ConnectWise Control Review
By Skye Schooley, business.com Writer | Updated Apr 16, 2020
When you're looking for remote PC access software with cross-platform access, ConnectWise Control, formerly ScreenConnect, is an ideal candidate. ConnectWise Control performs well on every platform, whether you are connecting via PC, Mac or tablet. Once a remote access session starts, the software is very fast and efficient to use. The toolbar uses icons, which makes it easy to quickly find the function you need. This creates an effective remote connection between you, your clients and your IT department. The software comes in various packages, so whether you need to connect to one computer or a whole team, you can use ConnectWise.
View all our recommendations for remote PC access software on our best picks page.
ConnectWise Control is installation-based software that's accessible with a link or an installer package. This enables you to connect a multitude of platforms, including both desktop and mobile devices. While connected, you can drag and drop files or copy and paste pieces of documents between devices. Features like text chat, VoIP, annotation and a shared toolbox allow effective communication between the host and remote device. ConnectWise Control enables high security measures like AES 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication. It's for all of these reasons and more that ConnectWise Control is our choice for the best remote PC software for cross-platform access.
ConnectWise Control Pricing and Software Plans
ConnectWise Control offers a free plan for personal use, three all-inclusive paid plans for business use and one paid unattended access plan primarily for IT use. The main difference between each all-inclusive plan is the number of simultaneous connections available, as well as the services offered. There is a monthly fee for paid plans based on the number of concurrent sessions you need. You can pay monthly, but you'll get a discount if you pay annually. Here is a breakdown of each plan:
- Free personal plan: This plan is only available for personal use. It has minimal remote access features, but it can still connect you to your friends and family. If you need remote access for work, you must select one of the paid options.
- One plan: This is the most basic business plan and is primarily used for a single employee. It allows one user to make one connection, as well as 10 unattended access agents. This plan is $24 per month when billed monthly or $19 per month when paying for a year in advance.
- Standard plan: This plan allows one user to make three simultaneous connections. It also allows for unlimited unattended access agents. There is no limit to how many computers can be accessed, only to how many can be accessed at the same time. It has all of the remote capabilities of the One plan, as well as wake-on-LAN, mobile support and expanded chat options. This plan is $42 per month, or $35 per month when billed annually.
- Premium plan: This plan allows one user to make 10 simultaneous connections. It also allows for unlimited unattended access agents. Like the Standard plan, it doesn't limit how many computers you can access, only how many you can access at the same time. It has all of the remote capabilities of the previous plans, in addition to features like video auditing, dashboard reporting and a remote diagnostics toolkit. This plan is $54 per month billed monthly or $45 per month when you pay for a year in advance.
- Unattended Access plan: This plan differs from the others in that it is for unattended access only. This is great for managing a mobile workforce or large groups of machines, since it allows unlimited users to connect to unattended devices by installing unattended access agents. This plan for 25 unattended access agents is $25 per month, billed annually. You can also upgrade to between 100 and 2,500 agents for $50 to $300 per month.
If you are unsure of what features will be best for your business, ConnectWise Control offers a free 14-day trial. The free trial uses the Standard plan, but you have the option to turn on premium extensions.
ConnectWise Control offers a wide selection of services and features for remote PC access, including the following:
- Installation: You can implement ConnectWise Control by installation on both remote and host computers. You can send a link, copy a URL, or download the installer package on any desktop or mobile device.
- Cross-platform access: ConnectWise supports a wide variety of platforms, including Mac, Windows, Linux (Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise, CentOS and Solaris), iOS and Android. You can connect from one type of device to the next.
- Integration: You can expand your software by integrating add-on functions. ConnectWise Control has over 100 to choose from, or you can develop your own custom extensions.
- File transfer: This software has a drag-and-drop option for complete files as well as a copy-and-paste feature for transferring pieces of documents.
- Grouping: You can filter and group sessions by customer name, location and operating system.
- Monitor control exchange: The host and admin computer can switch roles, with the client setting the credentials and sending them to the admin computer. This feature allows you to toggle control back and forth between devices.
