Remote Software Monitoring System – A Con?

Remote Software Monitoring System – a Con for Residents?

Recently I have come across something which I find a bit disturbing.  Some new clients who are elderly with very limited computer knowledge called upon me for my services and as usual I fixed whatever was wrong at the time.  Sitting in the corner of the system tray I noticed a little spider type icon which I instantly recognised as a remote monitoring antivirus system.

So what does this remote system thingy do anyway?

At it’s basic level it checks all the services running on the computer or laptop and then alerts the user (and the company that installed it there) if there is a problem.  Things like disk space, memory errors, windows updates etc. are all monitored 24/7.

What else can it do?

For a bit extra you can add a managed antivirus software and patch management (auto installs updates for Windows and virtually every bit of software on your system).  At the most expensive option you can have a managed back up system, email filtering and all sorts of other goodies too, all monitored 24/7.
It all sounds pretty good so what’s my concern?

This remote monitoring is really extremely good for businesses it brings a wealth of benefits, practically like having an IT technician on their premises without paying the wages.  

But for residents this sucks!

Here’s why, most systems since the good old days of Windows XP do a pretty decent job of looking after themselves anyway. It’s actually rare for a system to run out of disk space or develop memory errors and needing the registry routinely cleaned out, (registry cleaners are bogus anyway).
What about managed antivirus?  yes it’s very good but so is Avast, Avira, ESET, Norton, Kaspersky and the list goes on and every one of the them is vastly cheaper then the managed version.

Here’s the Math, if you go for a basic service that just monitors your computer or laptop then that generally costs £6-7 per month if you’re lucky.  It doesn’t fix anything it just ‘alerts’ the tech and you that a problem has occurred and the tech will ring you up and say something needs fixing, usually for a fee on top of what you are already paying. 
Go for the managed Antivirus package and you are generally paying £8-10 per month.  Nowadays you only need to pay £20-30 a year at the very most for a top Antivirus software certainly not £100+ per year.

Worst part is my clients who have bought into this remote monitoring package are all very basic users and elderly.  They were ‘advised’ by another computer repair company that it’s a good thing and is happily drawing a monthly fee of them (well it was).  This is not what I would advise, it’s in the repair companies interest to sell this type of package because it costs them peanuts to buy and it provides them with a guaranteed income for hardly any outlay.  They may throw in the odd free visit in there somewhere but it’s just a token gesture.

Lastly, if it was that good then why are customers still ringing me for my services? I am more then prepared to offer some kind of remote monitoring package PROVIDING it’s in the customers best interest, not mine.  A Vista system or newer monitors itself very well, choose Avast Antivirus for £14.99 and its’ job done.

If you know anyone elderly who is paying a monthly IT package, make sure they are absolutely aware of what they are paying and getting for their money.  If in doubt just cancel the direct debit, uninstall  the package and download and install a  free antivirus software.

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