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Is your IT department or organization on the challenging quest to find the perfect remote monitoring and management (RMM) software for your specific needs? If so, you are probably considering a variety of different implementation options. 

As you begin to examine each option and make a decision between on-premise vs. cloud RMM software, it is essential to build a deep understanding of the differences between these two options and the factors you’ll want to consider in your decision-making process. 

In this article, we’ll cover the pros and cons of both options so that you can make an informed decision.

The importance of strong RMM solutions

Strong RMM, or remote monitoring and management, solutions are crucial for businesses in today’s digital landscape. Many different vendors offer RMM solutions that allow users to remotely manage servers, desktops, and mobile devices within their networks. It is an essential tool for both IT departments and managed service providers, or MSPs. 

Here are just some of the reasons they’re critical for IT professionals:

1. Proactive monitoring: RMM solutions enable businesses to monitor their IT systems, networks, and devices in real-time. This allows them to identify and address potential issues before they turn into major problems. Proactive monitoring helps minimize downtime, improve system performance, and enhance overall productivity.

2. Enhanced security: RMM solutions provide robust security features, such as real-time monitoring for security threats, vulnerability assessments, and patch management. These tools help businesses identify and respond to security risks promptly, protecting sensitive data and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

3. Centralized management: RMM solutions offer centralized management capabilities, allowing businesses to efficiently manage and control their IT infrastructure from a single console. This simplifies IT operations, reduces manual tasks, and improves efficiency. IT administrators can remotely monitor and manage multiple devices, networks, and endpoints, saving time and resources.

4. Remote access and support: RMM solutions enable remote access to systems and devices, allowing IT teams to troubleshoot and resolve issues without being physically present. This remote access capability saves time and reduces costs associated with onsite visits. It also enables faster problem resolution, minimizing downtime and improving customer satisfaction.

What’s in an RMM platform?

What does a good RMM solution entail? The best RMM on the market offer a wide range of features that give users full network visibility and control, transforming IT management from reactive to proactive with a comprehensive, all-in-one solution. 

You can expect a broad collection of features, including offerings like real-time monitoring and alerts, IT automation, patch management, advanced remote maintenance, strong integrations, asset inventory, reporting and analytics, documentation, and more – all in one feature-rich tool. 

Now, as you explore the numerous vendors offering RMM solutions, you need to determine what features are most important to you and your team. But before you start thinking about features, you will want to decide if you are going to opt for on premise RMM or cloud-based. Let’s break down the differences between these options. 

What is cloud-based RMM?

As we begin discussing the ins and outs of cloud-based RMM solutions vs. on-premise RMM solutions, it’s important to establish a baseline agreement around what each of these terms means. 

While you may be familiar with the basic definitions of cloud-based vs. on-premise remote monitoring and management software, many users have more familiarity with one or the other – which can lead to inherent biases in decision making. 

What’s the solution? It’s easy: We’ll begin by sharing a brief overview of what each term means so that you can level the scales before you begin this journey. First up, let’s talk about cloud-based RMM. 

Cloud RMM is, in short, a cloud-based solution enabling real-time, remote monitoring and management of your IT infrastructure. Cloud-based solutions often fall under the category of SaaS, or “software as a service.” 

Accessing applications over the internet is the key differentiator between cloud-based and on-premise solutions. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it online, meaning you are largely free from hardware management and can access it from pretty much everywhere!  

When it comes to RMM solutions, cloud-based options facilitate the oversight of systems and devices from anywhere in the world (that is, anywhere with an internet connection) and offer features like performance tracking, security alerts, and troubleshooting. These solutions enhance operational efficiency while reducing the need for physical maintenance on site.

What is on-premise RMM?

RMM on-premise is the opposite of cloud-based RMM, so to speak. On-premises software is often referred to as “on-prem” or “on-premise.” Unlike cloud-based RMM options, on-premise RMM solutions are downloaded, installed, and run on devices on the premises (hence its name) of the organization or person using the product. 

While cloud-based products are hosted remotely, on-premise software is hosted in-house. These legacy RMM solutions run through RMM agents that are installed locally on devices, hardware, and machines. 

These agents then collect data, which they transmit to a central monitoring system – also located on the premises. Admins can then receive alerts and go about the resulting activities: troubleshooting, updating, managing performance, and handling security. 

Historically, on-premise software has been considered a more secure option, as local data storage was thought to afford users a greater degree of control. However, this has been largely disproven in recent years, leading to a new wave of popularity for cloud-based software in IT organizations and departments worldwide. 

