SMB Needs Driving Paradigm Shift for RMM


The next generation of remote monitoring and management (RMM) isn’t being driven by a new technology, protocol or industry standard – it’s being fueled by customer demand.

When RMM first gained traction as a service that SMBs not only could benefit from but also really needed, it focused on workstations, servers, and printers. Computers had become increasingly common and were a key piece of daily operations. Businesses simply couldn’t afford to have them not working for any length of time, as it would disrupt their regular workflow.

Today’s successful MSPs provide the expertise and convenience to allow basic monitoring and maintenance from afar. RMM allows them to deliver services at a price significantly more competitive than a local IT specialist or department that needs to drive from one site to another to resolve issues. In many cases, turning to an MSP is far more cost-efficient and responsive than relying on local “computer guys” for the task.

But the technology ecosystem of SMBs has radically changed from the early days of RMM in several fundamental ways:

Beyond the Desktop

While employees were initially doing the majority of their computing on desktop PCs, the modern SMB is relying on a host of different technical touchpoints to run their business. Company-issued laptops are used at home, on the road and in public places, while smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches are pulling double duty for business purposes while also serving as personal devices.

Then there are remote workers who never log in locally, and liberal BYOD policies adding new devices to the office environment. It all adds up to an increase of 30 percent in new devices per employee in just the past year.

On top of that, many SMBs are employing specialized devices that have become essential since their introduction. Whether it’s inventory scanners, mobile ticket printers, internet-connected medical equipment, or RFID readers, the endpoints are exploding, and they all need their share of monitoring and maintenance.

Interdependency and the Network

All of the devices SMBs are adding to their environment don’t just work in a vacuum. To make things hum they’re talking to each other and relying on their internal networks and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as a rock-solid internet connection to make that happen. With almost every SMB already relying on one or more cloud services, you simply can’t do business without an operational network.

When your dentist’s office network goes offline, the X-ray machine can’t send the image files to the local server or SaaS service that enables the dentist to display it on the monitor in the exam room to determine whether or not a patient has a cavity. Is the dentist supposed to guess? Or inconvenience patients and make them come back when the systems are fixed? And even if they do, the scheduling system is probably cloud-based, too, so the receptionist will have to call patients to reschedule … after the VoIP phones come back online.

All of the cost savings, efficiency gains, and convenience go out the window when the network goes down. Since there’s little chance of reversing course to the old way of doing business, it means a bigger investment in network reliability.

No Longer Optional

When a new technology enters a workplace, it’s always an alternative to the “old way” of doing business. But once a technology justifies its usage with a good ROI, it quickly moves from nice-to-have to mandatory status. Workflows become dependent on it, and if it’s not working, you simply can’t get the job done.

Imagine if an independent grocery store’s electronic point-of-sale system goes down. How can a customer check out? Each item may not have a price tag on it, and it’s certainly not going to be marked down to match that week’s discounts in the circular. Is the clerk going to run up and down the aisles with a notebook and a calculator? And then when the customer wants to pay with a credit card, are they going to pull a manual carbon imprinter out of the storage room?

The modern business simply can’t function without the technology they’ve grown reliant upon. And whether they realize it already – or need a major outage to wake them up to it – they value the expertise and reliability of an MSP keeping tabs on their environment and taking proactive steps to ensure they don’t experience any problems.

Cyberattacks Aren’t Just Happening to the Big Guys

When Equifax gets hacked it makes headlines. When it’s a local healthcare network or a restaurant chain, not so much. Yet the cold reality is that SMBs are experiencing more than their share of cyberattacks, precisely because they’re perceived as easier targets (and sometimes they are).

Knowing that their data is crucial to conducting operations and a breach could subject them to both lost business and legal ramifications, SMBs are shoring up their defenses, and MSPs are a logical partner for this activity as well. Ongoing monitoring can detect problems and intruders before they can cause serious damage, along with ensuring updated security patches and software upgrades are happening in a timely fashion.

Are You Ready for RMM 2.0?

As an MSP, your SMB customers are looking to you for thought leadership along with rock-solid monitoring and maintenance services. Be prepared to advise them on what they need to keep their business running smoothly given their increasing reliance on a variety of devices and network-based applications, and to deliver on your promise of increased uptime and performance.

Kaseya can help your MSP handle the increased workload of managing a wider variety and larger quantity of endpoints for each customer with tools that let you maximize your own productivity going forward. Learn more about our VSA solution for endpoint and infrastructure management, and see how your MSP can scale up to the new challenge.

Learn how Kaseya VSA goes Beyond RMM.


Posted by Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.

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