ISL Online review: Simplicity itself
This hosted service offers tight access security and great mobile support – and it’s easy to manage too
With ISL Online, simplicity is the name of the game. It’s a web-based service that’s geared up for helping technicians quickly and easily establish on-demand support sessions with remote workers, or set client computers up for secure unattended access.
The online portal is a tidy affair. To start a new session, just select the remote support tab, then click to download the ISL Light app. You can now choose whether you want to view the remote desktop, share your own screen or just have a text chat. Whichever you pick, the app provides a unique eight-digit code, and offers multiple convenient options for conveying it to a remote user. The quickest is to email a web link directly from the app’s interface, but the app can also open your local email program with a new email ready and waiting – or you can pass the code onto the user in some other way, and ask them to enter it at the main ISL Online website.
Once the user has provided the code, the ISL Light app is installed on their system and the session begins. A bar at the top of the technician’s console offers a wealth of support features: you can share your own screen, send files to a specified folder on the remote system, ask the user to send files back, record the session for posterity or use the drawing tool or pointer to highlight areas of interest.
If you enable the console’s administrative mode you’ll also have access to a restart-and-resume function, which lets you reboot the remote system and regain control once it’s loaded up again. From the web portal or the console you can even transfer the session to another technician and invite others to join in.
Unattended access is just as easily set up, by generating a unique invitation from the portal’s remote-access tab; this contains a link that installs the ISL AlwaysOn app preconfigured for your account.
Security is reassuringly tight. After installing the agent under both Windows 10 and macOS, we were required to secure access with a strong global password; technicians must provide this to connect, or users can create a one-time password that’s only valid for a single session. Even once someone’s connected, the remote user remains in charge – a status bar at the top of their screen provides options to stop sharing or revoke remote access at any time.
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The security of the cloud portal can also be enhanced by enabling 2FA. There are several options here: you can use an authenticator app, a security key or a code sent to your mobile. We opted to use Microsoft Authenticator and the portal provided a QR code for convenient scanning into the app.
Indeed, support for mobile devices is outstanding all round. The free iOS and Android apps can be used by technicians to access their accounts and provide support on the move; end users can use the client apps to give view-only access to technicians if they’re having problems with their phone or tablet.
We tested this on an iPad. When logged in as a technician, we had no problem starting on-demand support sessions and connecting to always-on clients. As a user, we were able to join an on-demand session with a few taps, and to broadcast our screen contents to the technician.
ISL Online isn’t just easy to use – it’s affordable too, with a basic pay-per-use contract starting at £70 for 500 minutes of unrestricted usage. The Cloud licensing model starts at £259 per year for one active session, with an extra licence required for each additional simultaneous session. If that sounds a little complicated, worry not: the company even provides an online tutorial explaining the differences.
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