Remote management tools, or remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools, are a type of software that enable managed service providers (MSPs) to more easily keep track of their clients’ networks without having to visit their clients in person. This allows them to reduce travel-associated costs and widen their client base geographically, helping to increase revenue while also detecting risks and solving issues across their clients’ networks more effectively, which boosts customer satisfaction.
In today’s hybrid workplace, many organizations rely on SaaS productivity tools for remote collaboration and productivity. And the most popular of these, with 48% of the global market share for major office suite technologies, is Microsoft Office 365.
With almost half of the world’s businesses relying on the Office 365 suite every day, it’s critical that any MSP has the ability to monitor that software for vulnerabilities and ensure that it’s running as efficiently as possible. Using a remote management tool can help them do this.
However, no two remote management tools or RMM tools are the same, and one of the key differentiators that MSPs looking to manage a client’s Office 365 suite should look for is the integrations and patch management support for third-party software applications—such as the Microsoft Office 365 suite.
In this article, we’ll explore the best remote management tools designed to help MSPs manage their clients’ Office 365 environments. These solutions offer a range of capabilities, including secure remote access, automated patch and vulnerability management, custom reporting and network monitoring and alerts. We’ll give you some background information on the provider and the key features of each solution in terms of Office 365 management, as well as the type of customer that they are most suitable for.
The Top Remote Management Tools For Office 365 includes:
- Atera, ConnectWise, Datto, LogicMonitor, ManageEngine, Microsoft, N-able, Ninja, Pulseway
User-friendly remote management and PSA with remote MS Office update support for SMBs and enterprises.
What Users Like: The platform’s intuitive interface and the ability to remotely update third-party apps, as well as Atera’s excellent customer support.
What Users Dislike: macOS clients are more difficult to manage.
Atera is a cybersecurity provider that offers remote access, management, professional services automation (PSA) and reporting via one holistic platform. Atera helps both IT teams and MSPs respond more efficiently to IT issues and support tickets, with strong automation functionality and multi-tenant support. The solution is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux and SNMP devices.
Atera’s Chocolatey and Homebrew integrations, as well as their own API, enable comprehensive, real-time monitoring of client systems and third-party apps for updates and vulnerabilities. IT admins can configure patch management automation for individual devices and device groups, and remotely run all software updates—including Microsoft Office updates—from one central location. Atera also offers Office 365 integration, enabling admins to manage their calendar events directly through Atera tickets so they can easily stay on top of alerts and support requests.
Atera is available via three packages. Pro ($89/technician/month) offers full RMM functionality, remote access for up to two sessions and up to five support addresses, and is suitable for IT teams wanting to monitor their own network. Growth ($129/technician/month) offers unlimited remote access, API use up to 600 RPM and up to 10 support addresses, and is suitable for MSPs supporting a smaller number of clients. Power ($169/technician/month) offers a 700 RPM API and unlimited support addresses, making it suitable for MSPs that need to monitor many client networks.
Because of its tiered pricing and powerful feature set, we would recommend Atera as a strong tool for any IT team or MSP looking to remotely manage a Microsoft Office 365 environment.
Intuitive RMM with lots of out-of-the-box integrations and patch automation.
What Users Like: As this is a new solution, we haven’t generated enough user reviews to include this info.
What Users Dislike: As this is a new solution, we haven’t generated enough user reviews to include this info.
ConnectWise is a market-leading provider of flexible, scalable software for technology solution providers (TSPs). ConnectWise RMM is ConnectWise’s newest cloud-based RMM solution, which combines the powerful automation controls of ConnectWise Automate and the out-of-the-box functionality and easy setup of ConnectWise Command, to enable MSPs to more effectively monitor their clients’ systems and proactively respond to support issues. Described by ConnectWise as the “next evolution” of Automate, ConnectWise RMM offers deeper support for macOS devices, near real-time event-driven services, pre-built alerting and a more intuitive UI.
ConnectWise RMM enables admins to automate vulnerability patching across their clients’ endpoints, including the testing of patches before deployment to ensure only viable patches are rolled out. This, along with its many out-of-the-box integrations, makes it easier to keep operating systems and third-party software—including the Microsoft Office 365 suite—up to date. ConnectWise RMM also offers an intuitive drag-and-drop scripting engine, as well as alert consolidation, which bundles related events into a single ticket to eliminate alert fatigue.
