ConnectWise Control Review

Easy to use remote access but it lacks the ability to control Windows updates and patches

What is our primary use case?

We mostly use the unattended access. We only use the on-demand, remote support solution on occasion but it's good to have on the off chance that we're dealing with a customer who is not under contract with our service. We have just three people that use ConnectWise. We're not using any extensions.

What is most valuable?

Ease of use is good, it's very easy to use, very easy to understand. It gives us remote access to the PC without any issues. That's the most important thing.

What needs improvement?

The complaints I have are more regarding my side - not on the users' side - regarding setting up. For my company, just installing the software and using it is very easy. But if I need to give one of my customers access to their machines, the process that you have to go through is some 15 to 20 steps. You have to create a group, and then you have to assign a policy. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to set up someone for remote access to their own machine. When I was using LogMeIn Central, that process was just as simple as sending an email and having the person create an account. It's much more of a pain in that respect. If they could fix that, make that more automated, that would greatly help improve the quality of the product.

Also, here's the biggest thing. What we need this product to do is to be able to control Windows Updates. LogMeIn Central allowed us remote access but also allowed us to push and install Windows Updates, and third-party updates. LogMeIn Central raised their price extremely high, so we ended up finding this solution and going with it. But there is a new product on the market called the Atera. It does everything ConectWise does, but it also does all the patching and Windows Updates. Eventually, we're going to be moving to them and shutting off ConnectWise. Not only does Atera do Windows Updates and patching, it has a ticketing system built in, remote control, unattended access, file transfer, printer sharing, etc.

When we made the switch to ConnectWise we lost the ability to do patching. That forced us, for our larger clients, to move to WSUS. We had to set up a VM on those larger clients to push Windows Updates and patches into the network until we found Atera. We have both ConnectWise and another product installed because ConnectWise won't do patches for people that are not on a domain. If I have 15 or 18 computers in a workgroup, I can't use the WSUS to push updates. I have to use a third-party tool to do patch management. If ConnectWise wants to keep people on their product, they need to integrate patch management.

The reason we still have ConnectWise is because we just haven't had the time to learn Atera yet, because it's an entirely new system and with a new UI. It does so much more than what ConnectWise does that it's taking us time to learn how to use it. Eventually though, once the guys feel comfortable enough, we will probably discontinue using ConnectWise. That is, we will discontinue the unattended access product but keep the on-demand product.

Another issue is that the ConnectWise installation software is not recognized by Microsoft as a legit piece of software. So any time we go to install it, it will pop up a screen saying that the software is unrecognized and that it could be malware. If we're in front of a client when this happens, we have to explain to the client, "Oh, this is just a Microsoft thing." But we never had that problem with other solutions. We don't have the problem with Atera, and we never had that problem with LogMeIn Central's installer. But this solution actually comes up in Smart Screen as if it's malware, when it shouldn't.

The other problem we have is using this product on Apple devices; it's the same thing. During the Apple installation, it comes up as blocked in Apple, because Apple doesn't recognize it as a certified install. What happens is, I can't install the software remotely because there are eight steps you have to go through on an Apple machine to actually make the software work because Apple blocks it. Again, it thinks it's malware. 

So this issue is happening and is even worse on Apple products than Windows products. With Windows, you have to tell it to install it anyway and it will install; it's just an extra step. And with the way people are really wary these days about malware, we have to say to clients, "No, really, it's okay, it's just Microsoft, it's not malware, we promise."

That needs to be fixed. They need to get their signed certificate updated into Microsoft's database at the least. We don't have a whole lot of Apple computers that we support. It's not a huge issue for us and it certainly wouldn't be something we'd leave ConnectWise because of, but the issue with Microsoft is a big issue. Some 400 to 500 of our endpoints are Microsoft operating systems.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had issues. We have had circumstances, for reasons we don't know, where the service will stop running, and when the service stops running that computer no longer becomes reachable. We haven't really seen that so much on desktops, but we have seen that happen quite frequently on server operating systems, Server 2008, Server 2012. You can install the product and then a week down the road it will just stop. 

I have a client where we just manage their 12 servers, and it will shut off on six of them. So we'll remote into one of the servers that is working, and then we have to do remote-desktop to the other servers and rerun the ConnectWise service, and it will come back up. So we have issues with ConnectWise running on servers, and here I am talking about the unattended access software.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is fine.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support is very poor. We have asked for help on the issues we've encountered in the past and the support people they have just answer questions with more questions, or they don't actually help. Fortunately the software is pretty stable on its own.

We've never been able to resolve any issue using the support. We end up giving up and just dealing with it until we find something better. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used several pieces of software. We used LabTech, we used GFI which is now owned by another company. We used Kaseya, and we've used LogMeIn Central. LogMeIn Central was the one we started off with seven years ago. When LogMeIn Central raised their prices we moved to a couple of others, but then LogMeIn Central came back and offered us the price that we had before, so we switched back. Then LogMeIn Central raised their prices again, and so we left and went to ConnectWise. The reason we switched was price. LogMeIn Central literally raised their prices almost four times what we were paying before. We were paying about $285 a month, and they wanted us to pay $1,025 a month. 

How was the initial setup?

Other than the issues I've pointed out in this review, ConnectWise works really well. We are pleased with the product, it does work.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For the price we pay, we definitely feel it's worth it, but there are some contenders in the market that are coming out now, whose products are as good; they are offering more features and the price is actually less than ConnectWise. All things considered, the biggest thing is the lack of patching in ConnectWise. If they could integrate that into the product, that would be a game changer, if offered at the same price point.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

For the actual remote control portion, we've never found a better solution than LogMeIn. As far as consistency goes, once it's installed it works. I would say that ConnectWise is a very close second to LogMeIn, with the exception being on the server side software. But we've never had a problem with it on the desktop side with any operating system, Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1, 10. Once the software is installed it works flawlessly and works great.

Other products we evaluated were Kaseya, a product by GFI but it was bought out and I don't know its name now. And we did evaluate the LabTech Software as well.

What other advice do I have?

It's very easy to use. I created a YouTube video to show people how to use it and it was relatively quick.

In terms of advice, something that helps us is that we build agents by client and we have a secret web page that people can download them from.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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