Businesses of any size today are asked to do more with a lot less. The request may include less in the way of a budget as well as trying to do more with a reduced workforce. With fewer opportunities to have large in-house IT departments, businesses struggle to find the balance between automating systems and trying to make due with manual monitoring and upgrading of systems.
The choice for a small to mid-sized business is often difficult because of the nature of remote monitoring and management services. These are largely behind the scenes services, which means they run without being explicitly noted by the business. On the other hand, there is the increased cost associated with the traditional break-fix model for IT systems.
The break-fix model is reactionary, with IT professionals called in when something fails to work. This failure may be a hardware component, such as a server, or it can be a software or security issues. Unfortunately, by the time software vulnerability or a security breach is noted, the damage can be significant and severe with lost data, theft of customer information and potential risk of full system exploitation by hackers.
For these reasons, many small to medium-sized businesses are moving to RMM software provided through a variety of different MSPs (Managed Service Providers). Many of these MSPs are small and growing businesses themselves, so they have the ability to work in close cooperation with their customers to create tailored approaches to network security, patch management, backup and data security management.
What Are Managed Services?
RMM or remote monitoring and management tools are software programs that are offered by MSPs. Managed services allow the RMM tools to automatically complete specific IT tasks across a network or a system.
These IT tasks can include virtually any IT or business task manually completed through the system. All hardware and mobile devices, including endpoints such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops can be scanned, monitored, patched and updated through the system from a central control panel.
The MSP provides the remote network management, freeing up the business staff from having to manage these tasks. Additionally, as the MSP is a 24/7 operation, these upgrades or patches or any backups or system tasks can be completed at off-peak times, eliminating slowdowns across the system during business hours.
One of the biggest advantages to a business that uses an MSP is the ability of the RMM tools to provide proactive management of the system. These tools can assess the functioning of different devices and hardware on the system, allowing the business to understand when replacements will be required. With advanced notice, a company can more effectively budget and also avoid system crashes and failures when central components such as servers have a detectable problem.
With the remote network monitoring features a business can also learn more about the traffic and activity across the network. Through packet tracking the MSP can assist the company in mapping the network and provide reports in real-time.
This information is invaluable in not only detecting possible unauthorized activity on the network but also determining where bottlenecks may be happening. With this mapping of the system, the business can make the infrastructure changes to achieve maximum performance. In some cases, the network management service may be able to remotely fix the issue, enhancing performance and saving the business the cost of additional equipment and hardware replacement.
The whole purpose of remote monitoring and management tools and software is to continuously monitor the performance, health, and security of your network. If there are vulnerabilities detected in your system, patches can be deployed by the MSP on all applicable devices, eliminating the risk of those vulnerabilities becoming serious security risks on the system.
Reducing Break-Fix Costs
Every business owner knows the uncertainty in the expense of calling in an IT tech for a computer or system repair. While using an MSP doesn’t eliminate the need for any in-person tech support, it can substantially reduce the number of visits.
Often in the initial transition from traditional types of network management to the remote monitoring technology, there will be the need to replace any hardware or software that is problematic. Once this is completed, and the RMM tools are in place, the business will find the number of visits by tech support will drop off dramatically and continue to decrease with the use of the MSP.
The key factor for a business is to find an MSP offering the system tools that are most useful for your needs. The top managed services companies will assess current software, hardware, networks and security and make recommendations to the business. It is important for a business to know what features of their system they are interested in monitoring and matching that to what the MSP can offer.
Many MSPs offer customized scripts which run specialized types of automation based on the needs of their customers. Not every business will need these types of bespoke RMM tools, but it is nice to know that the MSP has this ability if it may be required at a later point in time.