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Increasing connectivity resulting from new technologies and upgrades to existing hardware and software systems has led to a growing interest in IT managed services business models among companies, business, public service institutions, the health sector, and many others.




Unlike before when business owners and executives could not monitor key aspects of their establishment infrastructure—including  employee competency and productivity, hardware and software use, and client and customer communications among a host of others—it is now possible for them to manage the various functions and processes in their business through Remote Monitoring & Management (RMM) platforms. For business owners who want to use these RMM tools for the first time, the big question that is on their minds is this: What RMM platform is the best for my business?




Let us take a look at the ten leading RMM tools which established business and company owners have been recommending…




1) Level Platforms




Among the RMM platforms available today, Level Platforms is the one that has been consistently getting high marks and which has been the most recommended for business owners that are just starting to use RMM tools.




It is the most extensive RMM platform, encompassing modules for monitoring and alerting, remote control and remote management, and asset management. Level Platforms also has workplace management modules, including monitoring, alert and reporting of printing and imaging devices, patch management, and operations management and partnership services with third party vendor applications (like Symantec Backup Exec 2010) and outsourcers. Because of the popularity of Cloud applications among small and medium businesses (SMBs), Level Platforms includes Cloud service monitoring and management.




What makes Level Platforms exemplary is its customer/client support. From server set up to onboarding to day-to-day usage of the platform, a client engagement manager oversees the entire process and continues to help the business owner, even in the finding of new prospects. One has the option to choose between agent and agentless monitoring, which are both very good although a better picture of the working environment is best provided by agent monitoring. For an added price, a company or business can avail of either a North America- or India-based NOC.




2) Continuum




This year 2013, Continuum has been voted by readers of ChannelPro as the “Best Vendor for Remote Monitoring & Management and Backup & Disaster Recovery Solutions.” This is also the RMM platform that has been consistently getting stellar marks from Managed Services Providers (MSPs) and is being touted as the “Gold Standard” for RMMs.




Continuum is presently the best and the most comprehensive RMM platform for SMVBs and MSPs. It combines RMM software with a 24x7x365 NOC team consisting of 600 people, the first company to developing such a highly functioning combination. This RMM/NOC combo is available in all three levels of Continuum’s service—namely Remote Server Watch, Proactive Server Care, and Remote Server Care—with no further added charges.




Continuum provides both agent and agentless monitoring, although initial installation of the platform would require an agent. To meet the increasing demand for monitoring applications for smartphones, laptops and tablets, Continuum has released LogMien Rescue, which supports mobile devices, Windows PC and Mac monitoring and management.




3) GFI Max Remote Management




GFI Max Remote Management has been increasing in popularity because of the versatility of its platform. This RMM tool can be used in any type of business model, including support bank, break/fix, and managed services. It also has the fastest onboarding time of 2 hours in comparison with other vendors.




The platform allows the user to monitor multiple machines on a single dashboard. It also provides and instant alert and Daily Health Check which will notify that business owner of any problems within the company which need to be addressed proactively. Through the platform’s tools—Own-Brand System, Client Portal and Reporting—the company owner is quickly alerted of problems on the client’s end before they could even detect it. For those who are looking for NOC, GFI Max can incorporate the NOC support of their partner, Cloud Services Depot, for an added monthly fee.




4) Kaseya




Kaseya works on the premise that basic IT tools can be integrated and automated. Among the tasks being supported by the platform are systems and patch management, software deployment, data protection, IT asset management, policy management, backup and disaster recovery, endpoint security, and reporting and service desk.




It offers both agent (Windows, Mac and Linux) and agentless (Unix via SSH) models. Even without an agent, a user can easily manage the workplace because of its detailed description and reports which require no heavy technical know-how. An intuitive platform, it quickly detects problems for immediate proactive solutions.




Kaseya, however, has two drawbacks. First is that it is expensive. Secondly, some company owners have been reporting poor customer support.




5) LabTech




LabTech is being touted as the only RMM and automation platform developed by an MSP for MSPs. Ideal for small MSPs and businesses, the tool has been developed based on the experiences of agents in the field, so that the tool not only has the intuition of a living technician, it also enables human agents to provide support even from a remote location.




Some of the features of LabTech are Remote and Server Control, Network Sniffing and Monitoring, Asset Management, License Management, Inventory Management, just to name a few.




Although it is one of the more affordable RMM platforms around, it is THE most powerful tool because of its Advanced Scripting feature. However, this particular task may make the platform unwieldy for users who lack the technical knowledge. There have also been problems in finding support for certain issues in the system.




6) NimSoft




When it comes to middle and upper level management, the platform that is most often recommended is NimSoft. The platform is used to gather raw data, known as “metrics”, from all machines that are connected in the network. At the first tier calculation, these metrics are used to come up with Service Level Objectives (SLOs). These SLOs are then combined and computed at the second tier calculation to create Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These SLAs will serve as the baseline for all the current levels of service in a company, which will enable a CEO or a CFO to make smart decisions. For example, in a company that is being beset by financial troubles, SLAs can help a CEO determine which particular services can be scaled back in order to meet budgetary constraints.




NimSoft, however, requires some knowledge in scripting. Also, the platform requires regular maintenance.




7) N-able




N-able is one of the more user-friendly RMM platforms around, with an uncomplicated web interface which is easy to figure out even without a tutorial.




The tasks that the platform can perform fall into two groups, namely Proactive Maintenance & Monitoring and Full Management. It also offers six NOC options—Proactive Server, Managed Server, Proactive Network, Managed Network, Proactive Desktop, and Managed Desktop—which MSPs can choose from based on their needs.




When N-able is first installed in your system, probes are sent through the network and agents are distributed to every asset that is found. Upon successful installation, there is no further need for an agent to monitor the system.




Unfortunately, some users have reported problems with N-able which would require agent intervention. Sadly, customer service has been found to be lacking.




8) N-Central




N-Central is the latest RMM tool release of N-able Technologies and it has been found to be more superior in terms of features and more efficient compared to N-able.




Installation of N-Central is supported by a step-by-step video, which guides the client through three procedures—the creation of customer/site pages, add devices, and manage devices. Because it has access to a Cloud portal, the platform can monitor mobile devices, like laptops, smartphones, and tablets, together with regular desktop PCs and Macs. Once installation is completed, the user has access to features which require very little technical knowledge.




Thankfully, unlike N-able, N-Central provides adequate customer support.




9) Dell PacketTrap




Dell PacketTrap is an RMM Platform that was designed for VAR/MSPs that have systems requiring NOC support.




The platform monitors nodes through a robust and rigorous PacketTrap agent, SNMP monitoring for machines and devices without supporting software agents, such as switches and network printers, and non-SNMP nodes, like remote control and ping tests. VAR/MSPs need to have on on-site server. For client sites of these MSPs, on-premise servers are optional.




At present, NOC services of Dell PacketTrap are based in India.




10) Monitis




Monitis is one of the most promising RMM platforms to emerge recently. It incorporates basic remote monitoring with Cloud management. This platform is especially helpful to companies and businesses that have an online presence. Aside from monitoring activities in the home server and workplace, it can also track severs outside the base, websites, and blogs through the Internet.




As relatively new RMM tool, Monitis still has some glitches that need fixing. Also, since Monitis is essentially an outsourcer or paid service (but with reasonable and flexible payment plans), some business owners may not be keen on having an outside party monitoring metrics and other confidential data that is generated inside the company.


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