ConnectWise Control Review


ConnectWise Control is a remote desktop and mobile support solution owned by the U.S-based Professional Services Automation (PSA) company ConnectWise Inc. ConnectWise Control comes in two variants: ConnectWise Control Access and ConnectWise Control Support. ConnectWise Control Access is a remote network management tool designed to allow technicians to access attended or unattended endpoints instantly, so they can resolve issues faster—and help reduce customer downtime. With ConnectWise Control Access, technicians can deliver secure, superior service silently, seamlessly, and speedily through a reliable, direct connection to access desktops, mobile devices, and more, when needed.

ConnectWise Control Home Page

ConnectWise Control Support is designed for technicians and IT staff who need remote access to other devices to provide support. ConnectWise Control Support offers full, attended remote control capabilities that allow technicians to deliver direct and fast service to customers, anytime and anywhere, right from their device. They can swoop in to provide help desk-style services, including break/fix services, on the spot and on the fly, expediting ticket resolution, and getting customers back to work faster.

Key features and capabilities include: 

  • Configurability: you’ll have the freedom to work in ways that are best for your business.
  • Compatibility: ConnectWise Control is compatible with Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, Linux/Unix/*nix operating systems, and nearly every major browser
  • Customization: ConnectWise Control Support isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s customizable for your business
  • Security: ConnectWise Control Access provides an array of robust security features—including AES-256 encryption and two-factor authentication
  • ConnectWise View: Elevate remote access management capabilities with browser-enabled live-stream sessions
  • Access Control: ConnectWise Control Access has a role-based security architecture that provides access on a need-to-know basis
  • Reporting: Advanced reporting capabilities in ConnectWise Control Access let you access a holistic view of technician activity and track the key metrics
  • Integration: With a library housing 100+ integrations and extensions, you can enhance ConnectWise Control with more capabilities

ConnectWise Control Support Dashboard

Who Would Need ConnectWise Control?

ConnectWise Control is most suited to large businesses with complicated multi-site networks and distributed workforce. The remote management elements within the tool make it an ideal tool to centralize IT management in one location and cut costs on running support in every location. Typical use cases include MSP services, SaaS support, help desk support, remote access, work from anywhere, Internal IT, and more.

Mid-sized companies would also benefit from using ConnectWise Control because the task automation included in the package enables a small team to support and optimize a complex network,  MSP service,  and a growing remote workforce with ease. If you are looking to provide a better remote support service to your customers, you must have a good application for remote connections, and this is where ConnectWise Control comes into play. However, a basic network with very few devices wouldn’t need all the detailed features that ConnectWise Control offers.

MSP businesses for example can utilize ConnectWise Control to provide superior support services to customers seamlessly and securely with speed through an instant, direct connection that lets technicians access desktops, mobile devices, and more. Furthermore, the ability to work from anywhere has opened up many opportunities and benefits for businesses and employees alike. It has also brought many challenges to keeping them connected and supported. ConnectWise Control delivers remote support and access capabilities to keep remote workforces secure, productive, and within reach of all essential applications and resources.

System Requirements and Deployment

ConnectWise Control offers a flexible deployment model. It can be deployed on-premises or via the cloud-hosted version. The flexible deployment model ensures that you get the best fit for your organization—no matter what your goals and environmental needs may be. The on-premise deployment model is ideal for organizations that want to have granular control, but it comes at a cost—you also have to manage it yourself. The first step is installing it on your own servers, PC, virtual machine (VM), or virtual private server (VPS). It runs as a .NET Framework application on Microsoft Windows. Once installed, the central web application can be made visible inside and outside the local area network (LAN). This gives you the ability to control the flow of data behind your own firewall.

The ConnectWise Control server runs as a set of four discrete services:

  • The Web Server service is an outward-facing ASP.NET HTTP application and serves as a portal for both technicians and their end-users
  • The Relay service provides outward-facing in-session communication and operates on TCP sockets. Communication is encrypted with the AES-256 block cipher.
  • The Session Manager service provides a data store for both the Web Server and Relay services. It is implemented as a WCF SOAP web service.
  • The Security Manager service provides a data store for security-related activities, including authentication and auditing

Just as the name implies, the cloud version of ConnectWise Control is a cloud-hosted application that provides a way to use the ConnectWise Control software with no local server installation required; which means there are no on-premises system requirements other than the usual sign-up process using an internet-connected device with a supported browser. However, for the most part, you’ll be required to install local agents specific to the device you wish to use. The cloud deployment option makes it ideal for organizations that don’t want to burden themselves with any resource-intensive on-premises solution.

