The larger an organization grows, the more difficult software license tracking, hardware asset management, antivirus enforcement, and individual systems monitoring become. Enterprise-class, Mac-compatible remote monitoring and management (RMM) platforms provide larger organizations with a powerful utility to centralize workstation, mobile device, and server administration; management; monitoring; and reporting.
Numerous options exist
A wide variety of Mac-compatible management tools exist. Continuum RMM, Endpoint Protector, Hyperic, LabTech, packetTrap, Panorama 9, The Casper Suite and Watchman Monitoring all offer such tools for Mac organizations. Many management and monitoring tools also integrate well with professional services automation tools, which further extend IT department and consultant capacity to manage operations, respond more quickly to issues, and enforce license compliance.
Well designed management and monitoring platforms assist the IT professionals responsible for their operation by reporting in real-time on system processes, disk health, network connectivity, patch status, and even client antivirus operation. Sophisticated applications alert administrators to backup failures and the presence of new USB drives (which can present security risks). Most simplify the process of remotely connecting administrators and support personnel to client machines experiencing trouble.
Without a centralized RMM platform, organizations must manually attempt to track system updates, antivirus deployments, software licensing, network and system health status, backup operations, and numerous other elements. In enterprise environments, such a challenge is untenable. RMMs simplify operations, introduce centralized administration, enable real-time alert notification, and streamline asset management and hardware reporting.
The amount of time, and economies of scale achieved, increase exponentially according to the organization's size and scale. In other words, the larger the organization, the greater the benefits of an RMM initiative.
Despite some vendor claims promising simple set up and seamless integration, organizations should prepare for a project when deploying a management and monitoring platform. Typically two choices exist: local installation or cloud-based deployment. Both require work.
When deploying an RMM platform locally, organizations must typically dedicate hardware resources for hosting the management operations systems. Normally a few local IP addresses must be reserved, router updates may be required, integration with the organization's email server must be implemented, and a new DNS A record may be required. Then, backup systems must be deployed (and monitored).
Cloud-based deployments tend to be easier, obviously. In such cases, the RMM provider assumes responsibility for back-end heavy lifting. Regardless, the organization must still typically coordinate email integration, DNS A record creation (for reporting and console connectivity), antivirus migration (most organizations should seek to integrate antivirus licensing, installation, administration and enforcement via the RMM platform) and client, server, and mobile device installation and configuration.
Once the RMM platform and agents are deployed, the project is not yet complete. Organization IT staff will still find it necessary to invest days if not weeks steadily tweaking reporting thresholds, making sense of new system alerts, and generally fine-tuning RMM operations. Ultimately, truly maximizing an RMM initiative requires an ongoing commitment, as IT departments must continuously adapt to ever-changing application and business needs, user challenges, and evolving technologies.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.