Hello again all, I’m an occasional poster in this sub. I work in a small call center department for a software company, and my calls range from some installations to assisting with payments to “how do I use your program” (also known as “how do I internet?” because usually I end up having to explain what a browser and address bar and system tray are.)
Yesterday’s call was not with a caller who didn’t know how to use the internet or our software, but rather, someone who through they knew too much about the internet and our software.
Me = obviously me. IT = well, the IT. (I still never got the confirmation of if they were the IT or just someone more versed in software, servers, security, etc. at their shop.)
Me: “Customer Support, this is weneedthebitter.”
IT: “Hi, we are trying to download the update to your program but it’s giving an error saying it can’t connect to the server.”
(Our only really installed program had a small security update that we’ve been trying to push shops to download, as they finally turned on that new security yesterday, therefore rendering the program unusable until you update it. I’ve been doing this for 2 years and have never had a server error message with this program, so I was immediately wary of the situation.)
Me: “Sure, let me remote in and take a look! I haven’t had anyone have any trouble downloading this update, but we’ll get this figured out for you right away.”
I get remoted in and see that even though our program was installed, the shop had been trying to do a fresh installation on top of it, instead of just running the update. I cancel out of the fresh install and try running the update, get a message of “cannot connect to server” or something of that nature.
Me: “I’m going to do a quick little uninstall and reinstall of the program and start fresh, just to make sure nothing strange is going on.”
So, next I take care of the removal and go into their downloads folder, they have 24 copies of the setup file downloaded, most from that day. I delete them all, download a fresh file, it’s tiny, only a couple of MBs, and try reinstalling. It downloads the file without issue but when it try to install it, the unable to connect to server message happens again.
I quickly install the program on my actual PC (thank you, dual monitors) and it completes within 30 seconds with no issue whatsoever. So, here comes the fun part.
Me: “So, I’m going to check with my tier two on this, but I believe you may have some security settings blocking the installation of the program. Is there any chance we could turn off your antivirus or maybe make sure nothing in your firewall is blocking this update, or is this a laptop and you could take it off your private network and try installing the program off of it?”
IT: “All of my firewalls and antivirus software are turned off, so it absolutely has to be your program blocking it. You need to resolve the issue and allow it to install.”
Me: “Sir, I just installed it on my pc without any issue, and I didn’t get any kind of error messages. I want to take a quick look at your settings and possibly reboot.”
At this point, he takes control of the mouse and goes through this whole big show of showing the firewall is turned off and the antivirus is disabled, until I notice one thing. Not only does he have a firewall, he has your standard CCcleaner, which is something I’m used to seeing, but he has two anti viruses installed on top of that. One is a program I haven’t heard of, but I’m not super well versed in those since the job usually doesn’t call for it, and that one is disabled. However, the second antivirus is listed as a beta of a different program, and is still on and running, and I can’t find a way to turn it off.
Me: “Alright sir, lets do a quick reboot of this guy since you showed some security was disabled and turned some other parts off, and we’ll see if it works after the reboot.”
IT: “Sure thing, I’ll restart it right now. (A few minutes go past) Oh, it has some windows updates and I’m not sure how long they will take, can you just hold on until it’s done? I already walked away from the PC and I told the guys to call me when they’re installed and it turns back on.”
Me: (dying a little on the inside because who knows the last time he updated windows on this.) Sure thing, I’ll be here and I’ll get with our tier two while we wait to take a look at this message and see if they have advice.” (I normally work remotely and had to get ahold of them via messaging.)
Me: “Hey Tier Two, can I pick your brain for a second? Here’s the situation, troubleshooting I’ve done, and the screenshots. I think something either on the PC or network is blocking us because I could install, and I’ve also never seen this message before.”
Tier Two: “Those screenshots are absolutely some kind of network or firewall settings, what they have set up sounds kind of like a mess, so it could be something buried, or could be related to that one beta version antivirus. See if they have another PC they can access off of the network and if it works, that’ll tell whether or not it’s something they need to resolve on their side.” (Our company tries to be hands off with security stuff, to a certain point, since so many places have such varied security setups, and my team is very basic support, not in-depth network or firewall setup and troubleshooting. I’ve learned enough to diagnose when something is our software’s issue or the customer’s issue, and my tier two can get more hands on, so I verify with them whenever possible.)
After 10 minutes of leaving me on mute, old IT boy comes back
IT: “Alright, it’s back on and I just tried it and we’re still getting that issue. Have you figured out how to fix this yet so the guys can use the program on this PC?”
Me: “I followed up with our tier two, and they advised it absolutely is a security setting somewhere, could be the antivirus that is still running, could be on your network, at the router level or deeper, depending on the size of it.”
IT: “This is ridiculous, I have all of our security settings turned off and I just verified they were all still off once the PC restarted! What do you recommend we do to fix this?”
Me: “Do you have another PC, possibly off of this network or security settings, that you could get onto or remote into and try this install on? If it works on another PC that would mean it’s something with your security settings still.”
IT: (grudgingly agrees and remotes us in to his personal PC and tries to install the program, it works.) “Okay, well I guess this is something on our end though. I may have to run the install in a certain mode or with different permissions, but we will figure this out.”
Me: “If you need us to send you our whitelisting IPs and addresses, please let me know, because I can get them out to you right now if you’d like.”
IT: “No thanks, we’ll figure this out, bye.”
I don’t know a huge amount about networks and security settings, but I know enough to go “something is fishy here.” I also really don’t want to spend 20+ minutes on a call and mess with my wonderful average handle time, but here we are.
All in all, happy to see it wasn’t “on us”, but annoyed that they had to fight back the whole way through the call.