longer constrained by location or OS.” This fluidity, he says, puts more load on tech support people.

Also, with increased user mobility comes the challenge of meeting “two competing goals—the need for greater flexibility in supporting users who are often mobile and connecting outside the corporate environment, and the need for greater control to meet the requirements of security and compliance,” he says.

Where these goals merge is where you’ll find Bomgar’s solution, an appliance-based Help desk software product that utilizes “the Bomgar Box”—an appliance preloaded with the latest release of the company’s remote support software, Bomgar 10.0. The solution enables attended and unattended remote PC access with multi-platform support.

Bomgar co-founder, Nathan McNeill, vice president of product strategy, tells about one customer, a healthcare organization with 18,000 users that uses Bomgar to support its employees. If an IT support representative is providing support to a user who has access to patient information, you have a potential compliance problem if you can’t see what the rep is accessing and if you can’t report what the rep accessed during a remote session, McNeill says. With Bomgar, IT support managers can control what reps can and can’t do.

The appliance integrates with LDAP, and a suite of Group Policy Objects (GPOs) governs what options and abilities a rep has. Because all activity is going through a Bomgar box, you can record a session and see what the rep did—and see what the user did too. Or you can pass on a session for escalation. With other types of remote control solutions, he says, “It’s point to point— there’s no logging in between. You don’t know what systems your rep accesses; you don’t know what happened when the rep accessed them.”

You can also transfer or share a live session to multiple reps no matter where they are, plus get a report of a session, a session recording, or a chat transcript, and you can export such information to XML. There is no preinstalled client—once a session is over, “Bomgar is gone,” McNeill says.

Bomgar customers “can house technology in-house,” Bomgar adds. “They don’t want to use software as a service because they have to pass sensitive data through some other data center. You own this, it’s in your data center."

Another challenge in remote support is supporting systems not on a LAN or systems that don’t have software preinstalled. Bomgar lets you gain access to a system by going to a Web site to initiate a session. The solution supports Windows Vista and earlier, and Linux and Mac OSs. To learn more go to http://www.bomgar.com.