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  1. #1
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    Outsourced Support

    What information (server logins, etc) is mandatory that you give to outsourced tech support companies for them to manage servers and support clients?

  2. #2
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    I'm sure that would varry depending on the type of support you outsource.
    Gary Jones

    BlueFur.com - Canada Web Hosting

  3. #3
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    It may be best to contact the Outsource company in question, and actually ask them specifically - rather than asking us a blanket question which may vary from company to company.

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
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    Good question - it's extremely scary to give out server information like root passwords to outsourcing companies that are operating solely offshore. You can't necessarily hold them responsible if the server's passwords get changed by a disgruntled employee who doesn't notify them.

    We ask for the admin (SSH), root, and the control panel passwords that are handled by "password masters" that log our guys into servers. This isn't the best way but one of the ways we lock down access. In addition, even though we're a US company (you *can* hold us responsible), we have an Indian branch subsidiary formally recognized that keeps our employees under Non-Disclosure agreement binding.

    Keep in mind, India is a land of bribery and paltry law enforcement so we take other measures (knowing everything we can about our employees - from background checks to having all the information we can handle about them) as our own way of enforcing this.

    I might sound absurd - but root passwords are unbelievably important and shouldn't be thrown around. Happy outsourcing! :-)

    Roj
    Web Hosting? Been there. Done that.
    I am niyogi.

  5. #5
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    Ask them to give you chatlogs and email copies of every support request they attend, give them a write-up to convince pre-sales customers why your hosting is better, and if they dunt have an answer to a particular question ask them to inform the person-with request to email it directly to the admin.

    Thanks, Yaser.

  6. #6
    I am sure there are others, but so far from what "I" have found, tripodsupport and bobcares are the more reputable support companies, and I think I would have no problem giving either what they needed. (I haven't made a decision yet on which to go with, still investigating)
    Just my .02

  7. #7
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    visit www.thewhir.com you may want to ask their support your questions re: the topic.

    thanks, Yaser.

  8. #8
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    niyogi,

    try to register yourself at www.thewhir.com
    you will get alot of queries or visitors even customers if they list your support company!

    Good Luck, Yaser.

  9. #9
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    Yaser:

    Thanks for the tip - fantastic idea that we are now considering amongst the other handful of marketing methods to use.

    Roj
    Web Hosting? Been there. Done that.
    I am niyogi.

  10. #10
    bobcares is offline [email protected]
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    Originally posted by niyogi

    Keep in mind, India is a land of bribery and paltry law enforcement so we take other measures (knowing everything we can about our employees - from background checks to having all the information we can handle about them) as our own way of enforcing this.

    I might sound absurd
    Roj

    Yes you sure do sound absurd.
    You have no right to say a statement like this to people of any country.

    US has had an Enron. It does not mean all corporates or people there are bad.
    And if you do feel that India is so bad then please do not run your company from here.

    Lastly, seeing your name I am sure you are Indian yourself. I have never seen any of my customers anywhere in the world say a statement like this about India.

    We have worked with government and corporates in India and have never faced any problem.


    Regards
    Amar
    A student once asked his teacher, "Master, what is enlightenment?"
    The master replied, "When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep. When you need care, come to bobcares...."

  11. #11
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    Amar:

    Pleased to meet you - I'm sorry you are offended about this statement. I'm stating the truth as I see it having lived both in the US and India. I believe I qualify quite well to make statements like this. My father was born and raised in India - loves the place and wishes he could go back (unfortunately he can't having had a heart transplant which restricts him). He's a brilliant man that thinks pragmatically. He's now in Houston and advises me on various issues that are not that problematic in the US but business-threatening in India. Case in point: employee non-disclosure agreements and their enforcement can be a much larger problem in India than in the US. It's just not enough to have an employee in India sign a non-disclosure agreement and be confident that information will stay in the organization. In the US, even a verbal NDA can be adequate. Funny you mention Enron: because NDAs can work in both directions.

    You might have never faced a problem working with governments and corporates in India but that doesn't mean that you're safe when you could face one. In the US, companies and individuals rely on signatures and official documents that "hold water" when it's necessary to refer to them.

    The problems emerge when disputes arise over the tiny details - something that most Indian companies fail to pay attention to. I've been in the web design and hosting industry for many years now - let me tell you that I can easily pick out the ones that were outsourced to Indian web design companies versus the very very professional ones designed by their American counterparts. This is just one example - but I can point out many others.

    I believe that India has a lot to offer in the global business area - particularly in outsourcing. I entered this business to bring the best of various worlds to improve it (after hearing a majority of complaints - not just in outsourced web hosting technical support).

