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SonicOS 5.9 Admin Guide

Virtual Assist (NSA Series and Above Only)

Configuring Virtual Assist
(NSA Series and Above)

Virtual Assist Overview

Virtual Assist allows you to support customer technical issues without having to be on-site with the customer. This capability serves as an immense time-saver for support personnel, while adding flexibility in how they can respond to support needs. You can allow or invite customers to join a queue to receive support, then virtually assist each customer by remotely taking control of a customer’s computer to diagnose and remedy technical issues.

Virtual Assist > Status

Virtual Assist allows customers to log in to receive technical support by adding their names to a queue. The status of customers awaiting support through Virtual Assist can be viewed on the Virtual Assist > Status page.

The status of each customer specifies whether the customer is currently receiving Virtual Assist support or their position in the queue to receive support. The Status page can also provide a summary of each customer’s issue, and the name of the assigned technician. The technician or administrator providing Virtual Assist must be located inside the local network of the appliance.

A customer can be manually removed from the queue by clicking the Logout icon on the right-side of the customer’s listing.

Virtual Assist > Settings

To maximize the flexibility of the Virtual Assist feature, take the time to properly adjust all of the available settings. To configure settings within the SonicOS management interface, go to the Virtual Assist > Settings page.

Topics:

General Section

The General Section allows you to specify how customers access Virtual Assist.

Topics:

Providing Access to Customers

The first decision you need to make is how to provide access for customers to gain support through Virtual Assist. There are two options:

Provide an Assistance Code for customers to enter when accessing the portal after receiving an invitation. By setting a global assistance code for customers, you can restrict who enters the system to request help. The code can be a maximum of eight (8) characters, and can be entered in the Assistance Code field. Customers receive the code through an email provided by the technician or administrator.
Enable virtual assist support without the need for an invitation. To allow customers to request Virtual Assist support without needing to provide a code, leave the Assistance Code field blank and select the Enable Support without invitation check box.

Creating a Disclaimer

The Disclaimer field allows you to create a written message that customers must read and agree to before receiving support. If a disclaimer is set, it must be accepted by each customer before they can enter the Virtual Assist queue.

Providing a URI for Customer Access

The Customer Access Link field allows you to set a URL for customer access to your SSL-VPN appliance from outside your network. If no URL is entered, the support invitation to customers uses the same URL the technician uses to access the appliance.

* 
NOTE: You should configure this URL if the SSL-VPN appliance is accessed through a different URL from outside your network.

Redirecting Users to a Support Login Page

I

f customers navigate to the technician login page, you have the option to display a link there to redirect them to the support login page. To do this, enable the Display Virtual Assist link from Portal Login check box. Support without invitation should be enabled, if you want customers to be able to request help from the login page.

Notification Settings Section

In the Notification Settings section, you can customize various aspects of the invitation and technician notification settings.

Topics:

Creating a Technician E-Mail List

All email address entries in the Technician E-mail List field receive a notification email when a customer enters the support queue (uninvited). Up to 10 emails can be added to this list, with each separated by a semicolon.

Customizing the Support Invitation

You can customize the subject line of support invitation emails by entering the desired text in the Subject of Invitation field. You can use any or all of these variables:

Technician Name: %EXPERTNAME%
Customer Message in the Invitation: %CUSTOMERMSG%
Link for Support: %SUPPORTLINK%
Link to SSL-VPN: %ACCESSLINK%

The default invitation is %EXPERTNAME% has sent you a support invitation.

Customizing the Invitation Message

Virtual Assist provides a default invitation message for the body of the assistance invitation. The same variables used for the Subject of Invitation also can be used in the Invitation Message field. You can customize the body of the invitation email by entering the desired text. The message can be a maximum length of 800 characters.

Configuring Email Settings

To use the email invitation capabilities of Virtual Assist, you must configure the appropriate Mail Server and From E-Mail Address settings on the Log > Automation page. Clicking the link in the To change E-Mail settings, please go to Log > Automation page displays the Log > Automation page. Scroll to the Mail Server Settings section.

After you have set up the mail server, click the Accept button and then return to the Virtual Assist > Settings page to finish the configuration.

Request Settings Section

In the Request Settings section, you configure various settings related to support request limits.

