What is Remote Access Connection Manager? (RasMan)
If a Windows computer connects to the internet via VPN or (unlikely these days) dial-up, there’s a good chance it does so using the Remote Access Connection Manager. The application is useful for creating secure connections to remote servers and other resources, helping users gain access to critical files and applications. If it is disabled or there are other issues with it, users will not be able to connect remotely using VPN. So it’s critical to understand how it works.
Many organizations with Windows devices use Remote Access Connection Manager for their VPN connections to remote access servers (RAS), but there are other options available with the same function.
This article will go over the value of Remote Access Connection Manager, its features and purpose, as well as potential alternative options and why you would want to use them.
What is Remote Access Connection Manager?
The Remote Access Connection Manager application configures and manages a secure connection to a remote server over a public or private network using VPN or dial-up. Users simply select a connection in the Network Connection and click on it. The service sends a connection request and then manages the process of negotiating with the remote server, including managing authentication and security protocols.
While dial-up is no longer a common method for connecting to the Internet or remote networks, VPN is. A VPN allows remote users to securely access the server or network of a company or other organization to view or download files or access other internal resources. Some people also use a VPN connection to keep their internet search and other online activities private and concealed from their ISP.
The question at this point may be whether or not you need Remote Access Connection Manager. If you use it for remote access and you don’t want to go to the trouble of configuring it every time you want to connect, yes.
The service is inactive when no requests are pending, but is still functional in the Windows background for when it is needed. You can also look it up in the Network Connections folder to see the status. If it’s using too many system resources, it can easily be disabled. However, this will make both incoming connections as well as approving incoming connection requests impossible until it is set up again. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep the Remote Access Connection Manager service operational as long as a VPN is being used for remote access.
The purpose of Remote Access Connection Manager
The purpose of the Remote Access Connection Manager is pretty simple: it offers a user-friendly way of establishing and managing connections between a Windows device and a remote network over VPN or dial-up. Consequently, it enables users to connect to networks from anywhere.
Now that remote work is becoming more common, a remote access to auto connection manager is critical for organizations that have a distributed workforce, but still need to ensure the same level of security that they have in their physical offices.
Remote Access Connection Manager service is also useful for IT teams to manage multiple remote desktop connections. By organizing servers into groups that are represented as sets of thumbnails, admins can efficiently oversee network connections as a whole as well as easily check on each device.
Remote access can also be used by organizations that offer remote services or resources to the public, such as libraries and research institutions, along with software vendors that need to access customers’ internal networks for installations, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
However, sometimes the reality of having so many users with access can often present a significant security challenge. Remote Access Connection Manager’s baseline features may not be enough to adequately secure an entire organization. Connectwise Control Remote Workforce can help your team get the remote access they need to work effectively. Here is a guide on how you can use this solution to help workers connect.
Remote Access Connection Manager features
By providing a convenient and streamlined method for connecting to remote servers, Remote Access Connection Manager helps users access the files and applications they need. A few of its features include:
- Connection control and management. The Remote Access Connection Manager service simplifies the connection process, doing away with the need for manual commands to establish, configure and end connections.
- Security and authentication. The application uses various protocols — including Password Authentication Protocol (PAP), Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP), and Microsoft Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (MS-CHAP) — to make sure connections are being initiated by authorized users only, protecting network servers and the data on them from being accessed by cybercriminals. Note that if you want features like AES-256 encryption and two-factor authentication, though, you may need to look into an alternative option.
- Multiple remote access protocols. You can use different protocols for remote access, offering users the ability to select the one that works best for their needs. These protocols include RDP (remote desktop), PPP (point-to-point protocol), and PPTP (point-to-point tunneling protocol).
- Network traffic management. The application efficiently routes data to optimize traffic and can direct traffic based on user-defined priorities.
Together these features offer users the confidence that their connections will be secure and efficient, as well as the flexibility to set them up according to their preferences and technology requirements.
How to setup Remote Access Connection Manager
Setting up the application isn’t terribly complicated. It can be done in just a few steps. Note that this process is a basic summary and assumes that the remote server is already configured to accept remote connections.
- Set up the client device. On the client machine, go to the Control panel and open the Network and Sharing Center to access network settings. Click on “Set up a new connection or network,” then click on “Connect to a workplace.” When prompted, enter the server’s IP address and hostname, as well as the username and password.
- Configure Remote Access Connection Manager. On the client device, go to the Control Panel, open the Services app and find the Remote Access Connection Manager service. Go to Properties and change the startup type to “Automatic,” You might have to configure other settings depending on the type of client device, the network you are connecting to, and other factors.
- Test the connection. Use the Remote Access Connection Manager service to connect to the remote network. Once connected, you should be able to access files, systems, and other resources on the network. If not, you’ll need to do some troubleshooting or check the documentation or guidelines for the network setup.
If you’re asking, “Can I disable Remote Access Connection Manager?” the answer is yes. But unless you desperately need those system resources, it’s best to keep it running in the background to make speedy connections.
How does Remote Access Connection Manager help your organization?
Providing employees with a way to work from home or from a remote office by using Remote Access Connection Manager provides a host of benefits to all types of organizations.
- Greater productivity and efficiency. By securely connecting employees to the organization’s network so they can work from anywhere, Remote Access Connection Manager helps employees save time and energy (and money!) they would spend commuting to an office. Remote access also lets them work when they are most productive instead of forcing everyone on the same 9 to 5 schedule.
- Enhanced recruitment and talent acquisition. Many workers today greatly prefer employers who offer the option to work from home at least part of the time — some won’t consider a job that doesn’t. By providing the ability to work remotely, Remote Access Connection Manager helps organizations make themselves more attractive to candidates, while expanding their talent pool.
- Collaboration. Remote Access Connection Manager empowers employees to work together on projects no matter where they are located.
- Lower overhead. When employees don’t need to work in a physical office because they can access resources remotely, this remote access service helps organizations save on expenses for office space, equipment, and business travel.
- Agility and flexibility. Employers can use Remote Access Connection Manager to quickly adjust to a changing business landscape and scale operations by hiring more remote employees.
- Remote IT support. Remote Access Connection Manager service also enables members of the IT team to diagnose issues and sometimes even repair equipment by accessing the client machine remotely. It can also help organizations put a 24-hour team in place to prevent employees from facing downtime due to technical issues.
All of these benefits that Remote Access Connection Manager supports can help organizations participate and compete in a marketplace that is increasingly interconnected, global, and digital.
Alternatives To Remote Access Connection Manager
While the list of features above is appealing, there are still some areas where RasMan can fall short. For example, remote access for a distributed workforce or a large customer base can present significant security concerns. Microsoft has baseline security measures in place, but your organization may require something more stringent for compliance reasons.
Another issue is that RasMan only works for Microsoft systems, so you will need an alternative if you want something compatible with macOS, ChromeOS, and Linux/Unix/*nix operating systems.
Organizations of all sizes need to manage and oversee remote access to act quickly on threats and ensure their systems and data are safe from breaches. Remote workers can use Connectwise Control Remote Workforce to securely connect to a remote machine. Connect to or from Windows, Mac or Linux machines.