IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

What Managed Service Providers Should Look for In Remote Monitoring and Management

Consider factors like scalability, ease of integration, ticketing, and security when choosing an RMM you can grow with, according to Datto's vice president of engineering for endpoint products. By Ian Van Reenen

A remote monitoring and management solution is an essential tool for scaling a managed services business. RMM software gives managed service providers visibility into their customers’ IT infrastructure including hardware, software, and networks. By proactively searching endpoints for issues rather than waiting until things go wrong, an RMM system provides an MSP with the insight to prevent potential problems. In turn, the right RMM solution should increase operational efficiency and drive recurring revenue.

Not all RMM solutions are the same, though, so it’s crucial to choose the best option for your unique business needs. With the right solution, you can speed response times and automate routine tasks. MSPs must evaluate RMM solutions on important factors like scalability, ease of integration with other solutions, reporting and ticketing capabilities, and security features. Here’s a breakdown of how to assess RMM software to ensure it’s the correct fit.

Scalability and Planning for Future Growth
In a recent Datto survey, 63 percent of respondents said the number of endpoints they were managing increased last year by up to 50 percent from 2016. This reinforces the need for small and medium-size businesses to consider how the software solutions they’re selecting or using now will be affected over time as their business grows. This is especially true for RMM software, which becomes so ingrained in everyday operations that many MSPs find it difficult or not feasible to switch to a better option.

Something to consider is whether your company needs an on-premises solution, which requires a hardware investment and maintenance, plus the cost of licensing the software. While this option does allow for greater control over management and upgrades, the increased number of endpoints being managed can cause complications as you grow.

The other option is a SaaS RMM, which is typically better for companies that are planning to scale. Additionally, cloud-based RMMs offer benefits such as security, availability and uptime, predictable monthly costs, and automatic software updates. But regardless of which fit is best, choosing an RMM that can scale well is going to help in the long run.

Assessing Integration Capabilities
Every RMM is different, and the level of complexity when it comes to configurations and customizations can vary. Some are focused more on simplicity and cater to smaller companies with basic needs, while others can offer a plethora of configurations and integrations with additional tools your business relies on.

The right option for your company will depend on your specific needs, but when assessing RMM solutions MSPs should determine the level of vendor support for integrations and how well those integrations simplify the process of monitoring and managing. For example, how well is the RMM integrated with professional services automation solutions? A good solution won’t force you to juggle between multiple dashboards, but rather will allow you to get a comprehensive view from a single platform with an intuitive user interface design.

Another factor to consider is how the RMM allows you to automate tasks and optimize your overall operations. Everything from operating system or software updates across several kinds of devices to support issue notifications can and should be automated.

Flexible Reporting and Ticketing Capabilities
Take note of how the RMM processes reporting of the services that are being managed. You’ll want to consider how the reports look, and make sure they’re clear and informative about the status of the managed services. Reports should provide visibility into a number of issues and areas, such as those related to devices, software, malware, infiltration attempts, malicious activity, and more.

Additionally, determine if the RMM has an optimized user ticketing feature. RMM solutions use agent software that is installed on customers’ desktops, servers (physical and virtual), network devices, and other endpoints. When problems are identified, the software creates and sends alerts to MSPs automatically. These ticketed alerts can be prioritized based on urgency or importance, helping to optimize operations and keep things running smoothly.

Staying on Top of Security Issues
Finally, what level of security protection does the RMM offer? Making sure the services you provide aren’t compromised by malware or viruses is a necessity. However, depending on which solution you use, it may be necessary to utilize other security tools to protect your customers’ environments as well as monitor for potential attacks. An RMM that comes with universal anti-virus protection can save you a lot of time and provide peace of mind.

Choosing an RMM solution can seem daunting. That’s why doing the legwork to fully understand the needs of your business—both now and well into the future—can make a huge difference. But above all, it’s important to remember that an RMM’s primary purpose is to yield greater efficiency of your operations. The solution you select should strive to make your day-to-day duties easier and less complex. Being able to reduce the number of tasks that require manual intervention will not only allow you to focus more on improving customer experience and needs, but will also lead to increased revenue. For more information, check out our RMM Made MSPeasy eBook.

IAN VAN REENEN is vice president of engineering, endpoint products, at Datto Inc.

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