    Fortunately, many of our customers ask for a Service Level Agreement that is extremely important when it comes to protecting their server information. They can, quite literally, take our company to court here in Texas to settle any disputes that *might* arise. We don't expec that to happen but we understand this to be a benefit when making a decision on whether or not to outsource a very fundamental part of their business.

    Many of my own employees understand India to be the land that I claim it is. They are Indian and they face difficulties that spawn from it being this way. Case in point: an employee of mine filed for an health insurance claim that was awarded to him eight months after it was filed. When he deposited the check from the health *insurance* company, it bounced. Is this a unique case? Perhaps. But I've seen this happen on many levels during my two month stay here.

    Amar, I think your company is a pioneer in outsourced technical support and I wish you good luck with it's growth. There's room for another player, wouldn't you say? ;-)

    With Wishes,
    Roj
    Web Hosting? Been there. Done that.
    I am niyogi.

  12. #12
    bobcares is offline [email protected]
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    Hi!
    My simple point was not to blame a country for anything.
    India like all the other countries has it's own good and bad points.

    Signing an SLA is a must if you an Indian or US company. If you are in business, keep yourself and your customers safe.

    We for example have been doing it from the time we started. And the good thing I like about it is that so many support companies have copied out SLA too...
    Once somebody showed an SLA to me of another famous support company which states that the client must pay the fees on time to bobcares :-D

    It is in the interest of the business to have the legal aspects perfect. In the end ofcourse more than legal it is the ethics of the people which matters. People with poor ethics can still find loopholes. The problem there is not with the law, but with many of us who think it is OK to do things the wrong way for money.

    We have had many bad experiences in the past with American customers who take free service and run away without paying. But we still like working with the other American customers. It would be unfair on our part to say that all Americans do not pay and look for discounts always. There are many many great American customers too we have... They are the reason we grow and we give our 100% to them.

    As far as competition goes, I have been saying it from day one, competition is great. It simply means that an industry is established... Only aspect competition should be healthy and fair. Welcome to the ever growing gang of tech support guys...


    Regards
    Amar
    A student once asked his teacher, "Master, what is enlightenment?"
    The master replied, "When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep. When you need care, come to bobcares...."

  13. #13
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    Amar:

    Well said - I wasn't *blaming* India. I was pointing out some of the "bad points" that you are talking about that make doing business with companies in India an arduous and risky decision to make.

    Having an SLA is one thing but whether or not the SLA holds water in the courts is much more important. Indians know that India is famous for the loopholes you mention - give a cop some money in India and you are in the clear. I've heard it time and time again from Indian citizens themselves that "in India, you can get anything - as long as you have money". This amounts to bribery.

    Amar, I know that countries have their faults. I'm highlighting two (bribery and paltry law enforcement) that are important when making a decision about global outsourcing. These two issues are widespread (whether you'd like to admit it or not) and sometimes the cornerstones of what can harm businesses.

    My other business is in globally outsourced web design. (Who knows how the heck it's possible for an Indian web design company to understand the tastes of their client sitting in Corpus Christi, Texas.) I've seen cases where after receiving a down-payment from the client, the outsourcing company does an absolutely ridiculous job of completing the website! But the American client has no real way to take appropriate legal action.

    Surely, there are also US clients that don't pay for the services that are rendered. But this just proves that outsourcing is still young and there are holes that make doing business in the global arena a risky choice.

    Roj
    Web Hosting? Been there. Done that.
    I am niyogi.

  14. #14
    bobcares is offline [email protected]
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    Yes, I agree.

    We, for example, have a company in the US too.
    We asked laywers both in the US as well as India and found out that the legal issues must be referred to the United Nations Commission on International Law
    attribration rules.

    A customer can't sue you in his local court and neither can you sue him in your country.

    This is how international businesses runs. There is no question of dishonesty here.

    If people want to be dishonest they would be whereever they are.
    The focus should be on getting the right company with right ethics.

    In the case of the customer you have mentioned, he can still go to court if he has a contract and a valid proof of payment to the web design company. He must also have the points on what was to be delivered and what he received. If the deliverables were not given the Indian company is bound to pay.

    Regards
    Amar
    A student once asked his teacher, "Master, what is enlightenment?"
    The master replied, "When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep. When you need care, come to bobcares...."

  15. #15
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    Chill out both of you.

