Updated: September 2022
So-called “conventional IT” is quickly fading into the background in the face of widespread changes to the modern world. Fast-growing technologies like cloud, SaaS, and remote monitoring or RMM software, have decentralized the very idea of IT -- and the timing of this migration to remote services and cloud-centric IT infrastructures couldn’t have been better, as demand for remote work and reliable information security skyrocketed during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
As workforces became remote and distributed -- a trend that was already on the rise, but accelerated by circumstance -- tech support services had to adapt in kind to keep these workforces operational.
How an RMM solution can help your business
Toward that end, RMM (remote monitoring management) software became even more critical to organizations of all types and sizes, even those with in-house IT teams. RMM tools allow IT professionals to manage network infrastructure and endpoints from anywhere there’s an internet connection, allowing them to identify, report, and remediate IT issues, update software and security protocols, and automate network processes. Many IT teams have learned that the use of an RMM tool frees up considerable time on mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on projects and issues that require direct intervention.
Most RMM solutions can also facilitate scalable growth without incurring huge upfront expenses, streamline support tasks, and cut overall IT costs.
With that said, it’s worth noting that not all RMM software is created equal. You certainly have options, and it’s important to know which aspects you should consider before choosing an RMM solution.
Top 15 considerations when choosing RMM software
Let’s explore some of the top considerations regarding how to choose RMM software:
1. How easy is onboarding and integration of the RMM solution?
Your RMM tool should offer a level of onboarding and integration simplicity that’s tuned to your organization’s needs. Some tools are quick and seamless, able to identify an organization’s resources and needs almost instantly. This is really the first step in the process of RMM deployment, and it’s very helpful when the tool can identify all of the relevant devices in your network (or a client’s network), determine each device’s resource and management needs, and identify user groups.
2. Is security management a feature of the RMM solution?
The ability to remotely push and schedule security management tasks and patches is one of the most valuable benefits of RMM tools. Gone are the days of manually updating huge lists of software and operating systems across multiple locations. This helps to minimize the IT environment’s risk profile as important security updates can always be applied quickly and reliably via RMM.
RMM tools can also help IT professionals identify and monitor suspicious activity taking place on the network by bringing to light unusual resource usage and other anomalies. This is not only useful from a security standpoint, but helpful in resource management and identifying potential future hardware or bandwidth issues.
3. Can the RMM software monitor network devices?
Monitoring PCs and MACs is important and a primary use of RMM however a great deal of information can be gleaned from monitoring printers, firewalls, routers and switches. Best in class RMM tools monitor these devices through the use of SNMP, NetFlow and Syslog.
4. Does the RMM software offer continuous monitoring and reporting?
Monitoring is a critical part of an RMM software solution and a major reason why RMM is an indispensable part of the modern IT arsenal. Your RMM tool should monitor devices on an ongoing basis, use automation and alerts to track important metrics, and be able to identify security risks and usage issues. Of course reporting is the essential next step, and the IT manager should be alerted to issues in a timely manner, while also having the option to generate reports on metrics that are important to their specific use case.
5. Is the RMM solution scalable and easy to deploy?
You want your organization (and its IT environment) to grow over time, so your ideal RMM tool should be able to grow in lockstep without creating headaches or bottlenecks. Transitions and additions should be as simple and efficient as possible. Consistent monitoring of quality and security throughout the IT environment is a key feature of RMM, so you should be able to manage an increase in devices or changes in device functions with ease.
6. How does the RMM software handle patch management and updates?
Many IT professionals who are familiar with RMM immediately associate the tool with patch management. This is because one of the biggest time-saving features of remote management is the ability to remotely install regular security updates, emergency patches, and quality updates throughout the system. 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.
7. Does the RMM software dashboard facilitate rapid support?
Whether you’re managing your organization’s IT internally or managing hundreds of clients as an IT provider, communication is vital. Your RMM tool should offer you multiple channels to reach your end users, allow them to submit help tickets and requests, and remotely access their systems for troubleshooting.
The best RMM tools should also provide you with a user-friendly dashboard where you can manage all of the features and manage an IT team’s time effectively.
Additional considerations when choosing an RMM solution:
8. PSA Integration
Are you using a professional services automation (PSA) tool? If so, you’ll want the PSA and RMM to work together seamlessly. An RMM tool with proven integration with your PSA will help streamline operations and reduce the chance of disruption during deployment. Such integrations will also improve ticket resolution speeds and general management of the IT team as a whole.
Through the RMM tool, IT managers should be able to check and deploy all software updates so that the security posture reflects the current threat environment. This should be a major consideration for small business users, not just enterprise/MSP users.
The best RMM tools will help you automate monitoring, maintenance and other support tasks to cut back on resource usage and improve efficiency. Automation and standardization helps IT teams scale their ability to meet increasing demands without exploding costs. Be sure to evaluate an RMM tool’s automation capabilities for patch management, maintenance routines, software deployments, security alerts, and other areas of importance to your organization. Automation scripts are usually involved, so be sure you have access to comprehensive script libraries based on industry best practices. The ability to create your own customized automations is also vital in many situations.
Your RMM should have comprehensive reporting capabilities so you can easily track and leverage the data available. The RMM is constantly pulling data from the monitored systems, so you want to be able to share that information with end users or organization leaders. IT providers especially want to be able to generate reports that demonstrate the value they’re providing to their clients.
12. Business transformation
When deploying RMM for the first time, the RMM vendor should provide adequate transformation and support services to ensure a smooth process and adherence to best practices. This can go so far as to include things like sales and marketing training and materials, knowledge base materials, and other business development services.
If you’re an IT provider working with many different clients, you may need to find an RMM tool with enough flexibility to accommodate a wide range of use cases and preferences. A dynamic RMM platform will adapt and grow as your own business needs evolve.
You’ll want to ensure the RMM vendor can provide sufficient post-implementation support. Evaluate an RMM provider’s help desk and on-site support capabilities, their reputation in the industry, and their ability to provide patch management. An RMM provider that has established an active user community that can provide advice and support is invaluable.
Costs are always a consideration especially for small businesses, and different RMM tools offer different payment structures that are suited to varying use cases. Some options charge per technician seat, while others are billed based on the number of endpoints being managed. There are even a few open-source RMM tools that can be used by very small organizations that don’t need full functionality or vendor support.
RMM is here to stay.
It’s worth mentioning again that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated an already growing trend toward remote work in many parts of the world. Such a movement has made RMM software particularly useful for organizations that rely on a remote or hybrid work culture -- even if not by choice. Through the pandemic we've learned that situations can change drastically, and IT environments need to be supported by tools that can change quickly and seamlessly as well.
RMM solutions have become an even more essential IT tool, allowing IT managers and MSPs to quickly evaluate pertinent information about an IT environment, create a plan to facilitate remote operations, and accommodate a wide variety of needs efficiently and on a continuous basis.
Why choose NinjaOne?
NinjaOne is a powerful, easy-to-use RMM platform that provides a single-pane-of-glass view into all the endpoints within an organization, and all the tools IT teams need to improve delivery. Our platform simplifies and automates the day-to-day work of managed service providers and IT professionals so they can focus on complex, value-added services, end-user relationships, and strategic projects. Sign up for a free trial today.