"Can you hear me now?"
That's effectively what our system is saying when we can't reach your UB software. Remember our system is up only if your system is up, so if your server or internet connection goes down it takes our system down with it for the most part. We'll actually be up but without access to your UB data it is unable to function.
We have long had internal alerting for certain outages on your side which would require our manual intervention to confirm the outage, take your payment system offline and let you know about the issue. We're introducing a new, automated way that will more intelligently detect these problems and take the preliminary steps needed to make you aware of the issue and keep your customers from experiencing too much downtime.
Our new uptime monitoring and automated ticket creation will check both the connectivity to your system and then further to your database, if either fail beyond a defined threshold then your payment system will be placed in Offline mode and a support ticket will be created on your behalf to let you know the problem has occurred
How often do we check and how many failures need to happen before action is taken? It is often the case that we notice an error due to your system being unavailable but as soon as we check it out a few minutes later everything has returned to normal. For this reason we have set our checks to happen every 5 minutes and only after 3 consecutive failures will action be taken. This means if you are down for 15 minutes our system will automatically take action. If you just reboot your server or your internet router and go down for a few minutes then our system will detect you are back on on the next check and everything will remain up.
How do you setup the right folks to be notified of problems? This is easy! Login as an admin to our system and click on Settings at the top and then Email. On that page you'll see a new Zendesk Configuration section where you specify a primary contact and up to 4 other contacts to be included on the alert. We will also see the alert. The primary contact is the person best capable of addressing your outage, or at least starting the process. The additional contacts are good for coverage when the primary is out or just overall group coverage for situations like this. We have taken our best guess to pre-fill these contacts in for you based on our relationship history but you'll want to verify and make any changes if necessary.
Please note that only email addresses are accepted. If you want a mobile alert you may want to research what the "email to text" address is for your phone and add that special email address as well.
What do you do if an alert is triggered? This new system specifically monitors problems on your side with your UB software and/or server. This means that when this issue happens it is not a flaw in our system or problem that we are primarily responsible for but rather something you'll have to get taken care of on your side. When your system is placed offline we will create a support ticket and you'll get an email confirmation of that happening. You will need to reply to that support ticket to respond with any updates. We discourage you contacting any one of us individually and please limit your responses to that of the support ticket email: just hit reply to it! The reason is so that ALL of us on our side can see your reply. If you get an alert and then contact Lance to provide an update ... and Lance is traveling or otherwise out of the office ... your reply will not be seen right away and you may experience greater downtime. Replying back to the support ticket allows quite a few of us to see that reply and one of us can hop on and help out.
The new uptime monitoring and automated ticket creation system is a fantastic addition and we believe it will help our clients be more aware of issues that occur on their networks and servers and ultimately lead to a more reliable system by keeping you up which allows us to stay up with you.