Rating: Very Good
- Features – 5/5 (most features of any remote software)
- Pricing – 2/5 (one of the most expensive)
- Ease of setup – 4/5 (a little difficult for inexperienced users to setup)
- Address book – 5/5 (unlimited)
- Customization – 4/5 (best customization – but moderately difficult)
ConnectWise Control is by far – leaps and bounds – the most feature filled remote control tool on the market that I’ve seen. Nothing that I’ve tested comes even remotely close. Here’s a rundown of all the features I’ve seen.
- Remote connection.
- Remote ADMINISTRATION without connecting.
- Multi-desktop/monitor support.
- Reverse-sharing (you share your screen).
- Sending clipboard keystrokes.
- Blanking guest monitor – with custom message!
- Credential storage.
- Reboot & reconnect.
- Remote printing.
- Clipboard sharing – including file transfer.
- Custom space for “toolbox” files.
- “Guest” login.
- FULL auditing.
- Screenshots and screen/session recording.
- Screen annotation.
And that list above is not exhaustive – just the ones I can recall from my usage. Some of the things in the list above I’d like to highlight would be numbers 2, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13.
#2 – Remote Administration
The remote administration side includes things such as uninstalling software, checking for running processes and killing them, checking for both private and public IP and seeing the MAC of the system – just to name a few. If a client reports an issue you can then remotely issue commands without connecting – and check for malicious software installations and remove them. You can view what processes are running and terminate them if needs be – among many other things.
#6 – Clipboard Keystrokes
This is a feature that not many other remote tools have and is most useful for persons logging on to a PC or server remotely. In the event that you are sent a password by a client, or have a long/complex password to enter, you can simply copy to the clipboard from your system and “send keystrokes” to the remote system. This ensures no mistakes when entering details.
#7 – Custom Blank Screen
Most developed remote software will have an option to blank the screen. ScreenConnect is the only one I’ve seen that allows a custom message while the screen is blanked on the client side. So you can place a custom message such as “John’s Remote Support” which will be displayed while you work away and what you need.
#8 – Credential Storage
This feature is another that I’ve not seen anywhere else. ScreenConnect allows you to save the login password or administrative password for the system you’re connected to. This means you don’t need to remember passwords for every system – and also means the client doesn’t need to give the password out to you. Whether a one-time support or permanent install on a regular client’s system, the option can be used to have the client type in their password which will then be stored – encrypted – on the ScreenConnect server. This means the client doesn’t need to be there if a reboot is done.
#12 – Toolbox
There is an option to upload files that are most commonly used by you to the ScreenConnect server and then initiate a push to the client PC. This allows you to easily and quickly have access to things that are most used without having to search for and download them each time. Let’s say for example you’re setting up a new PC for a client and they need Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox – whichever they rather. Instead of having to then go online and download it, the files can be pushed to the remote system. This is especially useful if working on newly commissioned VPSes. Other tools such as compression or even hot-fixes can be uploaded to then be pushed to the remote system.
#13 – “Guest” Login
This is another option that I’ve not seen anywhere. Let’s say you’re at the airport and need to do something for a client. You’re about to get on the flight and the client urgently needs your attention. You can either send by email or generate a “guest” link which can then be sent to a trusted colleague, co-worker or employee to do the connection on your behalf. The only issue is the time – each “guest” link is valid for a set amount of time and cannot be revoked. Once you’ve provided the link, the time must expire for the link to become invalid.
The Dark Side
While ScreenConnect is AWESOME – there is one major flaw. As ConnectWise is an established company with a history in IT, they are targeted by hackers greatly.
Those are just two links of many showing the vulnerabilities in the software. The use of forced 2FA for all MSPs now has reduced the exploits, but it may still be a security risk if a feature is exploited.
Overall, ScreenConnect is one of the best pieces of software available. The added security with 2FA reduces the risks, but skeptics should seek another alternative. In my usage of the product (over a year) I’ve not had any security issues, but pricing was my primary reason for discontinuing.
I was approached with another ConnectWise product which would offer the things I need – but I need a minimum of 100 clients/devices. My list had over 200, but 90% of clients weren’t paying for the service – which has also forced my decision to step away for now.
Depending on your needs and budget – ScreenConnect may be the choice for you. Best product in overall features, but just a little pricey.
Regardless of the tool in use, bear in mind that unscrupulous persons will use different methods to attempt entry into your system. A call pretending to be from Microsoft or some other company – someone pretending to be from your office who needs to connect and install new software or do troubleshooting. The best thing to do is use safe practices, because MSPs (Managed Service Providers) and individuals alike have been attacked by hackers, and scammers have used the tools to gain access to systems. Regardless of the tool in use – please ensure you thoroughly check out who is providing support. Never grant access to anyone that you haven’t confirmed is supposed to have access.