Remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions grew from the need to keep a close watch on network activity to guard against performance issues that might result in delays or outages. But now that organizations are being compelled to open their systems to remote and mobile workers, customers, suppliers and others outside the network perimeter, security is an important element of remote monitoring and management.
In the past, network security largely depended on a hardened perimeter to keep intruders outside of the network boundaries. Those boundaries have been erased today, with data traversing corporate backbones, the Internet, and wired and wireless networks.
Lack of visibility into the IT environment is one of the greatest challenges in addressing network threats that are growing in both frequency and sophistication. Many organizations — particularly small to midsize businesses (SMBs) — also have significant gaps in their ability to monitor endpoint devices for malicious activity. Additionally, few SMBs are aware of all the applications installed on their networks.
Many managed services providers (MSPs) provide remote monitoring and management as a foundational service. RMM tools work in concert with other security controls, enabling the MSP’s experts to detect and combat cyber threats.
Most people think of RMM as a useful tool for gathering network performance metrics such as availability, throughput, bandwidth utilization and latency. MSPs use RMM to detect potential problems so they can be resolved before there’s any business disruption.
However, the right RMM solutions can be used to detect anomalous behavior or activities that could indicate a malicious intruder. They help boost visibility into the network at all times, across all applications, users and devices.
Because any smartphone, laptop or tablet is a potential entry point for attacks, remote monitoring of endpoints is extremely important. Best-in-class RMM tools generate real-time alerts when they detect threats, allowing your MSP to take action quickly.
RMM solutions can also collect data and report on security systems such as firewalls and virus scanners to help organizations recognize and quickly remediate problems with security resources. Continuous firewall monitoring can help detect and block attacks at the network perimeter. It can also help eliminate downtime due to misconfigurations, with automated change management that eliminates the need for complex scripting and manual command-line interface changes.
With software publishers issuing security patches with greater frequency, organizations can easily become overwhelmed by the volume and variety of patches that need to be installed. It’s unrealistic to attempt to keep up with patches manually on an ad hoc basis. RMM tools enable the MSP to automate patch management, greatly reducing the risk of attack by keeping operating systems and applications up to date.
Automated patch management helps prevent attacks against known vulnerabilities and ensure that systems are better protected against emerging threats. In fact, experts estimate that a well-executed patch management strategy can mitigate up to 90 percent of all security issues. RMM solutions can also identify which versions of what software are in use. An accurate inventory further streamlines patch management by helping identify which patches need to be installed.
Today’s distributed networks deliver numerous advantages, but they also create significant challenges. Although the growing sophistication of attacks makes it difficult for organizations to guard against these risks, remote monitoring and management can ease the strain. With reliable network visibility, automated policy and patch management, improved endpoint protection and more, RMM delivered by a qualified MSP can dramatically improve your security posture.