ConnectWise RMM pricing is available on request from the ConnectWise sales team. The solution is packaged with a tier-based cost per agent, with the option to add on services and support from ConnectWise’ NOC and SOC experts. ConnectWise also offers a free trial so you can test before you invest.
We recommend ConnectWise RMM for small- to mid-sized MSPs looking for an intuitive solution to help them more easily manage their clients’ networks, with lots of out-of-the-box functionality and an easy set up. You can compare ConnectWise RMM to Automate by checking out their product profiles:
• ConnectWise RMM
• ConnectWise Automate
User-friendly RMM with OOTB scripts for Office 365 deployments and strong support for the MSP partner community.
What Users Like: The intuitive interface, the regularly updated script library, the ease of deploying third-party apps such as Office 365, and the partner community.
What Users Dislike: It can be difficult to configure custom monitoring.
Datto is a cybersecurity provider that produces cloud-based tech solutions and software for MSPs to distribute to small to mid-sized businesses. Datto aims to enable MSPs to grow their business, while empowering them to solve the complex IT challenges faced by themselves and their clients. Datto RMM is their remote IT management tool, designed to help MSPs remotely monitor, manage and support their clients’ networks by giving them a central overview of each one.
The stand-out features of Datto RMM, in addition to the usual features you’d expect of an RMM solution, are the 16 new components added to the product in 2020, which offer added support for Microsoft Office 365 deployments. Using these scripts, which were developed in a partnership with CyberDrain, admins can receive alerts when O365 isn’t syncing correctly, an admin password is changed, an O365 user is blocked, a user doesn’t have MFA enabled, the O365 audit log isn’t enabled, and when mailboxes, OneDrive and SharePoint sites reach threshold and sync limits—among others. This makes it much easier for MSPs to ensure their clients’ Office 365 environments are running efficiently and securely.
Pricing for Datto RMM is available on contacting the Datto sales team. Datto also offers a free trial of the solution.
Cloud-based, with support for Windows, macOS and Linux devices and offering integrations with over 200 third-party tools and solutions, Datto RMM is a highly flexible and scalable solution. We recommend Datto RMM as a powerful solution for MSPs that serve SMB clients, who are looking not only for an easier way to manage their clients’ networks, but also to become a part of a support MSP partner community.
Scalable RMM with auto-discovery and AI-powered issue detection for faster remediation and improved application performance.
What Users Like: Its ease of implementation and configuration, the vast range of integrations and the 24/7 support offering.
What Users Dislike: There’s an initial learning curve when getting to know the dashboards.
LogicMonitor is a fully cloud-based, automated platform that enables enterprises and MSPs to monitor both infrastructures and their application stacks. With support for data centers, on-prem, and cloud environments, MSPs can use LogicMonitor to gain deep insights into all their clients’ networks, no matter how those networks are built.
LogicMonitor’s Application Performance Monitoring feature is what makes it really stand out for MSPs looking to manage their clients’ Office 365 environments. The solution gives MSPs the power to monitor any application hosted with any cloud provider, using AIOps to proactively detect and resolve issues before they have the chance to affect end-user productivity—in other words, before clients report them. This helps boost the MSP’s productivity by reducing help desk tickets and improving mean time to recovery (MTTR), as well as improving the application’s performance for the client.
LogicMonitor is available via three packages. The Core package offers visibility into cloud, on-prem and hybrid environments, with over 2,000 integrations for easier management and flexibility. Pro offers all of the above, plus automated deployment, intelligent alerting, and customizable Dashboards. Enterprise offers the Pro features, plus AI-powered operations analytics and forecasting. Pricing for all packages is available via the LogicMonitor sales team.
LogicMonitor is fully cloud-based, making it easy to deploy and giving it the flexibility to scale to any environment. Its topology mapping and pre-built integrations with over 2,000 technologies enable MSPs to monitor and manage applications as well as infrastructure, without any visibility gaps. We recommend LogicMonitor as a strong solution for MSPs looking to easily detect and manage issues across their clients’ applications, including the Office 365 suite.
Highly customizable RMM with automatic asset discovery for a comprehensive network overview and easier management.
ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus MSP
What Users Like: The high levels of customization and ease which with it syncs with Office 365.
What Users Dislike: The user interface could be more intuitive.
