Managed services providers (MSPs) who are serious about growing their businesses research remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools and implement the best solution for their operation. In fact, successful solution providers often view shops that haven’t discovered the benefits of RMM for MSPs as “no competition.”
Mark Whiffen, Senior Product Manager, Barracuda MSP, explains, “An RMM is the backbone for MSP businesses. It allows them to deliver managed services and fulfill service level agreements (SLAs), all the while growing their profitability and business branding in their communities.”
It’s easy to read down a list of RMM features to understand the basic capabilities of the tool. Whiffen points out, however, that to understand the real value of RMM for MSPs, you need to consider that it empowers change, enabling you to:
1. Be in two places at the same time
Through an RMM’s dashboard, an MSP has a comprehensive, remote view of all of their customers’ networks and devices. Having eyes on all of your customers through one platform results in distinct and measurable value for MSPs. “Using an RMM platform, MSPs can achieve economies of scale and reduce technician deployment expenses,” Whiffen says.
He adds, “One of the key benefits of an RMM platform is to help MSPs scale their business as they grow their client base, without increasing their resources and overhead. With an RMM platform, a single technician can remotely monitor and manage anywhere from 300 to 500 endpoints from multiple client sites. Without an RMM platform, an MSP would likely have to employ three technicians to manage that same number of endpoints.”
Also, since most RMM platforms offer remote connection capabilities, MSPs can perform all routine maintenance work and address support issues remotely. “This can significantly reduce any cost associated with deploying a technician on-site,” Whiffen says.
2. Fix problems before they happen
Another aspect of the value of an RMM tool for MSPs is the ability to shift your focus from providing reactive, break-fix service to proactive management of your clients’ IT environments.
Using an RMM, says Whiffen, MSPs can:
- Easily provide proactive monitoring to ensure the availability and uptime of your customers’ sites
- Proactively manage multiple sites through the RMM’s alert and automation features
- Remotely perform tasks
- Report on completed work to demonstrate value you’ve delivered during a given period
Furthermore, billing no longer has to be on a break/fix or charge-per-hour basis. You can bill for monthly services, which allows you to build a predictable revenue stream. Monthly recurring revenue decreases the likelihood that you won’t have enough projects to cover expenses from month to month — and it also allows you to plan for the best times to invest in new resources and grow your business.
3. Enhance cybersecurity
As you evaluate potential RMM for your businesses, you’ll quickly find a variety of tools with a wide range of features. Whiffen suggests, “MSPs who are trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors should invest in an RMM that can give them an edge in adding new service offerings such as managed security services.”
“Cybersecurity must be the top concern for businesses of all sizes,” Whiffen stresses. “The recent trend toward business digital transformation and the growth of cybercrime have made this more important than ever. With RMM serving as a portal to customers’ networks, MSPs should intertwine the two and couple them when delivering their managed services to ensure security.”
Whiffen explains that a security-centric RMM tool can proactively detect where your clients’ systems may be vulnerable to cyberattack — some MSPS even use their RMM tools to build a security assessment offering. RMM can also allow you to incorporate security tasks related to antivirus, patch management, network security, and email security into your daily routine, And, if your client experiences an attack, it can also allow you to intervene quickly to stop the attack.
He adds, “It is important to note that the security footprint of the SMB becomes tied to the brand and reputation of the MSP. A security breach in one can seriously impact the other.”
4. Operate during a crisis
Throughout 2020’s business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, RMM tools continued to demonstrate their value for MSP businesses.
“Because an RMM tool enables MSPs to access the client’s network remotely,” Whiffen comments, “MSPs could continue to perform their contracted work and demonstrate their value, wherever their customers are located.”
Whiffen adds that remote control capabilities of leading RMM tools also enabled technicians to help set up customers’ remote workforces to comply with health officials’ mandates during the coronavirus crisis, while still delivering the quality of work clients expected and maintaining SLAs.
5. Build stronger customer relationships
MSPs skilled at getting the most value from their RMM tools will also use them to build long-term relationships with their clients. “RMM tools help prevent potential issues and predict upcoming IT expenditures, adding value to their customers,” Whiffen says. “This helps MSPs build and deliver their service offerings while developing the relationship and loyalty with their client base.”
RMM tools also help you communicate the work you’re doing behind the scenes to monitor your clients’ IT environments and proactively address any issues you find. “A key to building long-term relationships is effectively and consistently demonstrating the value an MSP brings,” says Whiffen. “One popular method that MSPs rely on for this is to leverage the reporting generated from their RMM tool to help illustrate the value they have provided during a given timeframe.”
He says MSPs should look for an RMM platform that offers both easy-to-deliver, predefined reports and manipulatable reporting so you can meet any client’s needs.
The Wisdom of Using RMM for MSPs
At a time when many businesses are choosing a more conservative approach to investing in new systems, implementing RMM or upgrading to a solution that better meets your needs may actually be a smarter move. With a greater ability to scale, control costs, expand and differentiate your offerings, a new RMM tool could provide your business with the missing part of the puzzle to managing economic uncertainty. And it will keep delivering value as you navigate your business into the future.