To be a successful MSP in today’s day and age, you have to have your act together to build sustainable, long-term customer relationships, let alone to avoid getting sued. That’s not meant to be a scare tactic to keep you in the break-fix safety nest; it’s merely a reminder that taking on the title of “trusted business advisor” comes with risks and responsibilities.
The good news is that while security threats are increasing and industry regulations like HIPAA are holding MSPs more accountable for compliance, using automation tools and following sound business practices will significantly lessen your risks.
How RMM Works and Why It’s Important
RMM (remote monitoring and management) is a software application that IT service providers use to proactively monitor and maintain their customers’ IT infrastructure and systems. In short, RMM tools help MSPs do the work that PSA (professional services automation) tools track.
The way many RMM tools work is that a computer program called an agent is installed on each endpoint (e.g., servers, workstations, firewalls) the MSP will monitor. The agent gathers important activity details on the endpoint such as increased firewall activity, server RAM approaching an unsafe threshold, or a new firmware that’s available, and it reports that information to an admin console. By viewing the admin console, the MSP gets a quick holistic view of what’s happening and can respond accordingly.
Not only is RMM important as a standalone tool in ensuring the health and performance of IT endpoints, but it also increases the value of other complementary IT services, such as:
- BDR (backup and disaster recovery) — A Kroll Ontrack study found that while 57% of respondents had a backup solution in place, 75% were not able to restore all of their lost data, with more than 23% unable to recover any data at all. By pairing RMM with BDR, an MSP can see immediately when a backup process fails and correct it instead of learning the hard way when they need to recover a data set that it’s not available.
- Patch Management — One of biggest culprits of security breaches is out of date software. By pairing patch management with RMM, and MSP can perform tasks remotely, automate the update process and ensure no endpoint is missed.
- Security as a Service — If there’s one lesson we can learn from the Target breach, it’s that having security monitoring software in place isn’t enough – you need someone who’s able to receive the alerts, filter out what’s most important and respond to them. By pairing RMM with security monitoring tools, MSPs can be that extra set of eyes for their customers and help minimize the chance of a security breach.
By using RMM tools, MSPs can take care of more customers, and they can significantly reduce their need to travel to clients’ locations every time there’s an IT problem. Plus, by proactively taking care of things on the front end (e.g., firmware and patch updates, preventative maintenance), you’ll improve your customers’ uptime – which is the primary reason they’re paying for managed services in the first place.
You’re an RMM Believer, Now What?
If you’re convinced about the importance of using an RMM tool, the next step is determining which one is right for your business, which can be a daunting task choosing from among more than a dozen candidates.
But, take heart, this is why we started XaaS Journal in the first place. Check out Mike Monocello’s “Product Comparison: RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management),” which includes a review of seven of the most popular RMM products. And read Bernadette Wilson’s “RMM Advice: Demand the Right Fit for Your Business,” for timely advice from your colleagues (i.e., other MSPs) to help you choose the right RMM tool.