ManageEngine is a division of Zoho Corporation that provides IT management software solutions designed to help businesses integrate and optimize their IT processes. ServiceDesk Plus MSP is ManageEngine’s ITIL-ready RMM solution built for MSPs, which offers help desk and remote management, as well as integrated asset management, project management, and ITSM functionality to help MSPs serve their clients more effectively.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP’s software asset management feature enables admins to automatically discover all software, including third-party tools such as the Office 365 suite, and log details such as the number of purchases and installations, and which workstations are running it. Admins can easily manage all software licenses, from creating license agreements, to tracking expiration dates, and set up workstations scans to detect license violations for auditing purposes. ServiceDesk Plus also offers seamlessly with ManageEngine’s Applications Manager, providing a visual map of a client’s entire infrastructure that they can use for configuration item (CI) tracking and faster troubleshooting.
ServiceDesk Plus MSP is billed annually and comes in three packages. Standard, from $1,445 for 10 technicians, includes the helpdesk software; Professional, from $1,445 for two technician and 250 nodes, includes the Standard features plus asset management tools; Enterprise, from $2,545 for two technicians and 250 nodes, includes the professional features plus project management tools.
Because ServiceDesk Plus MSP is available in 29 languages, we recommend it to MSPs with a global client base, or whose own employees are based in multiple countries, that are looking to manage their client’s Office 365 environments.
Simple management of Microsoft-connected environments for MSPs serving SMB clients.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse
What Users Like: As this is a new solution, we haven’t generated enough user reviews to include this info.
What Users Dislike: As this is a new solution, we haven’t generated enough user reviews to include this info.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse is Microsoft’s own solution designed to help MSPs manage the devices, data and users of their SMB clients that are using Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Microsoft 365 E3. The dashboard offers a multi-tenant view across all client environments, making it easy for MSPs to manage multiple clients via one central, remote location.
Delivered as a user-friendly admin portal, Lighthouse makes it easy for SPs to onboard 365 tenants by recommending configuration baselines to help ensure all SMBs are onboarded securely and efficiently. The solution also offers multi-tenant insights into device compliance and Microsoft 365 service incidents that may impact managed client tenants. Lighthouse also enables MSPs to set up identity security for their clients by configuring multi-factor authentication and self-service password resets. Finally, it provides insights into threats to Windows 10 devices detected by Microsoft 365 Defender, to help MSPs resolve security issues quickly and efficiently.
Lighthouse is available at no additional cost for all MSPs enrolled in Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, who are serving SMB customers with a Microsoft 365 Premium or Microsoft 365 E3 subscription. Support for Microsoft CSP channel partners includes those transacting directly with Microsoft and those transacting through a distributor.
While Microsoft 365 Lighthouse doesn’t include all of the RMM functionality that some of the third-party vendors on this list offer, the platform offers the benefit of being a Microsoft product, thus offering seamless integrations with the Microsoft Office 365 application suite. For this reason, we recommend it to MSPs serving SMB clients, who want an easy way to manage those clients’ Microsoft-connected environments. It’s important to note, however, that Lighthouse isn’t available in China or Palestinian Authority, or in national clouds.
Intuitive RMM with powerful patch management automation and continuous updates for Office 365.
What Users Like: The intuitive interface and user-friendliness, both on initial setup and throughout ongoing use of the product.
What Users Dislike: Support documentation could be more accessible, and add-ons such as backup require further software installations.
N-able is a cybersecurity provider that specializes in solutions for MSPs. N-able RMM is their solution designed to help MSPs secure and maintain their clients’ systems, as well as ensure that they’re operating as efficiently as possible. The solution’s comprehensive RMM feature set can be fully managed via one central dashboard, and is compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux and Raspberry Pi devices.
N-able RMM offers a comprehensive remote management feature set, including device and network monitoring, troubleshooting with remote access controls, end-to-end ticket management, and integrations with a wide range of security tools, including DNS web filtering, EDR, and password management. But the most critical feature for MSPs looking to manage an Office 365 environment is the solution’s patch automation. With N-able RMM, admins can run on-demand and scheduled patch scans, as well as configure automatic patching with support for the most common third-party applications, and continuous updates for Exchange and Microsoft Office 365.
N-able offers a free trial of their RMM solution, and pricing is available on request via the N-Able sales team.
Customers praise N-able RMM for its ease of use, both during setup and ongoing use, and its intuitive interface. We recommend N-able as a strong solution for any-sized MSP looking to be able to easily manage all of their clients’ applications—including the Office 365 suite—via one user-friendly interface, and particularly those looking for granular policy configuration and powerful automation features.