Topics:

Limiting Queue Size

The Maximum Requests field allows you to limit the number of customers requests allowed in the queue. When the limit is reached, new requests are blocked, thereby limiting the number of customers awaiting assistance in the queue at one time.

In the Limit Message field, you can to enter text to be displayed as a message to customers requesting help when the maximum requests limit has been reached and there are currently no available spots in the queue. Virtual Assist provides a default message: Maximum queue size reached, please try again later.

Limiting Requests from a Single IP

Sometimes, a customer may request help and be placed into the queue multiple times, thereby tieing up the queue. To prevent the same customer from requesting Virtual Assist support multiple times at once, you can limit the number of requests coming from a single IP. Enter the desired limit in the Maximum Requests from One IP field. Enter 0 (default) for no limitation.

Limiting the Time a Customer is in a Queue

To avoid customers waiting indefinitely for Virtual Assist support during high-volume periods, you can set a time limit (in minutes) for how long a customer can remain in the queue without receiving support. Set this limit by entering the desired number of minutes in the Pending Request Expired field. Enter 0 (default) if you do not wish to set a limit.

Restriction Settings Section

If you encounter requests from unwanted or illegitimate sources, you can block requests from defined IP addresses in the Restriction Settings section.

To add a source IP address or network to block.
1
Click the Add button. The Admin Address dialog displays.

2
From the Source Address Type drop-down menu, select either:
IP Address
IP Network
3
Enter the IP Address from which you wish to deny support requests in the IP Address field.

4
If you selected IP Network in Step 2, the Admin Address dialog has an additional field:

Enter the subnet mask in the Subnet Mask field.

5
Click OK to submit the information. The newly blocked address will now appear in the Deny Request From Defined Address table.

Completing the Configuration

When you have completed all necessary adjustments to the Virtual Assist > Settings page, click the Accept button to lock-in your settings. Click Cancel to revert to the most recent settings.

Using Virtual Assist

Topics:

Virtual Assist Stand Alone Client (VASAC) Download and Install

To use Virtual Assist, both the technician and customer must download the Virtual Assist Stand Alone Client (VASAC) from the portal page. From the portal page, the technician can complete all the necessary login parameters, then download the client installer by clicking the Virtual Assist button. You can double-click the downloaded installer to automatically log in to the firewall.

The customer can download and install the VASAC from the customer login page if the option, Enable Support without Invitation, has been previously enabled.

If the option is disabled, to download and launch the VASAC, customers must click the provided link from the invitation email sent by the technician.

Virtual Assist Login and Connection

If the Enable Support without Invitation setting is enabled and customers have installed the VASAC, they can proceed to log in to Virtual Assist. The customer must select the Customer icon on the left of the panel, and then complete the required information fields.

The customer can then click the Login button to enter the waiting queue for Virtual Assist.

When the technician has installed the VASAC, they can proceed to login to Virtual Assist. The technician selects the Technician tab, completes the required login parameters, and clicks the Login button.

The main panel then displays for the technician. From this panel, the technician can double-click Start from the pop-up menu to initiate the support tunnel with the customer.

When the tunnel is established, the technician can view and control the customer’s desktop, chat with the customer, and transfer files, if necessary. Control can be terminated at anytime by terminating the support application.

Configuring Virtual Assist Settings

Virtual Assist > Settings

To maximize the flexibility of the Virtual Assist feature, take the time to properly adjust all of the available settings. To configure settings within the SonicOS management interface, go to the Virtual Assist > Settings page.

Topics:

General Settings Section

The General Settings section allows you to specify how customers access Virtual Assist.

Topics:

Providing Access to Customers

You provide access for customers to gain support through Virtual Assist in these ways:

Provide a global Assistance Code for customers to enter when accessing the portal after receiving an invitation. By setting a global assistance code for customers, you can restrict who enters the system to request help. Enter a maximum of eight (8) characters in the Assistance Code field. Customers receive the code through an email provided by the technician or administrator.
Enable virtual assist support without the need for an invitation. To allow customers to request Virtual Assist support without needing to provide a code, leave the Assistance Code field blank and select the Enable Support without invitation check box.
* 
NOTE: If this check box is not selected, customers may only receive assistance by being invited via email from a technician.