- Personalized branding: You can personalize the software with your brand's logo, icons and color schemes. ConnectWise Control is one of the most customizable remote PC access software platforms available.
- Automated responses: Unlike many of its competitors, ConnectWise Control allows you to create and edit triggers to fire off actions in response to certain events.
- Instant chat: You can communicate between devices through various channels, including text, VoIP, annotation and a shared toolbox.
- Multiple languages: You can modify text in the software to convert it from English to your local language.
- Scalability: It's easy to scale your ConnectWise Control software. You can upgrade at any time and will immediately be prorated for the proper amount. You can also downgrade at any time, but the new services and cost won't be in effect until the renewal period.
- Customer service and resources: While the software is extremely customizable and requires its users to be more technologically minded, it has several resources to help you learn how to use it. In addition to online resources like articles, blogs, success webinars, live demos and video tutorials, ConnectWise Control offers several ways to contact technical support. You can reach the support team by email form, telephone or live chat.
Pros and Cons of ConnectWise Control
One of the biggest benefits of ConnectWise Control is its high security. It employs numerous layers of protection to keep your data safe. The software offers end-to-end 256-bit SSL encryption, which is above the industry standard. Additionally, you can customize the security settings. This includes screen recording, audit logs of every session, two-factor authentication, session timeouts, limiting access to certain sessions and restricting IP addresses. Of all the software we reviewed, ConnectWise Control not only offers the most security options but also allows you the most control over session security.
This software permits a wide variety of customization that's unrivaled by many of its competitors. Personalizing your logo is as simple as inserting your image, no HTML required. You can convert 100 percent of the text in the application from English to another language. You can also edit over 1,200 settings to customize the appearance of the dashboard. It's simple to create a unique guest page to fit your brand, giving your clients a personalized experience with your remote product.
Along with customizing your security settings and branding, this software allows you to integrate a variety of features into the platform. The software houses more than 100 different integrations and extensions for you to choose from. These integrations can save a lot of time and money for your business. For instance, you can integrate popular platforms like Freshdesk to streamline ticketing or Zendesk to quickly resolve tech issues. The extensions you can choose from include a command toolbox, quick-support SOS and offline machine notifications.
One downside to this service is the difficulty of its initial implementation. Initially connecting devices can be challenging, since you must log in to both computers at the same time and have a variety of connection options. The administrator chooses how to invite the host, or client computer, to the remote session by either setting a passcode and sharing it with the host or publishing an online session that is listed on ConnectWise Control's website, which the host user then selects to join. This can be confusing, since the administrator may have several open sessions listed and it is up to the client to ensure the right session is chosen. The remote session doesn't begin, though, until the host gives permission to the admin to connect with it.
The program is also difficult to use as a single-user solution for accessing a work computer from home, because there must be someone at both ends to create the admin controls, initiate a remote connection and, then on the host side, grant permission for the session to begin.
Another downfall is the limited mobile capabilities. This software does support both Android and iOS devices; however, some of the desktop features do not translate to the mobile versions. Android tablets and Android phones by Samsung tend to have full capabilities, but other Android phones may have limited usability. iOS devices may also have limited features, as is the case with most other remote PC access software, but they are still usable with the software.
Ease of Use
ConnectWise Control provides a variety of remote support and access features that not many of its competitors offer. The extremely customizable platform is great for businesses with unique needs and branding. It supports devices across all platforms, ensuring the connection between you and your IT department, employees, and clients.
Since the software is so customizable, though, it may require more advanced knowledge of technology for first-time users, which can affect the initial implementation process. However, your staff has the option to secure remote connections by setting a passcode and sharing it with the host or publishing an online session and asking the host to join. The multiple access options enable you to choose which process is best for you and your business.
Connections are safe and private, as ConnectWise Control uses end-to-end 256-bit SSL encryption and two-factor authentication. You can provide single sign-on access to hosts for one-time use and then lock a remote client upon host disconnect. This provides peace of mind for your clients and allows for unlimited possibilities. ConnectWise has an SSL certificate, enabled with an HTTP-to-HTTPS redirect. The security, usability and customization make this a great option for your remote access needs.