My next purchase: LabTech’s Remote Monitoring and Management Software

Corporate IT support desks and managed services providers alike are going to want to take a look at the newest version of ’s . The 2011.2 release looks to be a fantastic solution both for internal use, and for service providers looking for a better way to remotely manage their customers’ servers and workstations without having to dispatch a technician, or set up costly VPN access into each customers’ offices. Combining LabTech’s RMM software with a messaging and collaboration platform like , and an independent consultant can easily become a managed services provider with a full suite of services in their catalog.

As a managed services provider, I was looking for a solution that would let me manage all my clients’ as if they were my own. Since the larger number of systems was deployed before becoming my customer, I have to deal with practically every version of antivirus, Office suite, desktop o/s, and Internet connection type around. Some clients have decent firewall/routers, static IP addresses, and domains; others have a hodge-podge of whatever desktop or laptop was on sale at the local office supply store when they hired a new user and DHCP assigned external addresses that change daily. There’s everything from XP to Vista, 7 Home to 7 Ultimate, and practically every antivirus program you can imagine including McAfee, VIPRE, Security Essentials, AVG, and more. Trying to manage the machines of several dozen different customers as if they are one big population, and getting my processes down to cookie-cutter fashion to make it easy for me to hire on extra help are key parts of keeping my costs low and offering the best services I can. I didn’t want to have to VPN into customer X, have customer Y open a GoToMyPC session, and drive over to customer Z; that’s just not scalable.

The solution for my business

So when I was asked to review LabTech’s RMM software, I approached it with very high hopes. The download and install process is quick and painless, and you can try it out for 30 days with up to 25 managed client devices. A modest server (physical or virtual) is required, and whether you are a service provider or just have remote clients, you will want an FQDN and live ip.addr to use with LabTech RMM, and to forward TCP 70 and 80 in to the server. That way, client agents can forward data over the Internet, and you can make VNC connections to remotely control machines when needed without having to know their public ip.addr or configure port forwarding on their end. Smart!

Once the product has finished installing, it opens the web based help file to get you started. You really want to read that, as it goes through some important steps like the default login. Once you are logged in the configuration wizard runs through the initial setup. This includes steps for tying into a customer records management app if you have one, configuring your router and firewall, SMTP relay for alerts, and branding the agents, which is a really nice touch to include so your customers will always see your logo, not LabTech’s. The agent is the primary way your customers will interact with you, and can be deployed to users manually, through a script, or a GPO. The install creates a fileshare and IIS vdir that clients can connect to for installing the agent software. Once installed, it uploads telemetry to your server and also provides users with a way to request assistance. If a remote session is needed, the agent provides a kind of “reverse VNC” connection, so technicians can connect to the server and from there remotely view or control the customer’s machine.














A wide range of supported systems

Then it automatically connects to the Marketplace to download any needed updates. The Marketplace is another aspect of this software that I really like. In it, you can find a wide selection of scripts, plugins, monitors, and more for almost any vendor’s hardware you may encounter on a customer’s network. If you want to probe a Cisco ASA for example, you just go to the Marketplace, search on the available items, and tick off the ones you want. The system checks for dependencies and offers to include those automatically.







Calling this a “marketplace” may be a misnomer…I call it an all you can eat buffet, since all of the content is available at no extra charge. Click update and your choices are brought down to your server.

Internal housekeeping

Getting the software ready to use with your business is also fairly straightforward. You create accounts for your various technicians and support team, which can then be leveraged for various levels of access as well as to log activities.














If you have an existing customer list, you can import that into the software so you can easily assign various systems to specific customers.


The software is for much more than just remotely monitoring and supporting customers. The Operations section includes rich business applications for running a support business, including timesheets, quotes, and order tracking. Whether you have a request for quote for a new system, or just offer spare parts when repairs are needed, you can create a quote, submit it, place the order and track it through to customer delivery all in the same app.

Tickets are just what you would expect to find in a helpdesk application, and can be sorted on status, open time, customer, technician, etc. The tickets can store metadata including email or phone logs between technician and client, which enables you to review work done and use it as a knowledge base of sorts. With the timesheet capabilities, you can have your techs log time as appropriate, which you could use for payroll, customer billing, etc.


There’s a rich repository of scripts built-in to RMM, and as we mentioned before, tons more available at the Marketplace for just about any need you can imagine. Whether you need to Wake-On-LAN a collection of machines, kick off a SpyBot Search and Destroy, or update antivirus definitions and trigger an immediate scan because someone opened the wrong attachment, there’s a script that can be run against one or many machines leveraging the installed agent.

You’ll also find scripts for common maintenance tasks like defrags and patching, installers for things like Flash and Chrome, as well as uninstallers for toolbars that always plague users. There’s even a script to gather up product keys for installed software so you can maintain a database even if the customer didn’t keep any documentation before they signed up with you.

Client records

The software can store practically all the data you might want to have on hand about a client, including critical passwords, product keys, contact details, and more.













Service Plans

Offering your customers proactive services as part of a subscription plan is a great way to help them get the most out of their IT, while also ensuring you a recurring monthly revenue stream, and service plans are the way to go. You can define your own levels, but the software has some built-in that include automated checks that can run against client machines. Customers purchasing Gold level support will expect daily attention, and one of things you can do with service plans is script daily health checks, set up remote monitors for their critical services like their website, and more.



Information at your fingertips

There’s also a ton of great resources on the LabTech website to help you get up and running quickly. In addition to the full documentation, there’s free interactive and prerecorded training, as well as more advanced in person training classes if that’s how you roll. I haven’t seen as much training material for a single product suite from anyone else, and it’s more than enough to get up and running quickly.


As someone who has worked both as an internal IT resource, and as an independent consultant, I’m convinced that LabTech’s RMM was built by people who have been there, done that. The features, ease of use, focus on making things as easy to deploy across diverse environments as possible, and the attention to detail are all very evident and appreciated. I especially like how the software enables you to promote your brand instead of theirs, so that your customers see you and your business when they need assistance. Internal IT departments should appreciate this branding too, since it makes the solution appear more seamless, and a part of your department’s capabilities, instead of another third party software package running on the PC. Unless you can walk around the cubicle wall or into the closet to manage each and every system you have, look to LabTech’s Remote Management and Monitoring solution to make all of your customers’ systems, whether around the corner or around the world, easy to support, proactively monitor, and manage.

One more thing

Oh, and lest I forget, having something that I can use on my smartphone would be great, since inevitably someone calls needing help just as we’re being seated at our favourite restaurant for dinner. LabTech has which I will be trying out soon.