Pulseway Review and Alternatives

Organizations looking to stay up-to-date on technology while maintaining efficiency on issues related to skills supply, quality of service, cost, and risk depend on managed service providers (MSPs) to realize these goals. SMBs, nonprofits, and government agencies outsource critical business functions to MSPs so they can focus on improving their services without worrying about downtimes or service interruptions. MSPs remotely and proactively monitor and manage client endpoints, applications, and network infrastructure under a clearly defined Service Level Agreement (SLA) to identify and eliminate problems before they impact business operations.

Traditionally this function is usually performed on-premise, but many MSPs and IT departments are performing this function remotely using integrated SaaS applications. These applications are known as Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) applications. RMM applications are designed to increase IT operational efficiency by providing an arsenal of IT management tools such as remote desktop monitoring, hardware, and network health visualization, and application management, among others. Some of the factors to consider when choosing RMM solutions for your business include ease of onboarding, integration and scaling, strong security and patch management features, flexible pricing model, automation capabilities, and the ability to manage mobile devices, among others. This is where Pulseway RMM software comes into play. In this article, we will review the Pulseway RMM application and also consider some possible Pulseway alternatives.

Overview of Pulseway RMM

Pulseway RMM home page

Pulseway RMM software is a modern IT Management solution that gives MSPs and IT departments complete visibility and control of their IT infrastructure from anywhere. Pulseway is a cloud-hosted solution that was designed as a mobile app first. Every remote management function that Pulseway is capable of performing can be handled using a mobile device. This allows organizations to monitor and manage their network from anywhere.

With Pulseway, you can remotely monitor and manage Windows, Linux, and OSX systems and any other application using the monitoring API from any smartphone, tablet, or web browser.

Key features and capabilities include:

  • Remote Control Pulseway’s Remote Control enables you to connect to all monitored computers and control any remote or console session from your desktop or mobile device.
  • Remote Support Provides a next-generation user support platform to reduce the workload of your support team and achieve efficiency in helpdesk services.
  • Patch Management Provides vulnerability and patch management functions to keep your systems and software secure and up-to-date.
  • IT Automation Enables the automation of repetitive IT tasks and automatic fixing of issues before they impact business operations.
  • Server Application Monitoring Provides tools for monitoring and managing server performance and uptime from anywhere and at any time.
  • Backup and Recovery Provides cloud backup features for data backups and recovery activities.

Installation and Deployment

Being a SaaS-based application, there are no installation requirements other than the usual signup process. The signup process is quick and easy and will not take more than five minutes. Once the signup process is completed, you’ll be required to install a Pulseway mobile app. Pulseway’s mobile apps are available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. After starting the Pulseway app, you’ll need to enter and validate your account credentials.

You may also be required to install Pulseway local agents specific to the device or service you wish to monitor. Before you can manage your computers using Pulseway, the Pulseway agents need to be deployed to your computers. This makes it easy for you to quickly see all the IT endpoints and mass deploy Pulseway with pre-configured built-in policies.

If you choose to install an on-premises server, then you would need Windows Server OS and an SQL Server database. Network requirements include a public IP address and a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.

Infrastructure and Asset Management

Pulseway RMM provides all the capabilities needed to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot workstations, servers, and network devices across your entire environment. Pulseway’s remote control feature, for example, enables you to connect to all monitored computers and servers and control them from your desktop or mobile device. Pulseway also supports Debian, MacOS, Raspbian, Unix, Windows, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware, and other virtualization tools. You can also monitor any application using the monitoring API and network devices such as routers, switches, printers, and more.

Pulseway can be used to connect to various cloud platforms such as Google Cloud, AWS, or Microsoft Azure cloud and manage virtual infrastructures while simultaneously using the software to monitor and manage locally-deployed servers such as a domain controller, an exchange server, and a host of other apps and services. Pulseway infrastructure and asset management features give your team the tools to deliver efficient, effective, and responsive IT support. You can lock, log out, suspend, kill processes, and restart your non-Windows-based assets from the mobile client.

Professional Services Automation (PSA)

PSA feature provides business management solutions for the management of IT support departments or Managed Services Providers (MSPs) operations. Typical PSA functions include project management and documentation, time and expense tracking, finance and billing, customer relationship management (CRM), and service desk, among others. All of these can be found in Pulseway RMM. The help desk and ticketing solutions are also integrated with Pulseway RMM so your team can manage tickets without switching applications.

The PSA supports the activities of an MSP by providing the professional business management tools and processes required to support and meet client expectations and service agreements. It is integrated with QuickBooks and Xero for bookkeeping and account management. It allows you to export invoices from PSA into your accounting software and receive payments against them. The project management dashboard gives a bird’s-eye view of all projects to highlight any issues.

Mobile Manager

The real power of Pulseway lies in its ability to remotely support the management of IT infrastructure and applications from a mobile device. The Pulseway mobile app makes it easy to respond to common helpdesk requests from an Android and iOS device, including restart, log-out, and terminal actions on Windows, Mac OS, and Unix-based platforms. The mobile app comes with a feature known as “Enter Maintenance Mode”, which you can use to disable notifications on a networked device while you are making changes. This reduces unneeded warnings and duplicative efforts, as other members of your support team can see the issue is being actively worked on.

