Tech Support Cracks the Case: Tech Support Teamwork Helps Keep Customer Data Secure
Created: 14 Apr 2009 | Updated: 04 Aug 2009 | 1 comment
Four engineers work together
Sometimes it takes a team of tech support engineers to make sure customers get exactly the help they need. In this story, four Symantec tech support engineers worked together to make sure a state agency’s Symantec security solutions were running smoothly.
The trouble began when the customer downloaded the latest Symantec AntiVirus software upgrade to accommodate some clients running Microsoft Windows Vista. The recommended procedure is to perform an in-place upgrade rather than a full reinstallation. The upgrade worked correctly, but since the computer running the AntiVirus console was still running Microsoft Windows XP, it continued to display the original version number.
Thinking the installation had gone wrong, the customer next tried a full reinstallation, but without rebooting the machine. “There are some drivers which don’t get fully removed until you reboot,” notes Aaron, one of the tech support teammates who worked with this customer. “Because of that, he couldn’t reinstall correctly. That’s when we first heard from him.”
Clients go missing; LiveUpdate fails
First-line support personnel explained the need to reboot. The customer did, and the installation was successful. However, that led to some new problems. For one thing, the software was no longer recognizing some of the client machines on the network. In addition, LiveUpdate was not running properly, so the agency was at risk due to out-of-date virus definitions.
Symantec support engineers Caleb and Dan, experts in LiveUpdate, responded to the customer. The problem turned out to be interference from the company’s firewall, a Symantec Gateway Security 1600 appliance. In scanning LiveUpdate files, the firewall was changing the code ever so slightly, and AntiVirus no longer recognized the files as genuine. The solution was to change the settings in the firewall to allow LiveUpdate files to download without being scanned.
A formal case review
At this point, the frustrated customer balked at removing firewall protection. “He thought he was being told that Symantec AntiVirus and the Symantec Gateway 1600 were not compatible,” Aaron recalls. In addition, the customer had received
contradictory advice along the way, due to a communications breakdown when he spoke to front-line support.
“I took the case and did a pretty large formal case review, figuring out step-by-step what he was told and when there were things he shouldn’t have been told,” Aaron says. His methodical analysis of the case helped rebuild the customer’s trust. “Once that was done, I contacted him and said: ‘OK, here’s what we really need to do.’”
The customer needed to change the firewall settings as instructed, and also copy security certificates to the client machines so AntiVirus would recognize them. Once he completed these steps, his immediate problems were solved.
Solving a problem before it’s reported
Aaron knew there was one last place the customer might run into trouble, though he hadn’t encountered it yet. “The customer had Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange on this machine,” he says.
Mail Security shares some files with AntiVirus, and because the customer had used removal tools to uninstall AntiVirus, Aaron knew some of the files Mail Security needed were probably gone, too. “I let him know I wanted to get him an experienced Mail Security tech to deal with that side of the issue,” he says.
So Aaron contacted Nathan, a Symantec technical support engineer and Mail Security expert. Nathan noted that the customer would need to manually remove and then reinstall Mail Security to fully resolve the problem. “I sat on the phone with him to make sure it was configured the way he wanted it,” Nathan says. Thanks to the earlier conversation with Aaron, there were no surprises.
The customer’s security solutions are now working without a hitch. In a follow-up email he noted that Dan, Aaron, Nathan, Caleb, and the other tech support team members “epitomized the best qualities of customer support.”