Watch Demo×

See NinjaOne in action!

By submitting this form, I accept NinjaOne's privacy policy.

PSA vs RMM? So What’s the Difference?


Roy Trenneman, from the BBC’s IT Crowd, became a viral symbol of white collar frustration by starting every single call by asking if the person had turned the computer off and turned it on again.

But the world of IT is changing, thanks to powerful cloud-based tools called remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) platforms.  The RMM helps your friendly neighborhood IT guy remotely log in and troubleshoot the computers – and the PSA helps him handle business processes like time-tracking and turning support tickets into invoices. Check out our blog post on “What is RMM” for a complete definition.

What Features Should I Look For In a PSA or RMM?





RMM & PSA integration X X The PSA and RMM need to work well together – for example, when the RMM fires an alert to trigger a support ticket in the PSA, the PSA then needs to track how much time an employee spends on it.
Third-party software integration X X You only want an RMM or PSA that plays well with other software that your MSP needs – like screen-sharing, antivirus, storage, invoicing, and accounting tools.
Monitoring & alerting X Watches computers & other devices, and sends an alert when any enter a worrisome state, such as high CPU usage, low memory, or halted Windows Services.
Remote management X Remotely fixing computers through scripting, killing processes, or software installation and uninstallation.
Reporting X X Since MSPs try to prevent problems from ever happening, they need to frequently report to clients about all of the work they have been doing to keep things running smoothly. Also, internal reports help the MSP operator do their day-to-day job better.
Billing & Asset Management X X The PSA keeps track of devices under management to accurately create invoices. The RMM can also help with asset management and reporting, and pump that data into the PSA for the billing process.
Support ticket handling X The PSA gets the support tickets either from the MSP by manual logging, the RMM as an alert, or via the end-users through an interface in the RMM tool.
Automated timesheets X Who wants to track employee time by hand? The PSA automatically tracks staff activity for billing and management purposes.
Network monitoring X Keeping track of client network status and bandwidth usage, via tools such as SNMP, syslog, Traps, and Netflow monitoring.
Mac & Windows support X Windows is the sine qua non; but with OS X installations comprising more than 18% of U.S desktops, you need to be able to service both.

So, What’s the Difference Between a PSA and RMM?

The RMM helps IT professionals remotely monitor and manage client computers, whereas the PSA handles business processes like time-tracking and invoicing.

Part of Roy’s frustration is that he’s operating according to the old “break-fix” model of IT — when someone’s computer breaks, they call him to fix it.  This workflow makes budgeting very difficult because you can only send an invoice after you’ve done the job. And the model tends to be very stressful because it leads to an endless fire drill: work comes into the office sporadically, and each client expects his particular broken computer to be treated as the highest priority. 

IT professionals have adapted to the pitfalls of the “break-fix” model by forming businesses called “managed service providers” (MSP), essentially third-party IT contractors that charge companies a monthly subscription per computer serviced.  Instead of running a continuous fire drill, MSP managers have every incentive to prevent fires before they start – and also can plan on a set amount of revenue each month.

Capterra Best Value
SA Most Recommended
G2 Fastest Implementation
G2 Easiest to Use

So let’s try re-imagining the office in the IT Crowd where the staff has been fired from Reynholm Industries and re-organized as an MSP.  Using an RMM, Roy can monitor and manage client workstations remotely from his office, free from uncomfortable social interaction.  He’ll get alerts about potential problems automatically from the RMM, before employees even call. And should they call or file a support ticket, the RMM allows him to remotely log into the troublesome machine, patch software, study its network traffic, run antivirus, and yes, reboot the operating system.

And helpfully for Roy’s boss Jen Barber, the PSA helps automate the business side of the MSP   The PSA automatically tracks support tickets submitted to the RMM, tracks the amount of time Roy and his fellow IT geek Maurice Moss spend on any given task, and submit invoices to different customers.

And the automation of IT via RMM and PSA really makes a difference.  For example, one of our MSP partners here at NinjaOne recently asked a client if she had turned her computer off and turned it on again, and she said she had.  Using the RMM, he was able to look up her computer and see that it hadn’t been restarted in over 36 hours. He then deduced that the client was merely turning the monitor off and then on again.  No tail-chasing or frustrated grumbling required!

Next Steps

For MSPs, their choice of RMM is critical to their business success. The core promise of an RMM is to deliver automation, efficiency, and scale so the MSP can grow profitably. NinjaOne has been rated the #1 RMM for 3+ years in a row because of our ability to deliver an a fast, easy-to-use, and powerful platform for MSPs of all sizes.

You might also like

Ready to become an IT Ninja?

Learn how NinjaOne can help you simplify IT operations.

NinjaOne Terms & Conditions

By clicking the “I Accept” button below, you indicate your acceptance of the following legal terms as well as our Terms of Use:

  • Ownership Rights: NinjaOne owns and will continue to own all right, title, and interest in and to the script (including the copyright). NinjaOne is giving you a limited license to use the script in accordance with these legal terms.
  • Use Limitation: You may only use the script for your legitimate personal or internal business purposes, and you may not share the script with another party.
  • Republication Prohibition: Under no circumstances are you permitted to re-publish the script in any script library belonging to or under the control of any other software provider.
  • Warranty Disclaimer: The script is provided “as is” and “as available”, without warranty of any kind. NinjaOne makes no promise or guarantee that the script will be free from defects or that it will meet your specific needs or expectations.
  • Assumption of Risk: Your use of the script is at your own risk. You acknowledge that there are certain inherent risks in using the script, and you understand and assume each of those risks.
  • Waiver and Release: You will not hold NinjaOne responsible for any adverse or unintended consequences resulting from your use of the script, and you waive any legal or equitable rights or remedies you may have against NinjaOne relating to your use of the script.
  • EULA: If you are a NinjaOne customer, your use of the script is subject to the End User License Agreement applicable to you (EULA).