RMM Comparison

Agents or Agentless - A Remote Monitoring and Management Comparison

Today's MSP services can have a great deal of operating expenses and when you select the right rmm software options, you may save a lot of money and cut costs. But which one should you choose. Some systems (like Comodo One) use agents while others do not. Here is a brief remote monitoring and management comparison of agent vs agentless programs, to help explain the differences.

What is a Software Agent?

An "agent" is someone acting on behalf of a client (hopefully to benefit the client in some way). Your insurance agent is the "go between" for you and the insurance company. When you need a new policy or want to make changes, you go to the agent and he or she handles all the details including taking payments and claims.

To help simplify this remote monitoring management evaluation, let's say a software agent is the go between for the user and a computer system or network. Agent software is intelligent and capable of acting on its own (autonomous) and learning. An example would be "bots" which scan website codes for search engines. They check out things like keywords and meta descriptions to provide information for the search engines to organize, classify and rate.

Agents provide vital information on what is going on in a network at any given time. In addition, this information is provided in real time and updated frequently.

Agentless Software

remote monitoring and management tools can be agent or agentless, so it makes sense that one type of software uses agents while the other does not, but this is not the case. All RMM software rely on reporting agents of some kind. With agent based rmm programs, one must install the agent separately. However, agentless systems actually contain agents embedded in the program already, so there is no need to install them at every endpoint.

With remote monitoring in network management, agentless software would seem to be the preferred option. After all, why install a separate agent when you can have an agent already built-in? But no so fast. In reality, it's not as simple as it may appear on the surface. First, let's look at the benefits of using agentless software.

Benefits of Going Agentless

  • Simple to get stated. It will not take very long to be up and running.
  • Can integrate with both agent and agentless systems in some cases
  • Fewer data collectors required can result in less maintenance
  • Versatile - you can choose which infrastructure you want for agent and agentless programs.
  • Designed for large, centralized networks
  • Push technology oriented

Problems with Agentless

  • Security can be a problem at times - more firewall rules are required than agent systems.
  • Efficiency can suffer - agentless systems are always in reporting mode, whereas an agent system only reports what is necessary. This can result in increased bandwidth usage.
  • Can only be used on some systems

Good Things about Agent Based Software

You will notice a number of benefits when you go with agent based remote monitoring in network management software. For example:

  • Security - more secure communications than agentless. More trusted for threat management solutions. Often used with agentless patch management applications.
  • Auto shutdown tasks - because agents are located on each end point, they can monitor machine activity and shut them down automatically to save on power, wear and tear, or perform shut downs after security breaches.
  • Pull technology
  • Mobile devices - because an agent is installed on all mobile devices, connectivity is never an issue.
  • Less bandwidth used - agents collect a great deal of information but only transmit what is necessary and often a summary of the findings is all that's transmitted.
  • More comprehensive monitoring

How to Make Your Own Remote Monitoring and Management Comparison

What type of software does your company currently use? If everything is agentless, you may want to stick with this type of program. But do you have the technology in place to handle agentless RMM software? Some programs have very specific requirements which must be met.

If you are looking for the most secure and effective monitoring and reporting software, agent based programs may be the best option. Also, an agent type program like Comodo One is open source and comes with some very useful modules at no charge to you. When you add up the many benefits (and include the fact that Comodo One is free) it can make your remote monitoring management decision, a "no brainer".

If you would like to learn how you can receive a live demo, call us at (972) 649-9012 for more details.