What is RMM and why do IT service providers use it?

on March 10, 2021

RMM software (remote monitoring and management) is leveraged by an increasing number of managed services providers (MSPs) and other IT businesses across the globe. These tools are versatile and are able to support the vast majority of, if not all, technical requirements. This article will address what RMM software is, what its key functions are, and why it’s an especially important tool for IT service providers.

What is RMM software?

RMM software delivers a solution designed to assist businesses with proactively and remotely monitoring networks, endpoints, and devices. This is also called remote IT management.

When deploying RMM software, a low-footprint program called an “agent” should be installed on a customer or client’s servers, workstations, mobile devices, and any other endpoints. Agents are responsible for feeding information regarding device status and health to the business, giving them invaluable insight into their client networks. With this information, companies can ensure machines are up-to-date and appropriately maintained, enabling them to get ahead of problems and remotely resolve them when necessary—without needing to physically visit a client’s office.

If an agent detects an issue on the client’s computer, an alert is automatically generated and sent, giving the team the necessary information to fix the issue. With many RMM tools, tickets and alerts are classified by problem type, severity, or by other distinguishing factors. This helps prioritize effectively and differentiate between noncritical and critical problems. In some cases, these alerts enable to detect and resolve problems before their customers even become aware of them.

RMM software enables businesses to efficiently manage a greater number of clients than traditional break/fix service providers. Support technicians can remotely administer patches, install updates and software, and much more—all from within a single, centralized dashboard. Technicians are able to administer tasks concurrently to multiple computers, eliminating the need to travel between offices for routine maintenance activities.

The history of RMM

Although the earliest computers were developed during the 1950s, it was several decades later—in the 1990s—that the first network management solutions became commonplace, alongside the very first Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Prior to this, on-site servicing was delivered via the break-fix model. This meant that when a problem occurred, customers would get in contact with their IT support technician, who would go to the computer or server’s physical location and conduct troubleshooting activities to identify the problem.

As time passed, IT technicians started developing new processes that enabled them to visit onsite customer environments on a proactive basis rather than a reactive basis, regularly checking the status and health of the client’s systems to prevent issues from arising. To achieve this, IT technicians leveraged elaborate checklists for recording information on disk and machine usage. Although this was certainly progress for IT monitoring, allowing service providers to get ahead of issues, it didn’t afford technicians a complete view of ongoing network status and health.

The very first managed IT services solutions used with SNMP were able to feed data to the support technician, but those early systems were complex and hard to manage. They were also expensive, meaning they were only accessible and cost effective for large companies. To counteract these costs, many companies made significant investments into creating their own branded server delivery solutions with their own network operations center (NOC) and infrastructure.

By 2005, systems were beginning to mature, which allowed MSPs and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to benefit from the same kind of managed services solutions large businesses had been using for years. This meant it was possible to leverage RMM technology to service the SMB market, which eventually resulted in the booming managed IT services movement we know today.

The key functions of RMM software

As you explore the options on the market, here are some of the key functions you can expect from these tools:

  • Gather data about client hardware, networks, and software
  • Supply with activity data and reports
  • Generate appropriate tickets and alerts when issues arise
  • Track the health of networks and devices
  • Monitor multiple clients and endpoints concurrently
  • Automate and schedule routine maintenance tasks

RMM solutions are rapidly evolving to incorporate other tools in order to deliver an all-in-one solution that can meet all IT needs. For example, they also function as an IT help desk, backup solution, and remote access tool. Although many tools are specifically designed for MSPs, it is worth noting that this software can also be used by businesses who want to gain deep visibility into their networks and manage their own IT infrastructure.

Why is RMM software especially important for IT service providers?

Despite other businesses making use of and benefiting from remote monitoring software, there are a number of reasons why this software is especially important for MSPs and other IT services providers. First and foremost, with so many businesses utilizing these tools, remote monitoring and management solutions are becoming an increasingly essential part of maintaining relevance and staying competitive.

