Nov 3, 2023

What is Remote Monitoring?

What is remote monitoring? Learn more about the world of remote monitoring and how it can benefit your organization.

RMM Tech Explained

In today's world of connected devices, remote monitoring has become crucial for technical teams responsible for ensuring the uninterrupted performance of smart devices. Hardware solutions or devices that require remote monitoring range from standard workplace computers or servers to IoT devices like self-checkout kiosks or digital displays. 

What is Remote Monitoring? 

Remote Monitoring is the capacity to remotely gather and report comprehensive software and hardware health data from a device in real time. Remote monitoring provides insight into the status and health of devices to help ensure they function as intended 24/7/365. Remote monitoring tools send periodic status updates from each device into a centralized software platform, often called a Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) platform. The RMM software then provides a snapshot dashboard of the entire fleet's health, aiding in observability and remote management. 

Types of Remote Monitoring Tools: 

  • RMM Platforms: Remote Monitoring and Management or RMM software platforms, like Canopy, are the most common tools used for remote monitoring of devices. In addition to dashboard-based health monitoring, RMMs provide many other features, such as remote management and remote access to the device solutions, to help technical teams take action to minimize downtime.
  • Remote Access Tools: Remote Access or Remote Desktop tools like Splashtop, TeamViewer, and LogMeIn are used for basic remote monitoring on a one-to-one device basis. These tools do not provide periodic or proactive status checks; they are most suitable for remote support or troubleshooting. You can learn more about other differences between RMM and Remote Access software here.
  • Network Device Monitoring Tools: Network Performance Monitoring tools, or NPM for short, are mostly used for overseeing the health of network devices like routers, switches, and servers. Network device monitoring tools track data flow and usage to identify slowdowns and unusual activity that might indicate network security issues. Example tools include SolarWinds and ManageEngine. NPM focuses on data flow and network health, while RMM tools are designed to remotely manage and monitor all aspects of a device ecosystem, including proactive maintenance and issue resolution for device endpoints.
  • Observability Tools: Software tools like New Relic and Data Dog are observability platforms that are focused on infrastructure and application monitoring. These platforms are best used to gather data on the condition of various non-hardware-related tech elements such as virtual machines, databases, and other backend components.

How does Remote Monitoring Work? 

Remote Monitoring is typically enabled through a software “agent” -- or a small piece of code -- that sits on the device end-point. That software monitors key activity on the device and then reports back the status of the end-point into a cloud-based remote monitoring and management (RMM) software platform. RMM software allows the real-time status of every individual device to be reported back into a central platform for full observability and management by technical teams. 

Device activity or attributes commonly monitored and reported include: 

  • Network status and latency details: RMM software and other network device monitoring tools assist by reporting if a device is online or offline. If it’s online, it can report how strong the network strength and quality are. If the device is offline, it can report back how long it has been down.
  • Status of critical software services: RMMs go a step further than network device monitoring tools by also monitoring key software applications or services that need to be running for the device to be working properly. They give visibility into the following key areas: What are the software services currently running? What services are not running that should be? How long have these services been down?
  • Recent operational data and log file information: When was the last time the device was used? RMMs can track usage data such as the last log-in, transaction, navigation, activation, etc. through log files or data that can be reported to the software agent. 
  • Hardware health metrics: Critical hardware metrics like CPU, memory, and hard drive percentage can be tracked and reported back to an RMM platform to help understand equipment performance. 
  • Device configuration details: Key solution configuration information such as operating system version, software versions, hardware component version, network configurations, and additional location or account based information that is relevant to the specific device or can be found in configuration files.

Which Departments can Benefit from Remote Monitoring? 

  • Technical Support: Technical support teams can proactively detect device issues by seeing performance drop in real-time through health status monitoring inside RMM platforms. This observability allows the teams to reduce the number of customer support ticket submissions by enabling them to take action remotely before the customer notices. 
  • Account Management: Account Management teams can also benefit from remote monitoring when they have an RMM tool that provides historical and trending data on device performance and uptime over time. This data can be used to build uptime reports for an Account Manager’s QBR with a client, and some RMM tools, like Canopy, offer canned reports or rich performance analytics dashboards where Account Managers can quickly share updates with clients. 
  • Product Teams: Product teams need remote monitoring to understand insights on device and fleet level uptime and performance metrics. This data helps the product teams prioritize improvements for roadmap development that will drive higher device solution uptime. RMMs often help identify bugs in software deployments or report data on usage patterns that assists with ideas for new feature creation and other improvements. 
  • Engineering/Software Development: Software Engineering and Development teams gain significant advantages from remote monitoring by observing real-time effects of software updates and their consequences on device performance and reliability. They can utilize the management features offered by Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) platforms to deploy software updates, execute remote actions, and manage the lifecycle of devices from deployment to decommission. By streamlining routine tasks and reducing the need for manual oversight, these tools save valuable time for development teams, enabling them to allocate more resources to innovation and development goals.

Remote monitoring is a broad term in technology that encompasses several different use cases and software toolsets. It is an essential capability for maintaining the uninterrupted operation of internet-connected systems by offering real-time insights into their performance and health through various tools and platforms. 

In the context of unattended smart devices, remote monitoring through RMM tools like Canopy can play a pivotal role in ensuring smooth performance of devices to minimize downtime.

To dive deeper into the capabilities and benefits of Canopy’s RMM, consider booking a demo or exploring our whitepaper on how to reduce device downtime.

Want to see it for yourself? Let's set up a Demo!

Our sandbox environment allows you to experience Canopy and explore how you can tailor our remote monitoring and management platform to your specific needs.

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