Comprehensive Remote Monitoring
- Server and workstation monitoring
- Data backup monitoring
Remote monitoring and management (RMM) is a key aspect our approach to client services.
- Prevent or resolve many types of IT problems at their earliest stage, often before they impact your employees
- Reduce the possibility of data loss, especially by recognizing issues such as server raid drive failures more quickly – often right when they happen
- Automatically apply security updates to your system, saving the related labor costs
- Recognize many types of problems or issues with your data backups. Someone is watching your data backups every day, right?
If you don’t have an RMM solution in place on your systems, your systems are operating in less favorable a “break fix” service mode, rather than a managed service mode. (See comments on break-fix at the bottom of this page)
What is a RMM?
Remote monitoring and management (RMM), also known as network management or remote monitoring software, is a type of software designed to help managed IT service providers (MSPs) remotely and proactively monitor client endpoints, networks and computers. This is also now known as or referred to as remote IT management.
To deploy RMM, a small software footprint often called an “agent” is installed on client workstations, servers, mobile devices, and other endpoints. These agents then feed information about machine health and status back to the MSP. This gives the MSP insight into client networks, provides the ability to keep machines maintained and up-to- date, and proactively stay ahead of issues and resolve them remotely – without the need to go out to a client’s office.
When one of these agents detects a problem on the machine it’s monitoring, an alert (or “ticket”) is created and sent to the MSP, prompting them to take whatever action is needed to resolve the problem. These tickets are often classified based on severity, problem type, etc., helping the MSP prioritize and identify critical vs. non-critical issues. In best case scenarios, MSPs are able to identify and solve issues before the client even realizes there’s a problem.
RMM technology gives IT service providers the ability to manage more clients than traditional break/fix IT providers, and to do so more efficiently. Through RMM, technicians can remotely install software and updates, administer patches, and more – and this can often all be done from a single, unified dashboard. Technicians can administer tasks simultaneously to many computers at once, and no longer have to travel from office to office to handle routine maintenance.
Main Functions of RMM Software:
- Gather information about client software, hardware and networks
- Supply the MSP with activity reports and data
- Create appropriate alerts and tickets when problems arise
- Track network and device health
- Monitor multiple endpoints and clients simultaneously
- Automate scheduled maintenance tasks
History of RMM
Computers were developed in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the early 1990s that the first standard network management tools were used widespread in conjunction with the first Simple
Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Up until this point, on-site servicing was required using a break-fix model – when something went wrong, the clients would call their IT technician to
physically go to the server or computer to troubleshoot the problem. As this process continued, support technicians developed procedures to proactively visit clients’ onsite environments to
check the health and status of IT running on the network. They usually used elaborate checklists to record information about machine and disk usage. Unfortunately, this still did not give IT the complete picture of ongoing health and status of the network.
The first managed IT solution tools used with SNMP could feed information back to the IT technician, but these were complex systems that were difficult to manage, and could only be afforded by huge companies with huge networks. And many MSPs sunk small fortunes into developing their own service delivery platforms with their own infrastructure and network operations center (NOC). Venturing into managed IT services was cost-prohibitive for both small businesses and the MSP.
In 2005, systems began to mature, allowing smaller companies to take advantage of the same type of managed services that Fortune 500 companies had access to. RMM technology and expert staff could now be leveraged by the MSP to service the small and medium size business (SMB) market. Thus began the managed services movement as we know it today.
Challenges with Break-fix
- Inconsistent workflow for the IT provider, which is difficult to staff and plan for – IT demands are episodic, yet labor costs are fixed
- Inconsistent and unreliable income with no recurring revenue model
- Clients can become unhappy after experiencing multiple problems
- IT service providers need more clients to keep busy and reach financial goals
- When problems occur, clients can lose their trust in their IT systems and provider
- Clients may develop a high tolerance to issues in an effort to avoid associated costs with fixing them
- Minor issues that go unchecked can cause bigger issues in the future
- Systems can become outdated without regular updates and upgrades
- Disastrous events, data breaches, etc. are more likely to occur on outdated or unchecked systems