June 11th, 2021 Read Time: 9 minutes
Justin Sheil is the Content Marketing Manager at Electric. He has 5+ years experience writing about a wide range of technology topics. As part of his role at Electric, he currently functions as the head of the company’s Research & Insights division.
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In the wake of the pandemic, many organizations are turning to remote and hybrid workforces. But the switch to these models makes conventional IT solutions a big challenge to many organizations.
Maintenance solutions and tech support that keep modern workforces operational have also been forced to become remote and distributed. This is where Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools come into the picture.
Remote Monitoring and Management (or RMM) and it refers to remote monitoring software or network management tools used by managed IT service providers (MSPs) to proactively and remotely manage their clients' networks, computers, and endpoints. Sometimes you may hear it referred to as remote IT management.
Managed Service Providers use RMM to manage and monitor their clients' IT systems without ever setting foot on their premises through locally installed agents. With the increase in the trend of remote working, the demand for MSPs to use more monitoring solutions is likely to increase. GlobeNewswire projects that the remote monitoring software market may reach $1,396.2 Million by 2027.
The primary function of RMM software is to help MSPs to monitor their clients' systems remotely. They manage to do so by having agents (small software footprints) locally installed on the clients' systems. These agents are designed to get real-time insights into the health of their clients' systems. The information gathered through these agents is what they count on to manage and update their clients' systems.
Here are a few of the things RMM software does:
Gathering data about a client's software, hardware, or network.
Monitoring multiple clients endpoints concurrently.
Sending the collected information back to the MSP.
Creating alerts and tickets when issues arise.
Automating and scheduling routine maintenance tasks.
Your IT department may also leverage RMM to manage various endpoints, improve customer experience, automate certain tasks, and more. If used internally, RMM software is better referred to as network monitoring software or endpoint management software. It is the same tool, only that it is more appropriate to refer to it as network monitoring software as it is now used internally—not remotely by MSPs.
Deploying RMM starts by locally installing an agent on the client's workstations, servers, systems, or mobile devices. The MSP can do this remotely or have one of their experts come to your office to install the agent.
Once installed, the agent helps the MSP gather insights into your network. That is possible because the agent collects your device's data and sends it back to the MSP in the form of an alert (commonly referred to as a ticket). Often, tickets created by RMM agents are grouped based on the type of problems detected and their severity.
The information collected by the agent includes machine health, machine status, and more. With this information, your MSP can comfortably manage your systems, solve issues, configure, and update them anytime they feel it is necessary.
There are many benefits RMM software offers, and businesses of all sizes can leverage them to run operations more seamlessly. These benefits include:
Real-time monitoring: RMM software keeps an eye on your system round the clock, making it possible to monitor your network and alert you if any issue arises. Think of an RMM as a third powerful eye that never tires to monitor your systems.
Helps fix problems on time: You may not have the luxury of time to monitor your system all the time and fix issues as they are detected. A good RMM software helps you fix them immediately after they are detected by sending specific alerts.
Provide first-class insights: RMM software ensures you have any finer details you need about your system. That way, you and your MSP will be in a better position to make decisions regarding your system. RMM can be configured to send specific information about your system.
Remote access: Site visits come with an additional cost. RMM can help keep additional costs low by ensuring your MSP only appears physically at your premise only when necessary. The remote access RMM offers is sufficient to monitor and manage your network or system.
Improved services: Downtime due to system failure can be very costly to your business. Stop for a second and think about what could happen when your system fails during peak hours. RMM software comes in handy here by proactively helping detect potential issues and sending alerts on the same. That gives you a chance to have them fixed even before they strike and hurt your performance.
Help extend the life of your devices: Having your car inspected frequently increases the number of years you can have it in good shape. It is the same thing with the IT systems you are using. When taken good care of, they can serve you for a longer period. RMM software ensures you solve system issues before they strike by alerting you of potential threats.
