What is remote monitoring and management (RMM) software?

Ever heard remote monitoring and management software mentioned? It might sound slightly sinister, but RMM is really nothing to worry about. In fact, it can help your in-house IT team or the MSP you’re partnered with to ensure your network and the devices in it are always performing optimally.

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) enables an IT team or MSP to monitor and manage your network and the endpoints on it, such as servers and workstations. This is possible via an ‘agent’, a piece of software installed on the client’s endpoints.

Remote monitoring and management, which you may have heard referred to as remote IT management, is essential for MSPs or your IT team. It’s critical to the health of a network and the devices within.

In this blog post, I’m going to fully explain how RMM works and why you need it.

What Is RMM Software?

RMM, remote monitoring and management, is the actual process of keeping an eye on and controlling IT systems. However, RMM software is, of course, the application that makes it possible.

RMM software is a locally installed agent. The agent constantly transmits information back to the IT team monitoring your network about the health of your endpoints.

The locally installed agent is the piece of software that enables the remote monitoring and management. It is essentially a door via which you can access the endpoint.

Information is sent back and forth. For instance, the agent sends machine status data back to your IT team/MSP. But the management element allows your IT personnel push software updates to your applications and remotely access your computer to offer technical support.

The agent enables your IT team to proactively manage your network. Your IT team can remotely keep an eye on your network while ensuring software is kept up to date. In fact, the right RMM solution will use pre-built automatic response scripts to immediately resolve easier issues without any input from the endpoint user or IT personnel.

How Does RMM Work?

As I’ve explained, RMM is a process that enables your IT team to remotely monitor and manage your endpoints. But how does RMM work, from the perspective of the endpoint user and the IT professionals?

On the IT team’s side, they will have a system containing numerous pieces of software.

Graphic showing the dashboard the Datto RMM solution.

All the information gathered by the locally installed agent will feed back into this system. Usually, the system will have a dashboard with an intuitive UI that informs your IT team of how the network is functioning. If there are any problems, a ticket will be logged automatically (in a PSA) which your IT team can then fix.

For example, imagine one of your endpoints has a OneDrive issue. First and foremost, the RMM solution may have a pre-built script that automatically fixes this issue. If not, however, a ticket is automatically logged, and your IT team are notified.

Continuing the example, every RMM solution (to my knowledge) allows the MSP/IT team to remotely access the endpoint and manage the device without user input (thanks to the locally installed agent). This means your IT support team can remotely access your device and fix the aforementioned OneDrive issue.

From the endpoint user’s point of view, the RMM agent is just a piece of software installed on their computer. The agent requires nothing of the endpoint user; it simply runs in the background.

Furthermore, installing the agent is usually a one click process – literally. Even endpoint users with the most limited of technical knowledge can install the agent because the entire installation is completed with just a single click.

Why MSPs/IT Teams Use RMM Solutions

In all likelihood, the reasons MSPs/IT teams use RMM solutions are probably evident if you’ve read the rest of this blog post. But here are the most notable reasons that managed service providers and IT teams are likely to use an RMM solution.

  • Automation for easy yet ultimately time-consuming tasks
  • Ability to build trust with customers using insights and reporting
  • Rapidly offer remote support with a single click
  • Capabilities that enable proactivity

Automation for easy yet ultimately time-consuming tasks

Think of all those little repeatable tasks you must do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For example, manually updating software. It might not take long to update software manually. But if you’re doing it for hundreds of endpoints, it becomes a time-consuming task. And here’s where a RMM solution benefits MSPs and IT teams the most: these little tasks can be completed automatically thanks to automation functionality.

Automation is possible through scripts, which can be pre-built by the RMM solution provider or built by team using the solution.

Scripts can be built to perform basic tasks without any human input. Ultimately, this is one of the key selling points of an RMM solution.

Ability to build trust with customers using insights and reporting

This is a benefit particularly for MSPs, but it can also apply to in-house IT teams. RMM solutions offer you a plenty of insights and reports that you can take to your customers to build trust.

If you are a managed service provider, you will know how important it is to establish trust with your customers. Your customers need to know that you are looking after their IT solutions properly. With insights and reports, you can prove that your business is doing a good job of looking after your customers’ networks.

RMM can offer insights such as how quickly you respond to tickets, how many tickets have been raised, and what issues occurred most regularly.

If you’re an MSP, you could actually use these insights to upsell. For instance, if one endpoint in particular has a lot of issues, you could use these insights to convince your customer to invest in newer hardware.

In-house IT departments can also benefit from the insights of an RMM solution. For example, it may reveal which endpoints need replacing, or the insights can help you demonstrate to superiors how good a job the IT department is doing.

Readily offer remote IT support with a click

The agent you install on endpoints is responsible for transmitting information back to your IT department. However, it also gives you a secure yet easy way to access endpoints and perform remote support.

With most RMM solutions, accessing an endpoint is often as simple as one click and you’re in. You can immediately begin offering remote support with no messing around.

Being able to offer remote support is advantageous in numerous ways.

  • No need to have an on-site engineer
  • Quicker than waiting for an on-site engineer
  • Ability to access endpoints anywhere as long as there is an internet connection

On-site support is usually expensive and time-consuming, especially when you consider things such as travel time for engineers. Remote support, on the other hand, is instantaneous if you use an RMM.

Capabilities that enable proactivity

Every business wants an IT department or partner managed service provider that offers proactive support. No business in the world wants an IT team that’s solely reactive!

A capable RMM can highlight potential warning areas. For instance, if an endpoint is constantly experiencing issues, you can proactively replace it if it appears to be on the way out. There’s no rushing around for a replacement when the endpoint finally fails.

Furthermore, an RMM helps to notice issues quickly and fix them before a customer even notices them. If you just wait for a call and deal with an issue when it’s already escalated, that’s not a good look. Using an RMM solution, you can proactively deal with issues and demonstrate this using the insights and reporting element of an RMM.

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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