    We dont want a battle of the 'Supports' hehe . Both your companies are great and ever country experiences the types of probs you both are mentioning.
    "Web Hosting is not just about selling space, it is about facilitating customers needs with your plans and supporting the customer for a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship."- Yaser

  16. #16
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    Chill out both of you.

    We dont want a battle of the 'Supports' hehe (jokes). Both your companies are great and every country experiences the types of probs you both are mentioning. I must say most of the upcoming companies are using India for their base and have some sort of setup in USA. Gone are the days where we want everything American .

    Good service can be provided from anywhere in the world after all its the service that counts not the people or country.
    "Web Hosting is not just about selling space, it is about facilitating customers needs with your plans and supporting the customer for a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship."- Yaser

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by niyogi
    Good question - it's extremely scary to give out server information like root passwords to outsourcing companies that are operating solely offshore. You can't necessarily hold them responsible if the server's passwords get changed by a disgruntled employee who doesn't notify them.
    Yet according to your site, your "Support Engineers" are located in India and they would have root passwords -
    From here -
    Why are Tripod Support Engineers located in India? Why Kolkata?

    Hailing from a country with a population of over a billion inhabitants, Indian engineers are highly qualified, hard-working professionals that have been trained extensively in an assortment of technical fields. Server administration and customer care can be handled remotely by these engineers at a fraction of the cost of in-house personnel who need to be trained and staffed 24 hours a day. To ensure quality work ethic and principle, Tripod Support pays well above national average salary levels to our engineers and provides generous bonus incentives quarterly . . .
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
    Host Multiple Domains on Fast Australian Servers!!

  18. #18
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    Hence "life"...
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    Aaron Ferguson - Administrator
    DroveNet Services - www.drovenet.com
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  19. #19
    Originally posted by Aussie Bob
    Yet according to your site, your "Support Engineers" are located in India and they would have root passwords -
    Okay, I'm drunk and I Still don't see where that quote says that their "support engineers" have root passwords. In fact, it doesn't. Please provide the actual quote that says this, otherwise, please retract your post.

  20. #20
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    It doesn't. Even his quote doesn't, he just says it does.

  21. #21
    In response to the original poster:

    Server root passwords, data center access (e.g. the planet's orbit username and password), domain reseller access (e.g. enom's master username and password), support desk access (e.g. kayako's master username and password) are some of the items we ask for in order to do our best work.

    In response to everyone else:

    As much I drool over the opportunity to have a public discussion about ethics and opportunities with industry veterans such as bobcares and newcomers like tripodsupport, I'll wait until this becomes a separate thread
    <<< Please see Forum Guidelines for signature setup. >>>

  22. #22
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    Wow, I didn't even give out that much access.

  23. #23
    Keep in mind though, that Touch Support offers more of an L1/L2 support hybrid rather than typical L1 outsourced support.

    Root passwords are absolutely necessary in order to support a user past 'How do I check my email', which becomes 'my email no longer works because cPanel updated something and broke it'. Master access to the support desk is necessary for companies like ours that either a) list support technicians as individuals (rather than 'Thank you, Support Department'), b) are responsible for maintaining the installation of the support desk. Data Center access is necessary to bypass any lip the dc technicans might give you when calling for reboots, hardware exchanges, etc. Domain system access simplifies updating things such as nameservers for end-users.
    <<< Please see Forum Guidelines for signature setup. >>>

  24. #24
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    Wow...this thread has been revived!

    Root passwords are not always necessary - some of our customers opt to give this information out if they expect us to do (as TS-Dave says) work past typical "I forgot my password." type issues.

    Some of our largest customers have designed customized components of their proprietary helpdesk systems to allow us to operate as effectively as possible instead of using tools like Kayako that work well as simple trouble ticket systems.

    In response to the handling of root passwords as sensitive information, this information is sensitive whether you hand it over to a company that is operating solely out of the US or solely based in India. Most customers feel comfortable about doing so in the prior case because they can litigate if necessary. Being an American company, this is also possible with us as well. (Naturally, we hope that it wouldn't ever need to come to this.) Not a compelling argument I know, but still one that acts as the main go-or-no points when it comes down to making a decision.

    Roj
    Web Hosting? Been there. Done that.
    I am niyogi.

  25. #25
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    Information such as this is unfortunately neccessary to hand out. If I was a datacentre, I would operate a fallback option where my clients, if they provided proof of identification such as a faxed passport, would have their root passwords reset and sent to them only - in the event of anything going wrong.

    Just ensure it is a company you trust. And if everything goes tits up then, like I said before, that's "life".
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    Aaron Ferguson - Administrator
    DroveNet Services - www.drovenet.com
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