Viewfinity Aims to Ease Pain of PC Management

Managing the desktop and laptop computers in your organization individually is a time-consuming proposition, but for most small businesses it doesn’t make financial sense to invest in in-house computer management software.

So to help small businesses troubleshoot computer problems remotely, handle routine updates and software maintenance, and ensure that their employees adhere to security and other policies, Viewfinity has rolled out three services that can handle these chores and much more, easily and affordably.

With its three online suites — Systems Management, Privilege Management and User Migration — Viewfinity aims to alleviate the top PC management problems small business owners experience, such as managing mobile users, dealing with application conflicts, keeping up with constant stream of operating system and application updates, and resolving technical issues for employees more quickly.

 Viewfinity computer management software screen shot
With Viewfinity Privilege Management, an administrator can easily change permission a computer’s settings from a remote location.
(Click for larger image)

The company reports its services can replace or supplement traditional PC management solutions, such as on-premise server- or appliance-based offerings. Viewfinity’s cloud-based model means there’s no hardware to buy, no server software to deploy and to maintain, and no specialized IT experience required. All that’s needed is a subscription to the service and a small piece of software on each computer.

“Our solutions allow IT administrators to focus on helping end users, not on managing hardware,” said Viewfinity co-founder and CEO Leonid Shtilman. “And Viewfinity can be especially helpful for managing mobile users.” According to research by Gartner Dataquest, notebook PCs will represent almost 70 percent of the computer market by the end of 2011, but managing a mobile computer costs about 20 percent more than managing an in-office PC.

Viewfinity’s Systems Management suite handles centralized remote software deployment, asset inventory reports, remote desktop abilities, rollback/undo of certain PC changes and more. The company claims that Systems Management offers faster, remote problem resolution for employees while allowing mobile PCs to be brought into the management fold. Viewfinity offers this service free for up to 50 PCs and $48 per PC annually beyond that.

The Privilege Management suite, priced at $28 annually per computer, offers flexible blocking and white-listing for particular PC actions. For example, an administrator can indicate which changes an employee is allowed to enact (such as changing time zones in Windows) and which are prohibited (such as installing software). This suite can reduce the number of support calls while ensuring that policies are enforced across all computers in an organization.

Viewfinity also offers a User Migration suite, which delivers centralized migration management capabilities for companies moving from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7. The company claims this offering can reduce migration time by up to 83 percent per computer. User Migration is free for Viewfinity customers to use through the end of March; pricing thereafter has not yet been determined.

All three Viewfinity suites feature an easy-to-navigate online interface as well as real-time reporting for PCs under management. Communication between the cloud and computers is encrypted via128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Administrators can set policies or enact changes for individual PCs or groups of PCs simultaneously, and Shtilman says that settings and changes propagate from the cloud to the target PC in about 20 seconds.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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