Not so long ago, when desktops ruled the world, workers were all physically present in one building and organizations had to deal with mostly on-network devices. Today, however, your customers are no longer constrained by Ethernet cables and have embraced remote work environments (mostly because they had to in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic). There’s no turning back the clock, even if you wanted to.
From dine-in restaurants shifting to online/touchless delivery to physicians using telemedicine to meet with patients remotely, technology and business applications have enabled SMBs to innovate, disrupt their space and respond to the challenges presented by the global pandemic. Thriving businesses in 2020 were those supported by IT pros prepared to accelerate their businesses’ digital transformations.
In fact, by 2025, Gartner predicts that 55 percent of technology and managed service provider (MSP) workers will operate in a work-at-home and telecommuting model, up from 30 percent pre-pandemic. For MSP customers (SMBs), Gartner predicts that 48 percent of employees will work remotely, compared to 30 percent pre-COVID-19.
MSPs must take note and innovate, and, if needed, change their technology offerings and marketing strategies. This translates to a growing need for more tools, people, money and time. Throw in compliance and security concerns and MSPs have a lot on their plates, not to mention the added problem of converting services into profitable businesses.
To embrace the new reality, you need an integrated platform of IT and security solutions that is scalable. Your technology stack must be comprehensive, providing all the essential IT management functions you need to run the business. It should drive significant improvements in operational efficiency, enabling your technical teams to “do more with less.” Your tech stack must be cost effective as well, delivering a substantial return on investment (ROI).
Where It All Began
Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools have been, and continue to be, the primary platform used by MSPs to manage IT on behalf of their customers. First-generation RMMs provided management within a single dimension – endpoints (i.e. workstations and servers). In order to manage both endpoints and networks as required by their customers, MSPs often needed to acquire separate network management products in addition to their first-generation RMM to manage all of the IT infrastructure. Additional core functions of an RMM often include:
- Automatic discovery and inventory of all devices on the network
- Automated software updates and patches for all managed devices on the network
- Automated monitoring, alerting and remediation of IT incidents
- Remote management of endpoints to allow troubleshooting of issues
- Automation of common IT processes such as routine server maintenance
- Tracking and reporting of system status and issues
But that is no longer enough. RMM solutions must enable you to efficiently monitor and manage the entire IT infrastructure, allowing you to keep systems and services highly available and secure for your customers.
Mobile devices, connected appliances, medical/fitness devices, the internet-of-things (IoT) and cloud services continue to bombard MSPs with even more things to manage and secure. This puts a greater strain on your already stretched IT teams. In short, MSPs are being asked to manage, build and sell more with less, in terms of time, money and resources. To address the next phase of SMB business needs, MSPs need a new unified RMM that addresses ALL connected devices, fulfills the complete IT automation needs of complex IT environments and empowers your team to deliver these essential services for users reliably and profitably.
This leads us to the need for a single-sourced, complete, innovative and scalable solution in the RMM space.
Where It’s Going: The Unified Management of All Devices
IT teams are being tasked with doing more with less across much more complex IT environments. This includes hybrid, on-premises and cloud models, including public and private cloud models. A modern RMM product will allow your MSP to manage all devices, including traditional endpoints, network devices, mobile devices and IoT, as well as virtual environments and cloud infrastructure in a single product. It will also provide your technicians with a single interface for visualizing, alerting and remediating issues across the entire IT infrastructure of workstations, servers, routers, firewalls, VoIP, IoT, storage, mobile and cloud, making their lives easier.
Here’s what you should look for in your next RMM solution:
- Comprehensive IT management: Your RMM should provide complete visibility and control of your entire IT environment. It must be able to monitor and manage the diverse landscape of connected devices — traditional endpoints, mobile devices, IoT, cloud and virtual machines, regardless of the location or type, from a single centralized console.
- Automation capabilities: Automation of routine IT processes, such as server maintenance, software patch management and auto-remediation of issues, helps drive cost savings for MSPs and internal IT teams by reducing manual effort.
- Hassle-free integration: Your RMM solution should seamlessly integrate with antivirus/antimalware solutions for maximized endpoint security, help desk solutions for efficient ticket management, and backup solutions for reliable recovery and maximum system uptime.
- Scalability: With the number of endpoints increasing every year, your ability to grow and meet the business needs of your clients depends on the scalability of your RMM solution.
- Cost effective: MSPs need to be able to do all of this profitably, which means they need a unified RMM solution that actually reduces IT operating costs and enables IT teams to get more done with less time and effort.
To get exceptional value from your unified RMM solution, you need more than a product. MSPs should seek out RMM vendors that also deliver professional implementation services, premium support, educational resources and a strong community of peers. Another key ingredient to MSP success is access to sales and marketing support from their RMM software vendors.
In today’s increasingly complex world of mission-critical business applications and data, and an exploding diversity of devices and services, many MSPs have been forced to adopt multiple products, increase staff and create their own solutions to address the countless challenges they face. Ultimately, these actions have resulted in higher costs, lower efficiency and reduced profitability.
By adopting a unified, next-generation RMM with comprehensive device management, advanced IT automation and seamless integrations with complementary tools, the modern MSP will be well positioned to succeed in a highly competitive landscape.
Does your RMM vendor’s roadmap provide all the above capabilities to make your life easier?