McAfee readies help-desk software

The software package, to be released in December, includes desktop and Web-based applications that answer users' questions without a call to IS.

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McAfee today said it will roll out its integrated diagnostic and self-service software suite in December.

McAfee's Self ServiceDesk Suite includes a host of desktop and Web-based applications to give users answers to common PC problems without having to call the IS help desk.

Self ServiceDesk is designed for Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), Microsoft's Web server, and will ship with a copy of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0.

Self ServiceDesk provides IS organizations with an integrated suite of self-service-oriented applications designed to make supported PCs help-desk-ready. The suite combines McAfee's SupportWeb 98, Knowledge Wizard, PC Medic, and Remote Control Enabler with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0--but it works with any browser, the company said.

"This the first time we've pulled all of these pieces together," said McAfee's Ed Gondeck, acting product manager of the package. "We've combined the help-desk diagnostic service with the Web-based services, bringing more control to the end-user."

McAfee's new SupportWeb 98 is the central component of the Self ServiceDesk suite. SupportWeb 98 allows employees to submit help-desk requests and check on the status of open trouble tickets over the Web.

When a request for help is submitted, SupportWeb 98 emails the employee with an assigned trouble ticket number and information about their pending job. Employees also can be sent status reports when a ticket is assigned, referred or escalated, or resolved, answering common questions and reassuring them that the help desk is working on their request, according to the company.

Prior to submitting help-desk requests, employees can try to solve their own PC application problems over the Web using Knowledge Wizard, a searchable information database that gives users answers to more than 30,000 common hardware and software application questions. The Knowledge Wizard system also includes thousands of illustrations, screen shots, and step-by-step instructions.

The Self ServiceDesk suite also includes PC Medic, McAfee's PC diagnostics software package. PC Medic is a centrally administered desktop client that protects supported PCs from system and application crashes, diagnoses and corrects common problems, and feeds diagnostic information directly to the help desk. It also allows users to do their own diagnostics checks on the individual PCs.

The final component of Self ServiceDesk is McAfee's Remote Control Enabler. This agent makes it possible for support technicians to take control of a troubled PC via the LAN (local area network), WAN (wide area network), or the Internet, and solve problems remotely.

Self ServiceDesk will be sold independently and as a part of the company's complete McAfee ServiceDesk package. SupportWeb 98, the Remote Control Enabler, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 are available to McAfee customers today. The complete Self ServiceDesk suite is scheduled to ship December 8.

Although pricing hasn't been determined, Gondeck said it will most likely fall between $35 and $40 per user.