Because of the safety measures that are necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, more people than ever are working remotely from home. Though they're not working in the same space anymore, business owners still need to manage their employees and monitor their networks' security.
Remote monitoring and management (RMM) is a type of IT software that allows managed service providers (MSPs) to monitor a workforce's devices, endpoints and networks. For any business owner monitoring a remote workforce, these tools are important to ensure their employees' and customers' data security.
How does RMM work?
An RMM system can include one or more types of software that helps MSPs identify, report and fix any problems within a company's network. The software is installed on any device or application that the client business uses, including laptops, desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices.
Typically, the software identifies the problem, and then the MSPs manually go in and fix the issue. It can also help businesses maintain their networks by updating their operating systems, adding antivirus definitions, and keeping hard disks clean and efficient.
RMMs monitor a network's entire remote system. This helps MSPs maintain all of the devices used within a business's system. RMMs can collect and organize usage data, generate reports for MSPs, and automate any system maintenance. The specific features depend on which software is used and how the client business customizes its features.
What are the benefits of having remote monitoring and management?
RMMs can save money for your business and time for your IT support team by automating certain processes and monitoring your network's devices and applications.
Real-time monitoring and alerts management
One of the biggest wastes of time is when an employee has a technical issue and has to wait for your IT team to identify and fix the problem. This can cost your team hours of productivity, especially if the issue is affecting multiple employees at once.
The best way to solve a technical issue is to prevent it from happening. RMM software monitors all devices on your network and the applications your team uses for any potential problems. If any warnings or issues come up, the software will alert the MSP, who can monitor the issue more closely or take remote control of the device and fix the problem before it becomes a major issue.
IT automation and scripting
Many users put off maintenance of their devices or software because it's too time-consuming. They'll mute an update notification until the next day, only to keep postponing the update indefinitely. RMMs monitor all your company-owned devices and can automate these tedious tasks. This frees up your IT experts to work on more important issues and allows your employees to maintain their devices without cutting into their work time.
These are some of the tasks an RMM can automate:
- Creating system restore points
- Deleting temporary files
- Deleting internet history
- Rebooting a device
- Shutting down a device
- Running a disk check
- Running scripts
When an application or software needs to be fixed or has a future update, the vendor will send out a patch so the user can update it. Patch management functions in RMMs allow your system to download patches automatically and update the program while the user is offline. An RMM automating and monitoring these patch updates gives your IT team more time to handle more pressing tasks. Your MSP can monitor the implementation of these patches and how they're running on your system at any time.
Reporting and analytics
RMMs not only monitor all these tasks, but can also collect all the data from those processes and turn it into an analytical report. Your IT team and managers can easily read these reports and use them to monitor projects and make larger decisions for the organization. These reports can be generated automatically through a scheduling system or on demand.
These are some of the report types that RMM software can generate:
- System health
- Device health
- User health
- Audit of the system's inventory
- Software inventory
- Patch feedback
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What features are included in RMM software?
RMM software can include many features. Here are the four most beneficial features to look for when you research these tools:
1. Patch management
One of an MSP's main responsibilities is maintaining an organization's security. The best way to secure a system is to make sure that all of its patches are up to date. RMMs can report and install any patches from operating system updates and third-party software. They can also report on the quality of the patch and how the devices and software are responding to it. The RMM will document these findings in a report or, if there's an intrusive issue, send the information directly to your MSP.
2. Remote access
Because so much of today's workforce is working from home, MSPs must be able to maintain their networks remotely. A good RMM will allow MSPs to access a user's device remotely in order to troubleshoot and fix issues. They can see any CPU, process, memory and other errors on the device through the RMM, making it easier to pinpoint the problem and reducing overall labor.
MSPs need to know of any issues or updates to their system in order to maintain and quickly fix any problems. RMMs can send various alerts to your support team. You can set these alerts to go out as frequently and to as many devices as you like. The RMM will alert MSPs to an issue before the client even notices and calls them.
One of the best RMM features for the long-term health and growth of a business is the reports. These reports can verify that your system is healthy and compile data to help you make future decisions. Types of reports the software may offer include an inventory on your devices and software, a view into the health of your systems, and analytics on your products and customers.
What to consider when looking for remote monitoring and management software
The right RMM can make your employees more productive and ultimately save your business time and money. Every RMM is different, so there are various factors to consider when choosing one for your business. Here are some of the main factors you should look into and apply to your company in your research process:
- Number of users it can support
- Security features
- Remote access to files and devices
- VPN implementation
- Compatibility with other software
"When looking for a remote management solution, employers with distributed teams should look for solutions that are simple to use," said Sahin Boydas, CEO and founder of RemoteTeam.com. "Some tools are just [too] complex, and employers also need to remember that the fact that they have an IT department doesn't mean they can navigate any computer system."
You might also want to get your team's input when you look for a remote management solution.
"Employers should also go with tools that can easily adapt to their distributed teams' needs," Boydas said. "The work environment is changing every now and then, and your company needs will also keep changing. A solution that can accommodate your team's workflow and changing environment is the best option when looking for a remote desktop management tool."