University Business opens voting for top IT software

ScreenConnect has been nominated for University Business’s top 100 products of 2014

Product nominations and votes are submitted by University Business readers and University IT professionals. If you work for a higher education organization, you can vote for ScreenConnect as your favorite remote support and access solution. The deadline for votes will be on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. The winners will be published in University Business' January 2015 edition.

Some quick insight into the vote: Multiple team members from same university can vote individually. They would like for you to denote how you are using the software (support, access, part of an RMM, meetings, etc)-- they seem very interested in our storiy and  may ask permission to publish.

As always, we truely appreciate your continued support!

Posted by Anna Morgan at 9:44 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | ScreenConnect

Preview of ScreenConnect 5.0

We're adding function and form improvements to the upcoming ScreenConnect 5.0, including a more aesthetically pleasing interface for guests and some added functionality that's quickly guest-accessible. Review the video below for a visual preview.

On the surface, we updated the UI on the guest page to give more separation to each joining method. In 4.x, if you had sessions created that used multiple joining methods (public sessions plus named sessions that required an input box, etc.) these sections would be simply stacked on top of each other on the guest page. In 5.0 we've worked to clearly define these parts and give them a bit more visual appeal. You'll also notice background images -- these are fully customizable, of course.

Functionality was added as well. We've added a configurable option to the guest page that allows guests to start a session themselves. The ability for a guest to start a session from the guest page has been a recurring request from our users. In fact, in previous versions, some of our users have been doing this ad-hoc by creating several public sessions and letting their clients join a session on their own time. Now you may accomplish this using the built-in module.

We've also reinserted the footer and placed a link in it to allow quick download of your unattended access client installer.  This can be turned on or off and is placed to be accessible but not prominent on the guest page. 

Posted by John Carey at 5:07 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | Remote Support | ScreenConnect

Expanding ScreenConnect with Extensions

While ScreenConnect is fairly extensible, and many of our users modify the app to accomplish their particular goals, we've yet to produce an environment for our users to implement and send packaged code alterations and additions. To harness and encapsulate the creativity and customization that our users are capable of, we'd be well suited to develop a mechanism to do package extensions/plugins. ScreenConnect 5.0 will be our first release to offer this as a page in the administration section. 

An extension, in this case, can be anything from an aesthetic change, 3rd party integration, to a new event trigger. In the video below, a developer shows two example extensions, both of which modify the guest page to add additional functionality. Adding a quick link on the guest page to create a session or to download your client installer could be a matter of installing and activating a plugin, much like the system WordPress and many browsers utilzie today. 

See the demonstration below: 

Posted by Jeff Bishop at 9:11 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | ScreenConnect | feature

Security Enhancements in ScreenConnect 4.4 -- Timeouts, Restricting IPs

Security is always a concern for us and our clients, and we're always asked on the forum to implement new features to enhance security. In ScreenConnect 4.4, we've rolled out the ability to use a more intelligent, granular timeout capability to reduce the chance of your site being compromised. We've also made the IP Security module included out of the box (this was an optional modification previously). This module allows admins to restrict access to certain resources (primarily the host and admin pages) to certain IPs. 

You can download the pre-release of ScreenConnect 4.4 here.  

The need: time out inactive hosts/admins to decrease the chance of those resources being compromised. In addressing this, we decided that the general, all-encompassing timeout idea wouldn't fit the the typical usage model. A higher threshold of security would probably be necessary for the admin page, depending on the user's configuration. Thus we introduce resource-specific timeouts.

In the web.config file, you can adjust a few new keys on a per-page level. Take note of "MaxLongestTicketReissueIntervalSeconds," which allows us to set, in seconds, how long the user can remain idle (including mouse activity) while on this resource (in this case, Administration.aspx):

 

 <configuration>
   <location path="Administration.aspx">
      <appSettings>
         <add key="MaxLongestTicketReissueIntervalSeconds" value="1800" />
         <add key="MinAuthenticationFactorCount" value="0" />
         <add key="RestrictToIPs" value="" />
         <add key="BlockIPs" value="" /> 
      </appSettings>
   </location>

   <location path="Host.aspx">
      [........]
   </location> 

 

As you can see, we've included other security features out of the box to give you more flexibility while protecting each resource -- restrict access to a certain page by the user's IP, blocking IPs, etc.

Posted by John Carey at 5:54 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | ScreenConnect

Reviewing Recent Additions and Improvements (Database Maintenance & more)

Though we recently released ScreenConnect version 4.3 as stable, version 4.2 brought a couple key ingredients and improvements. A database maintenance mechanism was introduced to regularly and automatically prune data stores. We also improved Mac and Linux client functionality, including the ability to reinstall/upgrade the ScreenConnect client software on those machines in a much more seamless manner. Now they, too, can be updated with a click from your Host page

Keeping your database trimmed via the new maintenance function (found by clicking the "Database" link on the Admin page) can be accomplished by selecting some (or all) of the seven cleaning tasks, telling each task how old an object must be before deletion, then setting the tasks to run at a regularly scheduled time. 