MSPs and IT departments committed to keeping mean time to resolution (MTTR) as low as possible will find the  Pulseway mobile app capabilities very appealing as it enables them to quickly respond to outages before it hampers business operations and service availability.

Security and Patch Management

The problem with RMM tools is that the very features that make them powerful—real-time monitoring of remote control features, and the ability to manipulate remote machines directly from a mobile device also make them a valuable target for hackers. If you are in constant contact with your clients via an RMM tool, any slight breach in security can give attackers high-level access to your clients’ systems.

Interestingly, Pulseway comes with security features that ensure your business is not exposed to risk.

Some of these security features include:

  • Vulnerability Scanner Pulseway’s automated vulnerability scanner offers internal and external vulnerability scanning and alerts you to identify vulnerabilities in real time.
  • Phishing and ransomware protection Phishing is one of the most common delivery mechanisms used by cybercriminals to spread ransomware. Pulseway combats that with a cloud-based solution that detects and blocks phishing attacks before they get to your inbox.
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery Pulseway provides MSPs and IT teams with a fully integrated cloud backup tool that allows them to schedule backups, manage backup and recovery jobs, view backup status, and add backup tasks for both virtual and physical servers and workstations with ease, all from within the app.
  • Patch and Update Management Pulseway’s patch and update management feature automates the patching process with policies and schedules for installing, uninstalling, and patching your operating systems, third-party software, and custom software titles to keep your endpoints secure.
  • Security Awareness Training Pulseway also provides security awareness training that includes phishing simulation to empower your team to spot and stop phishing threats.

Furthermore, Pulseway was designed to prevent unauthorized access to your Pulseway platform by implementing two-factor authentication (2FA). It also ensures that your session is terminated after 15 minutes of idleness, without saving your login details. This means that you’ll have to log back in to continue your work. This may seem irritating for most people, but given the nature of the data at risk of being exposed, this level of security seems justified and is fairly easy to work around. Pulseway also provides a cybersecurity checklist that when followed will minimize your exposure to avoidable security risks.

Pulseway RMM default dashboard

Dashboard, Reporting, and Integration

Pulseway’s use of colorful icons and HTML5-based UI is visually appealing and are easy on the eyes and also serves to organize its many tools and features. The intuitive interface gives you real-time actionable detailed information on servers, workstations, and network devices.

The Pulseway reporting feature is not that exciting. At present, several in-built reports exist, but there’s no way to customize, modify or create new ones. The reports display on-screen and can be sent by email. In terms of integration, Pulseway provides REST API functionality that makes it possible to push and pull information from outside the app when required.

Licensing and Price Plans

Pulseway RMM operates a tiered pricing mechanism and charges per endpoint. It offers monthly, yearly, and 3-year billing options with discounts for longer commitments. All new Pulseway customers also need to buy an Advanced Onboarding and Best Practices session to get started on the right foot with their remote monitoring and management efforts.

Pulseway offers you a free 14-day trial that includes RMM, PSA, Patch Management, and Network monitoring.

Concluding Remarks

Like they say, “there is no such thing as a perfect product”, and Pulseway is certainly not one. Just like every other product, it has its strengths as well as weaknesses. For example, the reporting lacks flexibility and limits one’s ability to customize or create new reports. Pulseway also requires assets to be networked before they can be managed and SNMP support is difficult to configure. And when it comes to monitoring database applications, only the Microsoft SQL Server database is supported for monitoring.

Nonetheless, Pulseway is certainly one of the best RMM tools out there, especially for medium and large-scale businesses with fairly complex network infrastructure and asset requirements. With a strong focus on remote monitoring and managing assets from a mobile device, several organizations trust and rely on it to monitor their environments, collaborate across teams, and respond to issues. MSPs and  IT departments that want to keep mean time to resolution (MTTR) as low as possible should give it serious consideration.

The Best Pulseway Alternatives

If you figured out that Pulseway is not best suited for your business and environment, below are some possible Pulseway RMM alternatives for your consideration:

  1. Atera RMM A SaaS-based solution and Pulseway competitor that enables monitoring, management, and automation of IT networks from a single console. Atera combines RMM, PSA, and Remote Access into one unified application with a simple pricing model. A free trial is available on request.
  2. N-able RMM A cloud-based RMM solution that provides a centralized platform for MSPs to effectively manage their client infrastructure. N‑able was specifically designed with easy onboarding in mind to get you up and running quickly, making it appealing to MSPs who want to hit the ground running. A free 30-day trial is available on request.
  3. ITarian RMM Also a cloud-based RMM platform that lets you manage network endpoints, computers, mobile devices, and the entire IT infrastructure remotely from a centralized console. ITarian provides a simple affordable per-endpoint pricing model to keep your costs down. ITarian is free for 50 devices but once your business grows beyond that you’ll be charged $1.25 for all endpoints.
  4. NinjaOne RMM This is another popular unified cloud-based RMM platform that combines endpoint monitoring and management, patch management, PSA, and strong security features. If you are looking for a good alternative to Pulseway, NinjaOne is certainly worth considering. A free trial is available on request.
  5. Barracuda RMM Α cloud-based RMM platform from Barracuda Networks—a company with a great reputation for developing security products. Barracuda RMM’s strong focus on security and customizable reporting capabilities, among other features, enables MSPs to demonstrate value to customers. A free trial is also available on request.