What is Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)?

| By:
Brett Cheloff

As a managed service provider (MSP), you want to provide proactive, comprehensive client endpoint management. But with limited resources, that can be nearly impossible. Constantly monitoring each server, laptop, tablet, and other wireless devices may take more resources than your team has available—holding you back from delivering the exceptional service you know you’re capable of.

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools make endpoint management not just doable, but easy. These tools can help you organize and simplify endpoint management, so you can focus on increasing your bottom line.

What is remote monitoring and management (RMM)?

RMM refers to IT tools and software that help MSPs proactively locate, update, and monitor client endpoints. This allows for the automation of IT tasks, which makes it especially helpful if you’re transitioning from a break/fix to an MSP model. A technician using RMM doesn’t need to be physically present in order to learn more about a client’s devices and networks. They can receive the information remotely, making it a valuable tool for monitoring client infrastructures on a fixed monthly plan.

There are many advantages to using an RMM tool. By automating tasks like updates and patching, it can help boost the productivity of your technicians. It also reduces labor costs, allowing your technicians to support a greater number of clients and solve complex tasks as efficiently as possible. Through proactively monitoring client endpoints and automating simple tasks, an RMM allows your technicians to spend more time on proactive maintenance, minimizing client downtime—and sending their trust and satisfaction through the roof.

RMM opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for MSPs. Technicians can monitor and manage multiple clients simultaneously, diagnosing and resolving potential issues early on—often before the client even realizes there’s a problem. With the ability to provide remote service, MSPs can serve a wider client-base, expanding their service area regionally and nationally. Plus, the capacity to provide a higher level of service at lower overhead costs yields more opportunities for taking on new clients.

Choosing the perfect RMM software: what to look for

There are many options on the market for RMM software. But not all of these tools can bring you the business benefits you seek. When choosing an RMM software, there are certain features you’ll want to look for.

  • Widely compatible remote monitoring and access

It goes without saying that any tool should provide remote monitoring and access capabilities. This allows you to proactively identify and resolve potential problems remotely, without physically sending a technician to the scene. It also enables your team to remain in the background as they fix issues, rather than take over an entire device system. Remote monitoring and access gives your team extensive visibility and a wide range of tools. For maximum functionality, RMM software should be compatible with the most widely-used operating systems, devices, and applications.

  • Capable patch management

You need something capable of patching all the necessary applications and running extensive reports for tracking. Effective RMM software can make patching quick and easy, blacklisting patches with errors and testing all patches before deploying.

  • Active device monitoring

Client endpoints span a range of devices—laptops, PCs, servers, and more—and you’ll want something capable of monitoring all of them securely and effectively.

  • PSA integration

Combining RMM software with professional services automation (PSA) allows for faster service delivery, so you’ll want to choose a vendor that integrates with your PSA software. You’ll then be able to quickly address client needs and capture and store information for efficient root cause analysis. The combination of RMM and PSA can help you turn data into actionable items—and actionable items into quotes and add-on solutions.

  • Centralized dashboard

A dashboard lets your team manage backup, antivirus, and other service-related elements from one handy location. By keeping things familiar and easy to find, a control center reduces employee training costs and speeds up service delivery.

The benefits of RMM for your IT service

RMM software aids in the day-to-day operations of MSPs—providing insight, preventative monitoring, support for daily tasks, and more. While it would be difficult to list all the benefits, here are a few things it can do for your MSP business.

  • Create data and activity reports

RMM software supplies valuable information about a client’s infrastructure. Tracking the health and functionality of networks and devices, these tools can detect issues before they snowball, alerting the technician and automatically creating a ticket when a problem arises. In fact, RMM is a highly functional automation tool for SMBs, providing enterprise-level automation and monitoring. It allows for the scheduling and automation of simple maintenance tasks, and perhaps best of all, monitors various client endpoints simultaneously.

  • Prevent system failure and improve end-user satisfaction

Naturally, automation and constant monitoring reduces the risk of system failure, as your team receives information immediately and can fix any potential issues in the early stages. Through remote, in-the-background monitoring and fixing, your clients experience less disruption during the servicing process.

Meanwhile, proactive monitoring and preemptive issue resolution make for long-lasting, high-performing devices, as well as increased network stability. Fewer network interruptions reduces the need for physical visits to the site, which reduces operating costs. Combine that with high customer satisfaction and loyalty—the natural result of a well-performing network—and you’re looking at a higher profit margin.

Using RMM to grow your MSP business

RMM can be a valuable tool for your MSP business, but only if you use it properly. Follow these tips to leverage its full potential and grow your IT service.

  • Set up automatic monitoring

To truly benefit from RMM, you need proactive monitoring in place. Set up monitoring that automatically resolves common service issues like failed critical services, and you’ll keep your clients’ IT systems up and running. To help document the value of your managed services, set up small billable charges every time your software automatically fixes an issue.

  • Convert clients through freemium services

If you’re struggling to convert clients over to a managed services plan, try offering them freemium services. Install agents on their systems and monitor for common service issues and devices in need of upgrades. You can also use RMM to resolve issues on demand, either through scripted automation, stealth IT, or remote control. Once your clients have seen how quickly and effectively you can identify and resolve issues, you can make a convincing case for why they should switch to your managed services plan.

  • Use third-party software on demand

Say you need to install a new Java update across an entire office. If you visit the office during work hours and perform the update manually, it could take you hours—and cost both you and your clients valuable time. But with an RMM, you can install that update automatically after hours, with no downtime on the client’s side and significant cost reduction for both of you.

ROI potential: minimal downtime, maximum efficiency

A network outage or slowdown comes at the cost of employee productivity and, ultimately, company profit. While it’s difficult to assign a per-hour dollar value to downtime, there’s no doubt that your productivity and profit falls lower every minute of a service interruption. With RMM, you can calculate the cost of downtime for your own company, while minimizing network outages and slowdowns for both your company and your clients.

By reducing the time it takes to locate and resolve IT issues, RMM contributes to more efficient business processes. Time spent finding and fixing problems—and driving to each client location—eats up valuable business hours. Since fuel and time spent resolving client issues are easily quantifiable, you can probably estimate how much money you’ll save with RMM, since it allows for remote issue resolution and finds information automatically.

The future of RMM: what we expect to see

With more and more MSPs using RMM, it's bound to evolve with the changing business and technology landscapes. Here’s what we expect to see in the future.

More outsourcing of IT services

Today’s business market is more competitive than ever, and that’s especially true for MSPs. As competition rises, many companies are outsourcing their IT services to reduce costs. This is good news for MSPs using RMM, as they can provide exactly the type of efficient, cost-effective IT services businesses need.

Increasing demand for more services in one package

Companies are quickly discovering the benefits of tools like PSA, and the need for things like patch management, enhanced endpoint protection, and data backup. As a result, providers that only offer RMM services are becoming irrelevant. Businesses want a comprehensive solution package that can provide RMM and PSA integration, the latest cybersecurity, and more.

A competitive RMM solution

For an RMM tool capable of monitoring and automating nearly every type of IT process or task, consider ConnectWise Automate®. We offer more integration options than any competing vendor, allowing you to customize products to fit your business needs. Our RMM suite is the most comprehensively integrated on the market, providing more options and capabilities than any other RMM software. Beyond just syncing tickets and computers, ConnectWise Automate can streamline device counts, identify upsell opportunities, run scripts from ticket workflows, and align any data you may have from other ConnectWise products, like ConnectWise Sell®, ConnectWise Manage®, and ConnectWise Control®. Besides this, we provide a community of innovative partners to help support and inspire your team as you learn the ins and outs of using RMM to improve service and increase profits.