Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM), also known as network monitoring or network management, is a process of controlling and monitoring IT systems remotely by a managed services provider (MSP).
In order for the MSP to monitor a client’s system, a software agent will be installed on the client’s device(s). These agents are a computer program for client desktops, servers, mobile devices, or other network devices to send information about the system’s health to the MSP. This gives the MSP insight into the client’s networks, provides the ability to keep machines up-to-date and maintained, and proactively stay ahead of issues and resolve them remotely, without the need to go to the client’s office. The agent doesn’t just allow the MSP to check in on things, but if a problem arises, it can alert the MSP by creating a ticket to resolve that issue. This way of monitoring is so effective that the MSP can resolve issues before the client even realizes there was one.
RMM is so efficient for both the client and the MSP. Technicians would traditionally need to come out and fix everything in person, this takes a lot of time and effort, from scheduling and travelling. Through RMM, techs can manage more clients, and do so remotely from installing software, updates, patches, and so much more.
History of RMM
In the early 1990’s the first standard network management tools were being used with the first Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Support technicians would develop procedures to constantly check up on their client’s environments to get the status and health of the systems. They would use elaborate checklists to record information about the machines. This method would only be somewhat useful, as it did not give the whole picture of the ongoing status of the network.
The first managed IT solution tools used with SNMP were complex, difficult to manage systems that only giant companies with giant networks could afford. Many MSPs spent a lot of money into making their own service delivery platforms with their own infrastructure and network operations center (NOC). Cost was a big reason why small businesses and MSPs had a difficult time venturing into managed IT services.
As time went on, computers and systems became more of an everyday necessity. In 2005, smaller businesses could finally start to take advantage of the type of managed services that the large companies had access to. Now the MSPs could take advantage of the RMM technology and provide these services to the small and medium sized businesses.
The term “break-fix” refers to the fee-for-service method of providing IT services to businesses.
You may think it’s not a big deal to stick with “break-fix” IT support. Here are some of the challenges it imposes.
- IT demands are sporadic. Inconsistent workflow means difficulty staffing and planning.
- Inconsistent and unreliable income.
- Less clients can be taken on.
- Clients can become unhappy when problems arise from slow-acting IT support.
- When problems occur, the client is more likely to lose trust in their IT support.
- Minor issues that go unchecked can become big issues.
- Systems can become outdated without regular checks.
- Disasters like data breaches can occur on outdated or unchecked systems.
Here are just some of the benefits that come from RMM:
- Small and medium size businesses can get enterprise-level monitoring.
- Problems are detected and resolved before it becomes an issue.
- Clients pay a fixed monthly price, which means, no surprise costs and steady revenue for the provider.
- The less IT problems that occur means higher profit.
- Less downtime for end-users.
- Device lifetime may be extended with improved performance.
- Techs can be focused on preventative maintenance rather than break-fix issues.
- Customer satisfaction increased.
- Allows MSPs to expand their client base.
RMM Services and Pricing
Many MSPs price RMM services using a flat-rate, monthly recurring model. Pricing may be based on the number of devices and/or users services that are included. The can be tiered packages priced at different levels. If a client doesn’t need a lot of RMM services, the MSP may offer a la carte services which allows clients to choose specific services that work best for them.