On the Mac/Linux front, we made strides improving the installation process (a new shell script installer for both) and the aforementioned reinstall process via the Host page. You can also now run them headless for the purposes of inventory and running commands. The full list can be found on the 4.2 Release Log on the Output Stream
Posted by John Carey at 10:07 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | ScreenConnect

ScreenConnect 3.1 on the Horizon

Many of you have been playing around with ScreenConnect 3.1 during February and we are very close to releasing a stable version! The new release adds many new customizations, security measures and more.

With ScreenConnect 3.1 we've met our customer demands and improved upon security by integrating two-factor authentication into the product. Additionally, one time password is now built into the out of the box (OOTB) login page.

To round out branding and give administrators more control over the experience and users, we've added new customizations. Administrators can now make infinite changes to the clients themselves including changing colors, icons, test strings and more. Additionally, administrators can choose to change the name of fields and disable select features, such as access to the toolbox or file transfer, globally or for specified users. This increases the flexibility of the host role.

For a full detailed list of ScreenConnect 3.1 features please visit our forum.

Posted by Anna Morgan at 8:10 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | Remote Support | ScreenConnect

Ubuntu Enters the Smartphone Arena

With the CES kicking off in Las Vegas next week there is much buzz around new consumer electronics. We recently got wind of Canonical's plans to release Ubuntu for smartphones. The advantage of Ubuntu running on a high-end, multi-core handset is that it becomes a full PC and thin client when docked. Canonical claims, “Ubuntu uniquely enables a new category of convergence device – phones that dock to become full PCs and thin clients – enabling enterprise IT departments to replace phones, thin clients and laptops with a single secure corporate device."

The UI relies on swipe gestures similar to Windows 8 on a tablet or Web OS, instead of a touch interface we commonly think of on a Android device or iPhone. Each edge of the phone has a distinct purpose- which makes apps, content and settings easily accessible.

Apps for the device will be native or adapted web apps - which mean all big apps will be available to Ubuntu at launch. Canonical states, “A complete desktop solution needs a full range of desktop applications. While a mobile OS carries no deep desktop software catalogue, Ubuntu offers thousands of applications, all designed for the desktop.”

Cononical has yet to land a deal on a device with a specific manufacturer but rumors suggest a device will be launched early 2014.

Posted by Anna Morgan at 10:58 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | Remote Support | ScreenConnect

ScreenConnect 3.0, Nice To Meet You

We hope our user base has had a good few weeks getting acquainted to ScreenConnect 3.0! The new changes are quite substantial and exciting. We’ve completely redesigned the UI to position for the new use model, meetings. Meetings have been a long sought after use model for much of our user base so they could collaborate with multiple participants in a conference environment. ScreenConnect meetings allow an unlimited number of guests to attend and view an individual’s screen. Such features for the host and attendees include screen capture, recording, and chat.

Additionally with the new use model comes a whole new feel and design to the ScreenConnect UI. The 3.0 release provides easier access to menus and features—a style challenge that we feel we met and what will be the future of ScreenConnect. During meetings or remote sessions hosts have readily available access to tools and menus the old interface did not provide. Please let us know your thoughts on ScreenConnect 3.0! If you have any questions you can contact our staff!

Posted by Anna Morgan at 8:10 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | Remote Support | ScreenConnect | Support

Automatically Update ScreenConnect Unattended Clients

Keeping your ScreenConnect unattended clients updated ensures new enhancements and allows you to have the best overall experience. We work hard to maintain a basic level of compatibility with older clients, but non-essential functionality is often broken either partially or completely. In ScreenConnect 2.5 we have introduced an automatic update of old clients when the server installation is updated.

In the past builds clients had to be updated independently of your ScreenConnect upgrade. You were given the option to manually update them or use the automatic update feature from the Host screen. You still have this option, but in ScreenConnect 2.5 you can opt to update your clients automatically with the server installation. With this, upon the upgrading ScreenConnect, your clients should automatically reinstall and update to the latest version.

To do this you add the below code to the appsettings section of the web.config file in the root of the ScreenConnect server program file directory.

<add key="AutoReinstallOldVersionClient" value="true" />

To check to see if an unattended client has completed an install check the session information screen of the unattended. This can be accessed by the clicking the magnifying glass next to the session from the Host screen. You should see a guest initiated reinstall-disconnected-connected series that will indicate the update has been completed.

Please note that auto-updating could in some situations have undesirable results. Someone could update the server with the incorrect build, you might be testing a pre-release version of our software, or a different situation not outlined here. In most standard situations we see this as a very useful feature. But we also see the potential for issues and we want to make sure our customers are aware of those concerns. We will continue to look at this functionality to see what sort of fail-safes can be implemented.

Posted by Anna Morgan at 7:53 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | ScreenConnect | Support