RMM for small- to mid-sized MSPs with out-of-the-box patch automation for Office 365.
What Users Like: The ease with which they can manage their clients’ infrastructures and the intuitive interface.
What Users Dislike: There’s a learning curve on initial implementation, but the support team helps with this.
NinjaOne (formerly NinjaRMM) is a market-leading IT operations solution that unifies remote management, system backups and IT support. The cloud-based platform is compatible with macOS, Windows and Linux devices and virtual machines, enabling MSPs to remotely monitor and manage all their client’s devices from one central location. It also offers a wide range of out-of-the-box alerts and automation functionality, which allows MSPs to respond to incidents much more quickly, improving the operations of their clients’ systems while saving their own resources.
With NinjaOne, admins can easily configure their patching preferences at a granular level for operating system and application updates. This includes automating the identification of vulnerabilities, the approval and deployment of viable patches, and patch reporting, helping MSPs keep their clients secure whilst giving them up-to-the-minute insights into OS and application health and performance, which can be used for auditing purposes. NinjaOne supports automated patching for over 125 common business apps—including the Office 365 suite. As well as patching, NinjaOne enables MSPs to deploy, uninstall and monitor third-party applications without using a corporate network, VPN or domain. Deployments can be automated or completed on-demand, with auto-remediation for failed deployments, helping to save time and improve efficiency.
NinjaOne offers a free trial of their platform, and pricing is available on request from their sales team. Pricing is based per device.
As well as their core RMM functionality, NinjaOne offers free and unlimited training and support to their customers, enabling them to access help whenever they need it without having to purchase that support as an add-on. Because of this, we recommend NinjaOne as a great remote management solution for small- to mid-sized MSPs that may benefit from increased support from their provider.
Mobile-friendly RMM with powerful patch automation and lots of OOTB functionality for quick deployment.
What Users Like: How reliable and customizable the solution is, its intuitive interface, and the excellent communication from the customer support team.
What Users Dislike: Some users have reported issues with remote connectivity.
Pulseway is a remote IT and asset management tool that allows MSPs to more easily manage their client’s digital environments. The solution offers a lot of out-of-the-box functionality on deployment, as well as Android and iOS mobile apps, which enable admins and IT technicians to access key management functions—including mobile remote control, troubleshooting, and a complete system overview—from anywhere, as soon as the solution is deployed.
As well as its powerful OOTB functionality, Pulseway offers robust automation capabilities that enable admins to configure automatic patching of operating system and application vulnerabilities—including for third-party apps such as the Office 365 suite—both according to a given schedule, and on-demand. As well as rolling out patches, Pulseway offers reports into which patches have been deployed, making it easy for MSPs to ensure that their clients’ Office 365 environments are secure at any given time. These reports also enable them to ensure compliance across their clients’ environments.
Pulseway is available from $32/month, with a mandatory, one-time “advanced onboarding and best practices” session for a fee of $149. Pricing is dependent on the number of devices, with volume-based tiered discounts and optional security add-ons available.
Pulseway’s strong automation and out-of-the-box functionality make it easy to deploy, enabling MSPs to start managing their clients’ networks straight away. On top of this, its mobile-friendly architecture makes it possible for MSPs to support clients from anywhere, at any time. Because of this, we recommend Pulseway for MSPs with a hybrid workforce, that are looking for a user-friendly remote management tool that they can get up and running quickly.
What features should you look for in an RMM solution?
As well as the features specific to Microsoft Office 365 management that we’ve outlined in this guide, RMM tools also offer a broad set of tools to help MSPs monitor and manage their clients’ entire digital environment more generally. These include:
1. Network, hardware and software health monitoring, with data fed back to the MSP in the form of alerts or tickets so they can keep on top of general maintenance tasks.
2. Alert prioritization, to help the MSP know which issues need to be addressed most urgently, and to help reduce alert fatigue. Alerts are commonly prioritized according to the type of issue, and its severity.
3. Customizable reports, which give the MSP clear, detailed insights into the data sent to them in each alert or ticket. These should be accessible via a central administrative console, and admins should be able to generate reports on-demand or schedule them to be created automatically according to a given timeframe.
4. Automatic patching and updating for third-party software. The best solutions also test patches before they deploy them, to make sure they’re secure and viable.