The growing trend of remote work and working-from-home, especially in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, has made conventional IT solutions challenging for many organizations. As workforces become remote and distributed, so too must the tech support and maintenance solutions that keep modern workforces operational.
RMM (remote monitoring management) tools help IT MSPs (managed service providers) manage businesses’ network infrastructure and endpoints. RMM software solutions can be a valuable complement or even upgrade to your existing IT services, as they can identify, report, and rectify any issues, update security protocols, and automate regular network processes and updates — all remotely. The use of a RMM concept can free up time and energy for your IT team to handle tasks that need direct, internal management; the right RMM solution can also help you grow, take on more support tasks, and provide support to larger teams without exploding costs and infrastructure needs.
However, it is important to keep in mind that not all RMM tools are created equal, and there are several elements you should consider before committing to an RMM service for your business.
Seamless Onboarding and Integration
An RMM system should offer a comprehensive onboarding and integration process, which identifies an organization’s resources and needs before a contract is ever signed. RMM is not a one-size-fits-all tool, and therefore these factors need to be considered early on if your RMM services are going to be effective. The first step in the process will be to identify all of the relevant devices in the target network, determine each device’s type and function, and identify user groups.
Once you have officially established your relationship, you should next take steps to help clients upgrade devices and software as necessary, to ensure that they are compatible with the RMM software. These updates should not only take the hardware and software itself into account, but also the usage of each device and who uses it. For example, the devices and software used by administrative assistants will typically have different needs than those used by web developers.
Ongoing security management and updates are some of the most valuable benefits of RMM tools. Because the tactics of malicious online entities are constantly evolving, the cybersecurity landscape has to constantly evolve along with them.
Through the use of RMM tools, a business can benefit from ongoing security updates as new threats are identified. This software also empowers MSPs to identify and monitor any suspicious activity taking place on the network. Before setting the terms of an RMM service agreement, you should ensure that you offer comprehensive security monitoring and updates specific to the needs of all users and industries you will support.
Management of Mobile Devices
In the modern-day, a rising concern for many businesses is how to manage security and quality on mobile devices used for business operations. An effective RMM provider will account for all devices used for business operations, and that includes mobile devices. This allows them to ensure that mobile devices are updated and secure.
Continuous Monitoring and Reporting
An integral part of an RMM software solution is its monitoring capabilities. An RMM system should monitor devices on an ongoing basis, and be capable of identifying security risks and efficiency issues. The system then should report these issues to the MSP or any relevant internal touchpoints, so that the issue can be resolved.
Scalability and Deployment
Most businesses change in size over time, and therefore it is important that your RMM software can provide services at scale on a shifting basis. Furthermore, you should have specific touchpoints and protocols in place to make this transition as simple and efficient as possible. The ability to maintain consistent monitoring quality throughout the system is a key component of RMM, and therefore, you should be prepared to manage an increase in devices or changes in device functions.
One of the best options for achieving this flexible scalability is by using an RMM software solution that is priced per technician seat — rather than having to pay for each device that will be monitored. This allows a smaller tech team to more easily install the RMM software on client devices at no additional cost, making the distribution of resources more efficient and allowing teams to adopt larger clients at an affordable rate.
Automated Software Patch Management and Updates
Effective RMM software should not only offer regular security updates, but also regular quality updates for the system, such as helpful patches. This can help manage IT assets and ensure consistent, long-term quality throughout your network, and once again represents busy work that can be handled through an automated system, rather than manually by your IT team.
Comprehensive Dashboard and Vendor Support
Communicating effectively with your clients is vital. Therefore, you should be provided with multiple, easily accessible channels to reach your clients, or to allow them to support help tickets and requests, as well as a user-friendly dashboard where you can manage your RMM tools and collaborate efficiently. You should be easy to contact and work with day-to-day, rather than feeling like an abstract concept to clients in need of support.
The Need for Remote IT Work and the Change COVID-19 Created
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated an already quickly growing trend toward remote work in the United States. RMM software can be particularly useful for companies that utilize a remote or hybrid work culture, as it can be more difficult to manage and update devices throughout a network when they are not in the same, physical location. Essentially, remote work culture is creating a need for remote IT work, and this can be more easily managed by an MSP that is already equipped to handle a wide range of devices throughout variable network sizes.
It is in your best interest to make sure you are aware of any remote elements in a prospective client’s company structure well before a contract is signed. This will allow them to provide you with any pertinent information about how their system can facilitate remote operations, and how you can accommodate their needs efficiently.