Expiry Password Expiration Notifier For ConnectWise Automate in our opinion is truly an undervalued plugin and for this reason we make it our July 2017 Plugin of the Month.
A short story
While I was at a recent Automation Trade Show in Orlando I had a engineer of a small MSP, maybe 500 agents or so that was just dreading his Mondays. He was so happy to be away from the office at the trade show but just knew the calls were coming in back at the office and the ticket queues were starting to fill.
I inquired as to why he had such an influx of issues each Monday morning when arriving to the office. What type of issues was driving his pains and what was he doing about them, I asked? He began to tell his story about how, as part of their services, they work with their clients to understand the importance of security, both in and out of the office. One of the many policies they require the customers to follow as part of their service plans are password security policies. Clients are required to maintain tight policies on how passwords are generated and how long they can use them before changing passwords. I responded with the notion that this seemed like a sound practice but, he interrupted with a quick note that for each action there is a reaction.
The engineer went on to talk about how this policy affects his Mondays. Seems rain or shine, every Monday he will get his dispatchers receiving calls that email services are offline, the user would of sent in a ticket request but since email is down they had to call. The under-trained dispatcher would then immediately mark a ticket as urgent, Site down alert sending our head engineers into a panic before the first cup of coffee was brewed. Of course in short order the engineers would be pushing back with charts and data showing all was fine and email was flowing. A deeper inquiry would show that the users passwords had expired on the domain so Exchange services failed on the users IPhones. IPhones do not pass along password expired notices very well so users see this as the mail server must be down.
The engineer went on to say that by better training his dispatcher to ask a few more questions he was able to stop the issues with his engineers but he still had the problem with the clients calling in mistaking a password failure to any number of other issues.
I spoke with him about how Expiry might be able to assist him in his Monday morning call floods. I said, Expiry is a plugin that reads password expiration dates from Active Directory at each of the Clients the MSP manages. It keeps a list and refreshes it daily before sending out email notices to each user that is getting close to the expiration dates. The plugin allows the MSP to craft custom emails in HTML that can hold common variables like the user's name and the days the password will expire in. The MSP can use this information to to build a email template that will include instruction and links to the remote password management tools on the Domain making quick work for users in remote areas to update their passwords.
By providing a few extra notices and detailed instructions on how to change passwords, a MSP could reduce their "Expired Password" tickets by more than 70%. The engineer assured me he was going to look into the plugin when he got back to his office after the show.
I spoke with my new engineer friend a month after the automation trade show to see how it was going and if he had a chance to look at the Expiry plugin. He was excited to hear from me and was overjoyed with the Expiry plugin. He said, "For such a simple function, it has saved his team hours of managing tickets and resetting passwords for users." Being able to personalize the emails making them look like the are coming from the Companies they are supporting gave the emails more views inside the client's environments and reduced over all calls to support for password changes. The plugin is worth every cent the engineer said and he would be happy to pay twice as much if we would let him. We agreed that twice as free is a great price to pay so we are now offering the plugin twice as free as before. Better get your copy before we run out! (smiles)