Creating a Disclaimer

The Disclaimer field allows you to create a written message that customers must read and agree to before receiving support. If a disclaimer is set, it must be accepted by each customer before entering the Virtual Assist queue.

Providing a URI for Customer Access

The Customer Access Link field allows you to set a URL for customer access to your SSL-VPN appliance from outside your network. If no URL is entered, the support invitation to customers uses the same URL the technician uses to access the appliance.

* 
NOTE: You should configure this URL if the SSL-VPN appliance is accessed through a different URL from outside your network.

Redirecting Users to a Support Login Page

If customers navigate to the technician login page, you have the option to display a link there to redirect them to the support login page. To do this, enable the Display Virtual Assist link from Portal Login checkbox. Support without invitation should be enabled, if you want customers to be able to request help from the login page.

Notification Settings Section

In the Notification Settings section, you can customize various aspects of the invitation and technician notification settings.

Topics:

Creating a Technician E-Mail List

All email address entries in the Technician E-mail List field receive a notification email when a customer enters the support queue (uninvited). Up to 10 emails can be added to this list, with each separated by a semicolon.

Customizing the Support Invitation

You can customize the subject line of support invitation emails by entering the desired text in the Subject of Invitation field. You can use any or all of these variables:

Technician Name: %EXPERTNAME%
Customer Message in the Invitation: %CUSTOMERMSG%
Link for Support: %SUPPORTLINK%
Link to SSL-VPN: %ACCESSLINK%

The default invitation is %EXPERTNAME% has sent you a support invitation.

Customizing the Invitation Message

Virtual Assist provides a default invitation message for the body of the assistance invitation. The same variables used for the Subject of Invitation also can be used in the Invitation Message field. You can customize the body of the invitation email by entering the desired text. The message can be a maximum length of 800 characters.

Configuring Email Settings

To use the email invitation capabilities of Virtual Assist, you must configure the appropriate Mail Server and From E-Mail Address settings on the Log > Automation page.

To configure email capabilities:
1
Click the link in the To change E-Mail settings, please go to Log > Automation page to display the Log > Automation page.
2
Scroll to the Mail Server Settings section.

3
For information about these settings, go to Mail Server Settings.
4
After you have set up the mail server, click the Accept button.
5
Return to the Virtual Assist > Settings page to finish the configuration.

Request Settings Section

In the Request Settings section, you configure various settings related to support request limits.

Topics:

Limiting Queue Size

The Maximum Requests field allows you to limit the number of customers requests allowed in the queue. When the limit is reached, new requests are blocked, thereby limiting the number of customers awaiting assistance in the queue at one time.

In the Limit Message field, you can to enter text to be displayed as a message to customers requesting help when the maximum requests limit has been reached and there are currently no available spots in the queue. Virtual Assist provides a default message: Maximum queue size reached, please try again later.

Limiting Requests from a Single IP

Sometimes, a customer may request help and be placed into the queue multiple times, thereby tieing up the queue. To prevent the same customer from requesting Virtual Assist support multiple times at once, you can limit the number of requests coming from a single IP. Enter the desired limit in the Maximum Requests from One IP field. Enter 0 (default) for no limitation.

Limiting the Time a Customer is in a Queue

To avoid customers waiting indefinitely for Virtual Assist support during high-volume periods, you can set a time limit (in minutes) for how long a customer can remain in the queue without receiving support. Set this limit by entering the desired number of minutes in the Pending Request Expired field. Enter 0 (default) if you do not wish to set a limit.

Restriction Settings Section

If you encounter requests from unwanted or illegitimate sources, you can block requests from defined IP addresses in the Restriction Settings section.

To add a source IP address or network to block.
1
Click the Add button. The Admin Address dialog displays.

2
From the Source Address Type drop-down menu, select either:
IP Address
IP Network
3
Enter the IP Address from which you wish to deny support requests in the IP Address field.

4
If you selected IP Network in Step 2, the Admin Address dialog has an additional field:

Enter the subnet mask in the Subnet Mask field.

5
Click OK to submit the information. The newly blocked address will now appear in the Deny Request From Defined Address table.

Completing the Configuration

When you have completed all necessary adjustments to the Virtual Assist > Settings page, click the Accept button to lock-in your settings. Click Cancel to revert to the most recent settings.