RMM software is also important because it can help reduce costs, improve reputation, and increase productivity. For businesses that succeed by keeping customers satisfied, these benefits are crucial to their ongoing prosperity and directly impact their bottom line. These benefits include the following:

  • Access to enterprise-level monitoring and automation capabilities, even for small or medium-sized MSPs
  • Earlier identification of problems, before they are even noticed by the customer, have the chance to become major issues, or cause system failure
  • Decreased site visits, as well as associated costs
  • Fewer costs for customers and more regular revenue due to fixed pricing structure
  • Optimal network stability achieved by leveraging proactive maintenance
  • Fewer issues and tickets for technicians to resolve, resulting in higher profit margin
  • Increased uptime and fewer service disruptions
  • Extended device lifespan due to proactive maintenance
  • Improved device performance for customers
  • Increased customer loyalty and satisfaction
  • Increased IT technician productivity
  • Improved scalability

Choosing the right RMM software

The latest additions to the RMM software market are increasingly comprehensive, delivering all-in-one solutions to access all the capabilities they need from one powerful dashboard. Centralizing all IT activities into a single solution helps reduce costs, increase scalability, and improve efficiency.

Two especially notable remote monitoring and management solutions that are purpose-built to deliver all-in-one benefits are and N-able® RMM and N-able N-central®. If you’re looking for the best solution, N-able RMM and N-central were both designed with the specific needs of MSPs in mind. Both combine remote monitoring capabilities with a range of other utilities, including remote access, backup and recovery, and ticketing integrations—each of which is also available as a standalone product through N-able. To help you choose between these two all-in-one options, we’ll explore some key differences between N-able RMM and N-central below.


This tool eliminates the need to juggle multiple pieces of software by centralizing all your IT activities and processes into a single solution. With a comprehensive suite of remote monitoring utilities, MSPs can efficiently secure, maintain, and improve all of client IT systems from within a single dashboard. The dashboard is easy to use and highlights problems in real-time, helping your technicians prioritize issues effectively to make the most of their time.

N-able RMM is best suited to MSPs who are looking for an RMM solution that allows them to set up the infrastructure they need for support services right away, so they can start serving customers immediately. RMM includes out-of-the-box monitoring templates, so you can get started with monitoring as soon as you launch the tool. This solution also provides rapid and safe remote access, enabling technicians to provide support from anywhere. Other notable features of N-able RMM include patch management, centrally managed antivirus, data-breach risk intelligence, web protection, and comprehensive backup and recovery utilities to prevent data loss.

RMM also delivers high-level security features, such as endpoint detection and response. To keep your passwords and client documentation safe, RMM offers an integration with N-able Passportal, a password and IT documentation management tool. Overall, N-able RMM offers a versatile solution that provides everything an MSP might need to provide exemplary service and manage IT environments today. A 30-day free trial is available here.

N-able N-central

N-able N-central expands upon many of the features of RMM to cater to MSPs who may already have an RMM solution but are interested in scaling to support more customers and leveraging automation for maximum efficiency. N-central is available as an on-premises or hosted solution to offer the flexibility companies need. Overall, this tool shares a lot in common with N-able RMM, including support for remote access and monitoring, backup and recovery, endpoint detection and response, and much more.

With this tool, you can onboard, configure, and patch hundreds of devices by leveraging powerful automation tools, which saves your team hours otherwise spent manually performing repetitive maintenance tasks. With its advanced security tools—including signature, rule, and behavioral-based scans—you can rely on N-central for all your security needs and assure your customers that their data and IT systems are safe with you.

N-central lets you monitor and manage virtual machines, as well as Windows®, Linux®, and Mac® machines. It allows you to resolve issues quickly by providing your technicians with detailed insight into client systems and the ability to provide robust remote support services. This tool includes proactive alerts and self-healing utilities, helping you minimize customer downtime and disruption. With N-central, you can expect improved technician efficiency, customer retention, and higher service margins. To learn more, get a free 30-day trial of N-central here.

Getting started

RMM software can deliver such a range of benefits for MSPs that it is no wonder that most MSP businesses already have a similar solution implemented. If you have yet to make a decision on the best solution, N-able RMM and N-central are among the options to give a try.

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