The sign-up process for setting up the ConnectWise Control cloud account is pretty much straightforward. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial account for ConnectWise Control Access and ConnectWise Control Support with minimal personal and no credit card information required. Once you have completed the sign-up process, you will be taken directly to a web client. From there, you can begin creating a ConnectWise session with a unique URL and passcode. The device you want to access will need to navigate to this URL and connect with the provided passcode. You may be asked to download a desktop or mobile app, depending on your operating system. To set up a remote access session or meeting, you simply need to navigate to the relevant tab on the left of the screen and follow the prompts. ConnectWise Control uses 256-bit AES encryption for data transfer. It also supports two-factor authentication and granular role-based security.

How ConnectWise Control Works

Whether you are using ConnectWise Control’s self-hosted or cloud-hosted version, the service works the same. The host technician or service desk engineer can utilize Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS, or Android operating systems to connect to a remote device. The guest (customer or participant) can connect from Mac, Linux, or Windows. ConnectWise Control can also be utilized to remotely support Android devices, with complete view and control available for devices manufactured by Samsung.

Starting a ConnectWise Control session is pretty much straightforward, Sessions are set up through the web application. When a host initiates a session through the central web application, a participant would then join a session by clicking on an email link or via the guest page of the application. Once users join sessions, a ConnectWise Control client is launched to connect to the Relay service. An unattended client can be created and deployed to a targeted machine without the need for human intervention. You will be able to see the device you’re connected to and, depending on permissions, may be able to access it. Several tools and features, including a chat feature, are available via the icons at the top of the screen.

Additionally, ConnectWise Control uses a proprietary protocol and implements an open application programming interface that can be utilized by users to implement custom plugins, scripting, or implement other third-party application integration. This allows you to extend the functionality and capabilities of the tool to suit your service requirements. ConnectWise Control targets clients based on device and operating system.

The following are the various ConnectWise Control clients based on the operating system platform:

  • The .NET client is targeted to Microsoft Windows computers and is activated with a custom URI Scheme which starts the session from an installed handler on the controller’s workstation. For end-users joining a support session, a variety of bootstrappers can be used, including Microsoft’s ClickOnce technology.
  • The Java client is targeted to OS X and Linux computers and is activated with Java Web Start.
  • The iOS client is targeted to iPhones and iPads.
  • The Android client is targeted to Android phones and tablets.

Licensing and Pricing Model

ConnectWise Control comes in three license tiers: One, Standard, and Premium tier. The “One” tier is a single license restriction that allows one simultaneous connection per license. The “Standard” tier is per concurrent technician, which means that a user can make 3 simultaneous connections. The “Premium” tier pricing model is also per concurrent technician, which means that a user is allowed to make up to 10 simultaneous connections. All license tiers are billed per month (paid annually). All plans come with a 14-day free trial that enables users to test the software before committing to a subscription plan.

License FeaturesOneStandardPremium
Pricing ModelSingle license restrictionPer concurrent techPer concurrent tech
Description1 user can make 1 connection1 user can make 3 simultaneous connections1 user can make 10 simultaneous connections
Ideal ForSupporting a few end users and small groups of machinesSupporting end users and unattended devicesSupporting end users and unattended devices with superior support features

Table 1.0 | ConnectWise Control Licensing and Pricing Model

Concluding Remark

ConnectWise no doubt has distinguished itself over the years in the remote access and Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) space. It is therefore well positioned to meet the needs of MSPs and large organizations with multi-site networks and distributed workforce. Overall, ConnectWise Control is a solid remote access software with a remote diagnostic toolkit and unlimited unattended access agents.

ConnectWise Control’s flexible deployment option gives organizations the flexibility to choose the deployment model most suitable for them. However, some users have described its customer service and support as disappointing.  There have been complaints about slow customer service, but the agents are friendly and knowledgeable. Nonetheless, its security and integration capabilities make it stand out among the competition.