Small businesses face a variety of technology challenges. Whether you have an IT department or not, someone needs to keep an eye on your IT infrastructure to make sure everything is working right. The problem is, with only 24 hours in a day and dozens of urgent issues that need your attention, it’s easy to push everything that’s not urgent off until another time. A time that often never arrives.

Think about this situation: As you walk into your office at 7:45, coffee in hand, the phone rings. You grab it and boot up the computer, but while the machine loads, you hear, “Hi Scott. Let me start by saying you have nothing to worry about. I just wanted to let you know we noticed one of your servers was offline. As soon as we were notified, we fixed the problem. Your phone system went down, but we had it back up in under 10 minutes and everything is secure and functioning properly. The incident report should be in your email box.”

That’s the difference between managing your IT infrastructure yourself and handing that task to someone else to manage. Without someone monitoring for you, you would have come to the office to find the phones out. All other priorities would be rearranged until you could locate someone to fix the problem.

What is Remote Monitoring?

Remote monitoring—also called remote IT management or remote monitoring and management (RMM)—leverages a set of tools which allows an outside vendor to gather and review information about how your hardware and applications operate. This information is monitored in real-time and anything that is deemed to be out of the ordinary triggers an alert to the vendor. Alerts are set according to a tolerance or baseline of activity determined at the time the monitoring is installed.

When your vendor receives an alert, they begin to mitigate whatever problem might be detected. Sometimes, what’s detected isn’t even a problem, it’s just an indicator that a problem might occur. The vendor responds to the alert, and your business is never affected.

Remote monitoring has three major categories:

  1. Network Monitoring: This is complete IT infrastructure monitoring. It includes servers, computers, virtual machines, and even software and applications. Alerts generated are often related to failing equipment, connectivity issues or offline hardware.
  2. Server Monitoring: Server monitoring is more granular than network monitoring. This monitoring focuses narrowly on servers and system resources, so backups, and memory consumption, and disc usage can generate alerts.
  3. Security Monitoring: Security is not something you install and forget. Instead, security monitoring looks at mission critical controls, such as missing patches, outdated virus definitions, or system misuse. Security alerts allow administrators to respond to potential hazards before they become major problems.

The Value of RMM

The benefits of remote monitoring and management for a business add up quickly, but the greatest benefit is in reduced downtime. The estimated cost to a small or medium sized business for downtime is around $425 per minute. That includes:

  • Lost Productivity
  • Reputation Damage
  • Inefficiency
  • Lost Revenues
  • Recovery Costs
  • Potential Penalties or Fines

Remote IT monitoring also allows you to extend your IT department and to access a team of professionals to track your network and device health. This means you’re less likely to experience an IT system failure that would cause downtime. You’re also less likely to suffer a data breach or have your security compromised. And in the best-case scenarios, your remote monitoring provider detects and mitigate problems before you even know they exist.

Remote monitoring for businesses is no longer an optional strategy. As the cost of downtime increases, it becomes more imperative that you respond to IT infrastructure issues quickly. Remote monitoring allows you to do that without breaking the bank.