So, you’re in the market for a Remote Monitoring and Management software, and you need a checklist for success? You’re in the right place! As an MSP or an IT pro working in corporate IT, your RMM tool will help you to keep the network healthy and secure, and save you a whole ton of time accessing endpoints, gathering information and supporting end users.
Keep reading for our list of top ten items (in no particular order) that you absolutely need to consider when making this essential choice for your IT business.
Managing an IT environment means being two steps ahead. One of the main reasons to onboard RMM software is to get a proactive view of what’s happening across the network you’re monitoring, rather than waiting for customers or colleagues to reach out when a problem has already occurred.
A strong RMM tool will be able to provide a wide range of information from a single dashboard, including system resources, which users are logged in and their activity, Network and IP monitoring, SNMP monitoring, Hyper-V and SNMP-enabled devices, SQL Server, and more.
Of course, you can’t have technicians sitting and staring at a dashboard all day long. A robust RMM will allow you to set up intelligent alerts based on thresholds for the data you’re monitoring. For example, when CPU or memory drops below a certain number, your technician will receive an alert to check out what’s going on for that specific device.
With alerts that send notifications at the first sign of trouble, technicians can get on with a growing to-do list, and rest assured that they will be the first to know if something is unusual, rather than waiting for a customer or a user to let them know. Moving from a reactive methodology to a proactive one is the foundation of changing from being seen as the “fix it guy” to someone who can provide true strategic value to the business.
Ever feel like too much of your day is spent on repetitive and manual tasks? Your RMM tool should be able to take a lot of those elements of running IT off your hands, both for servers and for workstations, too. Think about rebooting and creating system restore points, deleting temporary files such as internet history, rebooting, shutting down, and checking for updates.
If all of these tasks could be handled via automation – you can focus on higher-value offerings, and you can set up tasks to happen during off hours, or for unattended devices. Suddenly, you’re spending time setting up business reviews, comparing third-party vendors to find better pricing or offerings, analyzing costs and revenues in greater detail, or anything else you can think of. Leave the manual tasks to the robots – hey they’re better at them anyway.
Complete patch management
Talking about manual work, patching is one of those tasks that can easily take up hours of your working day if left unchecked. Your RMM should be able to automate patch management, so that all patches and updates can be installed with a single click. Don’t forget to check that you can include exceptions, because you might want to give an update a miss once in a while.
While some RMM solutions will offer limited patch management options, the last thing you need is separate systems for different kinds of updates – your business needs everything to run from a single dashboard. Make sure the RMM includes updates for Windows, Microsoft Office, Driver updates, Java updates and Adobe updates, and has the ability to reboot machines if necessary to ensure the updates have taken effect and your endpoints have no security gaps.
Remote access tools
Even pre-pandemic, MSP businesses needed the ability to remotely access client devices and assets, but in today’s remote working realities, every corporate IT environment now needs remote access tools. As well as all the patch management and remote maintenance options listed above, you want to ensure there is a robust Remote Access technology in-built with your RMM, so that you can easily view, manage and make changes to user endpoints, from anywhere in the world.
At Atera for example, we integrate with AnyDesk and Splashtop, so that technicians and IT pros can give their customers and colleagues instant remote support. This is a fully secure approach to connect to remote machines, access files and applications, and even troubleshoot problems directly for less tech-savvy employees.
Full network discovery
Another must-have as an MSP is a 360 degree view of everything that’s happening with an IT environment. This is important for onboarding, as well as for spotting gaps in infrastructure, noticing Shadow IT, hardware auditing, warranty checks and a whole lot more. Asset discovery should be part and parcel of an RMM solution, often known as Network Discovery. Look for a tool that offers the ability to run scans in the background with no impact on performance, and one that covers Workgroups so you can run a scan across a Local Area Network.
In some cases, you might find added functionality that can help you add that strategic value we were discussing earlier. At Atera, our Network Discovery software is a valuable way to add upsell opportunities to your business model. After the scan is complete, you’ll get a list of all open opportunities, included in the dashboard – for example unmonitored devices, outdated disks or operating systems, that you could fix the process for, and add to your monthly services.
Powerful reporting and analytics
Next on the list – we live in the era of business intelligence. On-demand and automated reports are a great way to add legitimacy to the way you do business, whether that’s discussing gaps or progress with customers at the Quarterly Business Review, or proving the need for investment in IT projects with the c-suite at the next executive board meeting.
Set data-driven goals and KPIs, and then measure them over time with the help of reports that show system health, inventory audits, customer profitability and more. Make sure you can export these via email and PDF so they are easily shareable and usable outside of the RMM system.
Integration with PSA
Here’s a big one, so hold onto your hats. When your RMM is feature-rich, that’s going to save you hours in the day on manual monitoring and management. However, when you can integrate your RMM with Professional Services Automation, and link your RMM functionality with Helpdesk software, customer portal and more – you’ve stumbled upon something extremely powerful.
AI is one great example of how it works at Atera. Your customer or colleague sends a ticket to your helpdesk that explains a problem they are having with their credentials for a specific software application. It arrives in the system at 5.06pm, when your dispatcher has already logged off for the evening. However, AI never sleeps. Automatically, your system recognizes the name of the software, and automatically routes it to the right technician to handle the password reset. This can only occur with a tight integration between PSA and RMM.
Tight coupling with billing and reporting
This integration also allows you to stay on top of invoice management, especially if you’re running your own IT consultancy business. Look for a solution where timesheets can be automatically generated from the ticketing system, integrating with your Service Level Agreements, giving you a more accurate view of the way you do business. An extra perk would be automatic or one click invoice generation, which reduces what was previously a whole day of invoicing down to a matter of minutes.
The same is true for reporting. Make sure that the PSA and RMM also integrates in terms of your reports, so that you can start analyzing the relationship between your service and its response. One example could be identifying high-maintenance customers who generate the highest number of alerts.
A disruptive pricing model
Despite looking for so much functionality from a single RMM tool, you can’t afford to have a system that breaks the bank. Traditionally, the more users or customers you need to monitor and manage, the more expensive a system is going to get. But, is that fair? Should you be punished for your own success?
Instead, look for an RMM that prices its functionality in a different way, like Atera’s per-technician pricing. That means you pay for each technician rather than each endpoint, and a single technician can monitor an unlimited number of endpoints. You can pass those pricing benefits on to your own customers, so that they can agree to having all of their endpoints monitored, ensuring better security and control without that impacting their bottom line. You get more visibility and control without gaps, and your customers think you’re the bee’s knees.