RMM Tools: On-premise VS The Cloud

An Examination of RMM tools and the key differences between on-prem and cloud-based solutions.


Remote monitoring and management (RMM) is the process of supervising and controlling IT systems through locally installed agents, which can be accessed by a managed service provider (MSP). RMM can be a game changer in running your IT department effectively. Done well, it can help you manage, control, and protect your production environment effectively and efficiently. This blog will examine RMM tools and the key differences between on-prem and cloud-based solutions.

The basics

RMM is a software category used by IT departments to remotely and proactively monitor client endpoints, networks, and infrastructure. RMM works by installing agents on the devices to be managed; these agents then route information about device health and status back to the MSP IT team, enabling them to provide effective support. RMM enables IT teams to gain insight into client networks without being physically present on-site, keep devices maintained and up to date, and proactively stay on top of events and alerts. When an agent detects an issue with a client machine, it triggers an alert that notifies IT support so they can resolve the issue (ideally before it impacts end users).

When looking at RMM solutions, the tool should be able to:

  • Gather information about the client ecosystem, including software, hardware, and network equipment

  • Supply the MSP with activity reports

  • Offer real-time monitoring and event management

  • Track device and network health

  • Automate and schedule maintenance tasks

Additionally, RMM tools should offer the following functionality:

  • IT automation and scripting

  • Endpoint management

  • Patch management

  • Reporting and analytics

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On-prem tools

Many MSPs use on-prem versions of RMM software. Some of the benefits of using on-prem solutions include the following:

  • Control: with on-premise, you have complete autonomy over the service, its data, and who can access it.

  • Ownership: you deploy and run the software

  • Data protection: some organizations will have requirements around data protection to satisfy regulatory authorities. Opting for on-prem keeps all your data in your own data center. Third-party suppliers will not have access to your data.

  • Access control: access to the RMM solution and its data is always guaranteed on your network; you're not dependent on the internet for the whole experience.

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Disadvantages of on-prem

Some reasons why using on-prem software may not be suitable for your organization includes the following:

  • Installation and maintenance: on-prem software can be time intensive to install and maintain. Think about it; manually installing it on each device on your estate - that's a lot of work

  • IT support overheads: you’ll also need local IT support to run and maintain services if you have on-prem software.

  • Increased maintenance costs: with on-prem solutions, you’ll have to purchase servers, other supporting hardware, and the software itself, licenses to run the service, and upgrades to keep it current.

  • Increased risk of data loss: our data is everything, and with on-prem storage, a backup glitch, hardware failure, or security threat could cause you to lose your data. Best practices for on-prem services advise off-site backups, but these can be expensive and create administrative overheads.

  • Performance issues: pressure on the hardware can cause performance issues as and when the number of endpoints increases, placing strain on the existing infrastructure.

Looking for cloud-based RMM software that fits your bill?


Cloud-based tools and how they can help

MSPs can use cloud-based RMM software and IT support teams to proactively administer and monitor an organization's IT environment from anywhere in the world. Simply put, cloud-based RMM tools are a back-office solution for MSPs to effectively and efficiently control client-side IT operations without visiting the physical location. Cloud-based tools have helped many organizations level up their IT support. Here are some ways a cloud-based RMM can support your IT ecosystem:

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  • Increased flexibility and scalability: cloud-based RMM solutions can flex with the business and scale up as required without additional hardware or complicated software deployments.

  • Lower costs: with SaaS solutions, everything needed to run and maintain the service is included in the subscription, so there’s no scope creep or hidden costs.

  • Better performance: lack of reliance on physical hardware means high-speed and consistent performance across all endpoints.

  • Automated updates: updates are rolled out automatically with cloud-based solutions and installed faster than in an on-prem environment.

  • Service continuity: cloud-based RMM tools can add an extra layer to your disaster recovery or service continuity preparedness. With data stored on the cloud rather than on physical devices, MSPs can be more resilient to major incidents, disasters, and continuity events as data can be restored from the cloud in a few clicks instead of spinning up entire data centers. 

  • More secure: cloud services typically offer advanced security features that ensure data is securely stored and managed. Some examples of security features include granular permissions and access management via federated roles. Cloud-based solutions operate in ultra-secure environments, data centers are locked down, and the data stored on their servers is encrypted. Parching protocols will be in place to make sure that security measures are quickly and consistently updated.


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