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Consider a medium-to-large enterprise company. It will have hundreds or more likely thousands of employees. Each employee has multiple devices, possibly connecting to several different systems and networks. The average enterprise device has 67 apps installed

That’s a lot of devices and software to manage. 

Device management is a critical function of IT departments, and it can be a massive headache too, especially when making changes to the company’s infrastructure or setting up a new IT infrastructure from scratch. 

That’s when the question arises: is your organization best served by an RMM or MDM solution?

Before trying to answer, let’s explore what these acronyms mean.

What is RMM?

RMM, or “remote monitoring and management”, is a process that IT departments undertake to manage and monitor client endpoints, including computers, mobile devices, networks, and systems, via remote channels. RMM software gives IT teams the ability to keep a constant eye on their organization’s device and network infrastructure from anywhere via an internet connection. It also enables IT technicians to proactively maintain and protect client endpoints without being physically present. 

Whether on-premise or cloud-based, the importance of RMM boils down to a few key points. Firstly, a strong RMM solution makes maintaining networks, servers, and endpoints much easier. With features like automated patch management and real-time monitoring and alerts, effective RMM software provides a one-stop destination covering many daily tasks of the IT department. 

Secondly, keeping systems and devices patched and updated is critical for security. RMM software can help boost the organization’s cybersecurity posture with extra efficiency. 

Yet not all RMM solutions are created equal. In fact, choosing an RMM software that doesn’t meet the needs of your organization can result in inefficiencies at best and cybersecurity vulnerabilities at worst. 

What is MDM?

MDM or “mobile device management” software enables IT departments to regulate, automate, and secure information on mobile devices managed by the organization. This includes computers, laptops, tablets, and cellphones. The management, restriction, and compliance capabilities of MDM tools make IT administrators’ lives much easier by consolidating critical device information and management functions in one centralized place. 

However, MDM solutions are somewhat limited. They are made for managing devices and not much else. RMM solutions, on the other hand, typically come with a more extensive set of capabilities. With network and system monitoring available, RMM solutions generally do all the same tasks that MDM solutions perform and then some. 

RMM vs. MDM: How do they compare?

RMM and MDM solutions share a common goal: to make device management easier for IT professionals. Likewise, both of them accomplish this goal remotely — with an RMM or MDM, the IT team does not need to physically handle the device to do their work.  

However, RMM solutions tend to have much broader capabilities, and in many cases, an RMM can replace an MDM — but not the other way around. A strong RMM software will be incredibly feature-rich, providing a comprehensive solution that addresses multiple IT needs in one ‘package’. 

For instance, Atera’s RMM solution provides smart automation, an automated patch management, robust reporting and analytics, activity logs, custom assets, documentation, and even AI integrations. While MDMs do have more targeted capabilities for mobile devices, RMMs offer remote maintenance and management at an advanced level that does not compare. 

Top RMM advantages

To gain a better understanding of all that RMM solutions have to offer, let’s dive into the key features and benefits: 

Remote access to the whole network: RMM programs give IT technicians remote access to computers, devices, and other endpoints as well as holistic network access, while MDM solutions focus on mobile devices only. 

Increase efficiency of IT departments: RMM enables IT teams to manage the health and performance of all the system’s endpoints remotely and automatically. IT employees do not need to be present physically in order to fix a wide range of problems, so workflows are faster and smoother. RMM software also helps you predict lapses, lessen downtime, and take proactive steps to resolve issues before they happen. 

IT automations: Modern RMM systems like Atera also include plenty of IT automations that take care of rote day-to-day tasks, freeing up your IT staff to focus on more complex issues and problems that require critical thinking. With custom thresholds, Atera’s RMM software can take action automatically without even having to involve a technician.

Asset and inventory scanning: The best RMM solutions on the market offer advanced asset and inventory scanning so you get a better overview of the big picture of your IT ecosystem. Via intuitive dashboards and displays, you can accurately assess the current state of your network and devices, making you better positioned to determine your overall IT strategy. 

Reporting and analytics: Robust IT documentation and reporting capabilities make it easier to replicate good work — plus, you will have the chance to demonstrate the business value of your IT team. While IT departments often complete behind-the-scenes work that goes unnoticed, analytics and reporting of your activities and outcomes give you the data to back up your success and present to company leadership when you are negotiating for budget and resources.  

RMM solutions come with outstanding benefits for IT departments that want to become more efficient, scale their activities, and accurately report on KPIs. While RMM tools may need a larger upfront investment than MDM, their extended capabilities and added value makes the higher-price tag worth it. 

Top MDM advantages

MDM solutions are designed to ensure privacy, security, and functionality for users of mobile devices within an organization, including laptops, cellphones, and tablets. MDM solutions usually come with capabilities such as device tracking, application management, policy control, data security, configuration profiles, and patch management.

While these are certainly necessary and beneficial, the reality is that today’s RMM solutions can do all of that and much more. MDM solutions are built exclusively for mobile devices whereas RMM solutions include a wider range of capabilities for non-‘mobile’ systems and devices, including network and system monitoring. 

MDM solutions have typically been more security-focused than RMM software. However, in today’s network discovery landscape, that is changing. Many RMM software providers, including Atera, are now making cybersecurity and vulnerability management top priorities too. 

Are MDM solutions pricey?

MDM solutions can be expensive, especially for users with a large number of mobile endpoints. Innovative RMM pricing models are bridging the gap, making the argument in favor of RMM solutions even more compelling. With a pay-per-technician model, Atera’s RMM pricing begins at an accessible $99/month, per technician. 

This type of pricing model makes it even easier for organizations to grow and scale their RMM software solution with Atera. By paying per technician instead of per end user or device, companies in the growth stage can scale quickly without facing heavy cost increases for their RMM operations. 

RMM vs. MDM at a glance

If all the above is TL;DR, take a quick look at this overview to understand the key differences between MDM vs. RMM solutions: 

CapabilitiesRMMMDM
Device monitoringYesYes
Network and system monitoringYesNo
Automatically launch scriptsYesNo
BYOD managementNoYes
Remote access to devicesYesYes
IT automationYesNo
Smart AI integrationsYesNo
Pay-per-technician pricingYesNo
Patch managementYesNo

How to choose RMM vs. MDM

While RMM vs. MDM solutions share some features, there are key differences that can have a big impact on the choice for your organization. That’s why you should start the decision-making process with a comprehensive audit on your IT department’s needs. This will give you a stronger understanding of what capabilities and features are a priority for you. 

Now that you know which key features you are looking for, you can start exploring the different solutions on the market, and which ones fit the bill. Consider whether an MDM vs. RMM solution matches your priority list. Does it have the capabilities to improve your IT efficiency for your IT department make your day-to-day workflows easier, and help your IT organization and business grow? And, of course, the all-important question, does it fit your budget?

MDM vs. RMM? That is the question…

Although MDM has its uses, for most organizations, a solid RMM solution is the best option for getting all the IT management capabilities you need in a convenient, one-stop software. As you consider your IT budget, and your IT team’s needs and priorities, look out for an RMM product that is customizable, comprehensive, and affordable. The ideal RMM tool is definitely out there!

Want to learn more about Atera’s RMM capabilities and best-in-class pricing model? Start a free trial or reach out to our sales team, even today. 

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