Evaluating cloud-based vs. on-premise RMM solutions

It’s time to decide whether you need self-hosted RMM or cloud-based RMM. In order to make the best decision possible, we highly recommend developing a well-rounded understanding of each option. For that reason, we will assess the RMM benefits of cloud-based vs. on-premise so that you can find all that you need to know on one convenient page. 

Accessibility and implementation

Cloud RMM: Implementation is relatively simple with cloud-based RMMs – that is, once you have chosen the right platform. (Have you considered Atera?) Because the application is hosted online, you don’t have to worry about installing software, managing upgrades and new releases, or managing a server. This eliminates a lot of challenges and lessens the learning curve when you are first getting started with a new RMM tool. 

On-premise RMM: Compared with cloud-based monitoring systems, implementing RMM software on-premise can be a lengthy process. That’s because your organization will have to procure certain hardware to facilitate hosting. 

Plus, accessibility might become an issue. On-premise RMM solutions have less flexibility, as the application can’t be accessed away from company property – in other words, the “remote” in RMM becomes much less compelling. 

Cost comparisons

Cloud RMM: Cloud-based monitoring systems are attractive to many organizations due to their lower entry costs. Subscription models in cloud RMM solutions are popular, so upfront costs will often be minimal and you will pay a fixed amount for your subscription each month. 

Plus, pricing here can be transparent and reasonable if you find the right platform. For instance, Atera’s cloud-based, AI-powered IT software uses a disruptive pay-per-technician RMM pricing model (which starts at just $99/month!) that is well-suited for any stage in your company’s growth and scalability journey. 

On-premise RMM: More often than not, IT departments face higher costs when getting started with RMM software on-premise. Why? On-premise RMM solutions can be pricey to set up and implement. While ongoing maintenance costs may be low, in-house solutions often require expanded IT infrastructure – plus, those hardware updates add up over time. 

Growth and scaling

Cloud RMM: Most cloud-based RMM solutions are optimized for growth and scalability, so they can meet your business where you are and grow with you. This is attributable to the various license types and subscription models available. It’s typically easy to add additional users, bandwidth, licenses, capabilities, or servers.

On-premise RMM: With in-house hardware and on-premise RMM, there is a lot more investment in terms of both time and money to expand or scale back the software offerings. On the flip side, however, self-hosted RMM software can offer more opportunities for customization. That said, if your business is in a rapid growth period, it probably makes more sense to opt for a cloud-based solution that can more easily grow with you.

Maintenance and support

Cloud RMM: Since cloud-based RMM solutions are hosted externally, users are not tasked with application maintenance or support. Instead, the vendor will be the one who takes care of patches and updates to ensure optimal functionality. Many cloud-based RMM products also have large online communities and knowledge bases to help users troubleshoot should something go wrong. For instance, Atera’s online community has been praised by users as an excellent place to get help and collaborate with other clients who have faced similar issues. 

On-premise RMM: Maintenance and support for on-premise RMM solutions are typically handled by an in-house team. That’s because this is self-hosted RMM software, so there is no third party to ensure the solution functions smoothly. Ensuring you have the appropriate IT assets to handle these tasks is crucial to success with on-premise RMM. 

Security and compliance

Cloud RMM: On-premise RMM software was once considered to be the best choice for vulnerability management and security – but that misconception has been disproven. Storing data in cloud-based applications is no riskier than storing it on the premises. Most cloud-based vendors have top-tier security integrations to protect client data (and in turn, their reputations). Your company should always double-check and ensure all compliance requirements are met. 

Atera’s cloud-based platform is HIPAA compliant, SOC 2 certified, and more, so you know it’s reliable and secure. 

On-premise RMM: Ensuring proper cybersecurity measures is a major part of any IT job. With on-premise RMM that is hosted internally, you must create your own security walls and barriers, possess deep compliance knowledge, and be able to detect potential malevolent actors before damage takes place. If you don’t have the resources to support security, you might prefer a cloud-based solution with these capabilities built in automatically.

Read more about Saas vs. on-premise software

Choose the best option for you: cloud RMM vs. on-premise RMM

As you evaluate cloud-based and on-premise RMM software, keep in mind the implementation requirements, accessibility, budgetary concerns, scalability, maintenance, and security. Often, the right choice for a group depends on its resources and internal capabilities in these areas. 

For us, cloud-based RMM takes the cake – and that’s why we built Atera to be a fully cloud-based RMM software. Our price point, flexibility in terms of growth and scale, the maintenance and support that we can provide for our customers, and the secure data housing that we can provide… all of these things come together to make Atera stand out from our fellow cloud-based RMM competitors. 

But don’t just take our word for it! Try Atera for free, no credit card required! 

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