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In this article Roger Neal, UK Sales Engineering Manager, provides lots of useful tips on how to successfully engage with our technical support team and get a resolution to the issues you’re experiencing as efficiently as possible. It’s a must-read for any of your team that are supporting your customers.

I hope everybody has had a safe Christmas and New Year. The year 2020 was interesting and hopefully as the various vaccines are rolled out globally in 2021, this will improve the situation and we can all start enjoying life and the world around us a bit more than we can today!

As part of the technology services team, I am in regular meeting with Technical Support managers. They collect feedback on support cases raised and what they are logged for. You will be very pleased to know that very few XG v18 cases are related to bugs or product faults, which is very good news for our developers and fantastic feedback for the nearly 300,000 XG appliances installed around the world. However, approximately 70% of all cases logged with Technical Support are related to the Sophos XG firewall and of these cases, about 80% of these; are typical “How Do I do XYZ” questions.

Looking specifically at the “How Do I do XYZ” questions, many of these answers are covered as part of the Engineer and Architect level training, which I highly recommend completing. These technical accreditations are a key part of the requirements for the new Sophos Partner Program and many partners will need to recertify by the end of March 2021.

Another area my team are regularly asked to review is the length of time support cases are taking and if we can help expedite them to closure.

I know many of you and your colleagues are part of support organisations at our partners and as a result (I hope) would agree that collecting and providing as much information as possible, aids your ability to help your end customers as quickly as possible to troubleshoot and resolve support cases.

As an example of some cases that are raised with our technical support recently:

  • “Government Web Site Blocked”
  • “Unable to open encrypted files on user machines”
  • “Exploit Mitigation Blocking an application to run”
  • “Can’t configure WAF”

I hope you will agree, are an eclectic mix of cases. However, the common point is that these cases have been raised by partners with just that information (above) being provided to our technical support team.

Unfortunately, this means that the technical support engineers spend substantial amounts of time phoning or emailing the person who logged the call to ask for more information… For example, asking – what the problem is, OS of the platforms involved, Which Versions of our solutions, Exact error message, how to replicate the issue, what has been done already to troubleshoot etc… Vital basic level information which must go back and request subsequently lengthens the time taken on the case before the engineer can start investigating and helping resolve the problem.

Sophos has published a Best Practice Framework to help you raise cases quickly with us and provide information that aids us to support you and your customers quicker. This playbook can be found here –

Note – For business-critical P1 (i.e. the business is down) cases we always recommend phoning to raise the case and then follow up via email or the support portal with the technical details needed to get support working on the case.

Please spend a bit of time having a read. I hope this Best Practice framework is new for many of you, giving you a structure to collect critical information that will enable our support team to help you faster – which benefits everybody overall. Our shared customers get back to working quicker, you have more time for other activities and our technical teams will be able to help on your cases quicker, so a win-win-win for all!

This is a living document, so if there are areas of this Best Practice Framework that we can update to keep making it better and we would love your feedback.