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Remote infrastructure management (RIM) is a method by which an organization's information technology (IT) infrastructure can be monitored and maintained from one or more separate locations. In reality, most infrastructure management is remotely performed. Only during specific hardware failure does an administrator need to appear on-site to make a physical repair to a piece of IT equipment. With such broad-reaching implications, the term can be applied to a number of IT management and administration services such as help desk or network administration.
When considering location, remote infrastructure management can take place in the next room, across town, or in another city or country. Many larger organizations contract RIM services to deal with the administration of the organization's many IT infrastructure components. Some RIM service providers are located offshore. With smaller companies, however, a contractor may be employed that monitors the IT for several small companies in a town or region and may do much of the work from his own office or home.
The details of remote infrastructure management may depend on the specific IT component where management is required. In a help desk, for example, an organization's employees call in for support, where they may receive such remote administration in the form of checklists to perform to try and resolve the problem. With a full RIM service offering, the help desk professional will also have network access to gain control of a workstation or servers for support purposes. Other IT components, such as the local area network (LAN), as well as any network border routers and protocols, will also be managed remotely by an administrator. In this way, security protocols may be established or updated without the administrator having to be present at the network devices.
From a higher-level perspective, the remote infrastructure management process goes beyond support and management services, however. The entire IT infrastructure can be monitored by a RIM service provider to ensure a level of general fault tolerance should any portion of the infrastructure fail for some reason. The method provides a proactive approach to IT management, where the RIM provider performs periodic auditing of the various infrastructure components to ensure a more stable environment.
Remote infrastructure management services are a complete offering in this way, designed to cover every aspect of IT management and support and reduce the expenses an organization faces for its IT infrastructure. Some of the cost benefits to an organization engaging in such a RIM service include those involved in employee recruitment and continued education. While through a RIM service provider, a greater percentage of the work can be done remotely, a shortcoming exists when a critical hardware failure may leave an organization waiting extended periods for on-site support.