MSPs naturally adapt and mature as innovative technologies and more effective processes are introduced into the industry. But with ransomware cyberattacks happening left and right, pushing them to evolve even further, MSPs are left with no choice but to go with the flow. Going for improved functionalities—although important—is simply no longer enough. MSPs must begin putting a lot of emphasis on improving their security for the continuous protection of their most valuable assets.
With ransomware threat actors exploiting weaknesses in remote monitoring and management (RMM) platforms to get into endpoints by the thousands, MSPs have found themselves wondering whether their platform is secure, robust, and agile enough with the changing threat landscape. To help them decide, let us look at the key points to consider when choosing an RMM that is right for them.
Helping MSPs look for "the one"
Indeed, there is no "one-size-fits-all" RMM platform. Every MSP has its own unique needs, and vendors must meet those needs so both can deliver high quality service and grow together as one.
Whether you’re an experienced MSP who is evaluating your current RMM or contemplating on switching to another vendor, or you’re a new MSP who is on the lookout for an RMM platform that best fits your unique business needs, we offer you a guide in finding "the one."
Ask: "Does this RMM vendor take security seriously as much as we do?"
A security-conscious MSP looks for security present in an RMM vendor’s product. This should be a necessity as their business is at stake, most especially if you’re an MSP that handles all your clients’ data. It is only logical to look for a vendor that cares about the security of their clients’ assets the same way you, the MSP, care about the assets of your clients, too.
MSPs can start assessing for security by checking if the communication between entities are secure. For example, are endpoints communicating securely with the monitoring server? Is the monitoring server communicating securely with remote management devices/systems? Overall, does the RMM take a layered approach to secured communication between devices and apps, which in turn, protects the entire support chain?
Another point to think about is whether the platform provides multiple security role assignments for various kinds of users. Certain users can only have read-only access, for example, while others are granted higher privileges based on their job functions.
We cannot stress enough the importance of MSPs securing themselves to keep their clients safe from online attacks like ransomware. Being consistent in this regard on every facet of the decision-making process will only put MSPs at a significant advantage.
Ask: "Does this RMM adapt to new demands and scale really well with the changing trends?"
RMM platforms and solutions aren’t something new. In fact, some of them have been around for decades. With this in mind, MSPs should look at how much the RMM has changed since it first offered its service, what has it done so far to keep up with the ever-changing business landscape, and how it has planned to evolve for the future.
Legacy RMMs were never created with the modern MSP, thousands upon thousands of endpoints to support, and the Internet of Things (IoT) in mind. There are far better designed RMMs today that are built to deliver robust, multi-tenant solutions—meaning, the ability to manage disparate multiple clients and/or managing access to multiple application for various clients using a single application or platform—for MSPs. RMMs that offer these are foreseen as best positioned for the future. It is, therefore, paramount for MSPs to partner with a vendor that scales well with market demand and doesn’t hold them back when it comes to their own business growth.
Proactive, with the drive for change
Ask: "Does the RMM vendor provide proactive patching and show momentum in improving?"
Not only should MSPs look for an RMM that has a long-term product roadmap and how they regularly release updates for it, but they should also start looking at how their current or potential vendor go about actively  monitoring the threat landscape and  looking for flaws to their own software before the bad guys would even have time to know about and create an exploit for it.
MSPs have realized that reacting to cyberattacks doesn’t work. And while it is admirable for an RMM vendor to be able to determine a security flaw and patch it as quickly as they can to mitigate infection, preventing something big from happening far outweighs mitigating what has already happened.
Apart from patching, a good RMM must also show that it is continuously improving their own products by adding more helpful functionalities, enhancing what’s most used, and doing away with whatever is not beneficial for MSPs.
Ease of use
Ask: "How easily can my employees use this platform?"
MSPs look for software that not only gets the job done but are also easy to operate. Aesthetics (better designed, interface-wise) combined with functionality come into play here. The UI must be easy to understand and navigate, each bit of what is shown gives technicians a clear idea of what they want to know about their endpoints. Furthermore, it must allow MSPs to customize the tool that fits their business needs.
Of course, no matter how intuitive the platform claims to be, it’s still new software that no one in the company is familiar with it. That said, a good RMM must offer training for MSP technicians to fully understand the platform and use it well and proficiently. Know that the more complex the tool, the longer the training; the longer the training, the greater the cost; and the more complex the tool, the higher the risk that the trained technician would be making mistakes.
Ask: "Can the RMM platform be accessed via mobile devices?"
With everyone carrying at least one mobile device with them, going mobile is no longer a want but, for many, is also now a need. An RMM solution that MSP technicians can use outside of the office can be an extremely valuable feature, especially when a real-time alert kicks in. The MSP technician must be able to perform troubleshooting tasks using a small screen and over a cellular network. An MSP that can deliver quality service anytime and anywhere is something that current and potential clients vie for and may become highly in-demand in the future.
For MSPs, security is at the forefront in these uncertain times
Choosing a vital tool like an RMM platform is not an easy and quick process for MSPs to go through. It takes careful thinking and a lot of time and effort in evaluating. For new MSPs, this process is probably one of the most challenging, more so if all RMMs seemingly offer the same. At the end of the day, however, finding that one RMM vendor you can grow your business and expand your portfolio offerings with is totally worth it. Potential and current clients not only see MSPs as software and hardware experts, but they are quickly looking up to them as security advisers as well.
Having insight on the current trends and following these considerations, coupled with asking the right questions, is not only strategic. It is also the first step in laying down the cornerstone for future-proofing your business.
Good luck in your search!