Customer satisfaction and loyalty increased: Your systems must be functioning optimally to guarantee the best customer experience and keep them around for long. That can't happen if now, and then you are fixing your system. You need your system to be up and running all the time to offer a better customer experience every day.
Saves you valuable time: You will need more time to fix a problem once it arises than you would if you got notice of it before it happened. The proactive capabilities of RMM software ensure you spend the least amount of time correcting any IT-related issue.
Automation: Routine tasks such as daily backups are very tiring. RMM software can be configured to perform such tasks without any human intervention.
But it's important to know that not all RMM tools are created equal, and there are several considerations you should make before choosing the right one for your business.
Here are 8 top tips to help you settle on the best RMM software:
With 1 out of every 4 Americans expected to work remotely in 2021, security has never been so critical. Working remotely poses many potential security loopholes, ranging from the increased number of endpoints to wireless networks.
Cybercriminals are constantly targeting these networks in the hope of breaching them and deploying ransomware, holding them hostage. You need an RMM tool that allows continuous security management to keep your networks and devices safe from malicious attacks.
Since RMM isn't a one-size-fits-all affair, it's important to find out beforehand how the tool would integrate with your client's resources and infrastructure. This will require you to identify all the devices in the target network, determine how they work, and identify user groups.
The next step is to help your clients upgrade their devices and software as necessary, and to ensure they are compatible with your RMM software. The update needs to take into account how each device will be used, as well as the user.
Before choosing your preferred RMM software solution, you will want to make sure the vendor provides enough post-implementation support. As with any new software, you can't be too sure of its seamless integration with your infrastructure, and anything can go wrong.
You may want to look for an RMM provider with a proven track record in your specific markets. See if they have any referrals or positive feedback from their past and existing clients. If they have any active user community, go for them.
Your client base is likely to have varying levels of comfort with the concept of remote monitoring. Some may readily accept it, while others may have their reservations. It's important to choose an RMM tool with flexibility that takes into account a wide range of client preferences.
One way to allay fears over remote monitoring is by ensuring you have the appropriate licensing. Let your clients know you are complying with the guidelines of remote monitoring, as well as data security and privacy concerns.
Choose an RMM tool with monitoring and reporting capabilities. The system should be able to monitor devices on a continuous basis and be sure to identify potential security risks and efficiency issues. This means that they should operate round-the-clock for increased efficiency.
But monitoring devices on an ongoing basis won't be enough with the ability to make reports. You need an RMM software solution with the ability to monitor and report issues to your MSP for appropriate action.
There is a rising concern among many businesses today regarding the management of security and quality on mobile devices. A reliable and efficient RMM provider should account for all mobile devices used for business operations.
This ability makes it possible for you to keep all devices updated and secure. Your clients will have full confidence in your ability to provide reliable and secure services and provide continuous demand for your services. Choose an RMM tool that makes mobile device management easy, and achievable without too much hassle.
Many businesses change in size and scope over time, and it's essential that you choose an RMM tool capable of providing services at scale. You also need to have specific protocols and touchpoints in place to make the transition seamless.
The RMM software solution you choose should be able to maintain consistency in monitoring quality regardless of the changes in the size of your client business. This means that you should be ready for an increase or decrease in the number of client devices, or a change in their functions.
If your MSP already has a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool in place, you will need an RMM software that can work in concert with the PSA. Be sure your provider has a proven integration with the PSA to prevent disruptions to your business during deployment. A streamlined integration will also be quite helpful in improving ticket resolution efficiency.
When shopping for the right RMM tool for your MSP, keep in mind that RMM tools aren't the same. You need one that fits into your business and can meet the needs of your clients. Choose an RMM tool that allows easy device management, continuous monitoring, and reporting, and has room for scalability.
Whether you manage your IT systems internally or you outsource them, we can partner with you and help take the time-consuming work off your plate so that you can focus on other core functions of your business. We have a system designed to help you manage your endpoints or those of your clients comfortably from any location.
Schedule a demo today to learn more about how partnership with Electric can benefit your business. One of our experts will be waiting to answer any questions you may have.