We’re excited to announce our latest software patch release for the 4.x products. The patch provides bug fixes for both 4.0 and 4.1 (for details, see xMatters 4.0 patch 022 Release Notes and xMatters 4.1 patch 014 Release Notes), and adds the cool new 4.1 features outlined below.
- SMS & Short Code Compliance
- SMS Compliance - Now Internationalized
- Automated SMS Phone Deactivation
- Revised Access Control for Support Org Users
- SIP QOP
Email Domain Whitelisting
Information security is an important consideration for all organizations in this day and age. To support these security requirements we are providing a new feature which allows an xMatters administrator to define a list of valid email domains which xMatters users must stay within when they add a new email Device. The initial release of this feature will block a user from adding any new email Devices through the UI that don't match the list of valid domains. Any existing email Devices which fall outside of compliance will still be active in the system, but the User of the Device will not be allowed to make any changes to the Device without bringing the address into compliance.
SMS & Short Code Compliance
The regulations for SMS delivery have changed a great deal in the last few years. Self-policing bodies such as the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and, in some cases, governments are placing requirements on how messages can be sent and responded to. A number of new features designed to address these requirements were built into 5.0 and we have now moved them back into 4.1 to help our give our Clients time to plan for their 5.0 upgrade.
Destination Definable MMA Behavior
Because not every User with an SMS Device needs to be sent MMA information, we've added a Short Code Compliance check box to the SMPP Protocol Provider settings that allows you to send these messages selectively to Users. When the check box is selected, xMatters sends a message explaining the terms of service to SMS Devices whenever they are added, modified, or activated.
SMS HELP and STOP Responses
SMS HELP and STOP responses can now be be configured for Users. By default, these responses have the following effects:
- HELP: xMatters sends the SMS Device instructions about how to contact support.
- STOP: xMatters locates all Users whose SMS Device (i.e., Text Phone Device) corresponds to the source SMS Device, and sends an SMS confirmation message to the Device (this message is configurable either in scripting or in a text file).
India SMS Handling
The Government of India wants to be a little bit different; hey, we here at xMatters get that. The Indian Government has mandated some SMS rules that caused us to add a Reply To setting to the Country-Specific Overrides section of the SMPP Protocol Providers page. This allows you to append a reply address to the message that is different than the source address. And, although this field was added specifically for India, the setting is available for all countries in the system.
Per-Country Source Address For SMS via HTTP-Client
You can now configure country-specific overrides for the source address of SMS messages, allowing you to target messages in various countries that require specific unique short or long codes. (By the way, while we were at this, we incorporated the changes made for India SMS Handling described above.)
SMS Compliance - Now Internationalized
Parlez-vous français? I don't, but the xMatters SMS compliance UI screens and the messages sent to Users are now available for translation in all of the langauges that we support.
Automated SMS Phone Deactivation
SMS compliance is becoming a trickier situation every day. Carriers don't want to deliver messages they aren't going to be paid for, and Users don't want to pay for messages they didn't ask for (aka SPAM). As such, SMS aggregators and carriers can impose penalties on xMatters clients if they consistently renotify a User/Device which a carrier is saying doesn't want the message. Our latest SMS feature helps everybody by allowing the xMatters administrator to enter a list of SMPP codes that we can catch to automatically deactivate the Device. When we deactivate the Device we can notify the User (but not on the deactivated Device - obviously), their supervisor and the supervisor of every Group they are a member of.
Revised Access Control for Support Org Users
Clients who license our multi-tenant service provider product have unique security and support needs: on the one hand they need to keep their tenant's data segregated, but they also need to provide communication processes which span the tenant's users and the users who are tasked with supporting the tenants. With this release we have revised the mechanism for granting access to users to perform support roles. The new mechanism is more restrictive in that it requires a support user have an explicit mapping to a user in the tenant company. Additionally the user in the tenant company is allowed to have one, and only one, mapping. And the tenant company user is not allowed to have any devices because the user is not to be notified.
Why all the changes and restrictions?
- The mapping restrictions make the Information Security folks happy because shared User ID's are a no-no.
- The Device restrictions on mapped Users are there because mapped Users are not intended to be notified - our service provider features allow you to target the actual Support User which means the Support User only has to maintain their contact information in one Company. Ditto for targeting Support Groups, which can be centrally maintained in the support organization and referenced from tenant notification processes.
Here is a sample view of the mapping screen showing a search across tenant Companies which is pulling back Users from a Company named "Suzie" and another named "Acme":
It is a smaller "bit twiddling" feature, but we added optional support for quality of protection ("qop") for SIP messages. There is no user interface as the exchange is done down in the protocol level and automatically changes our registration procedures based on the presence of qop. The new support of this feature doesn't change the official list of SIP environments that we support, but it does allow us to evaluate expanding to other platforms - in this case Nortel CS2k servers.
These are the main new features in this release, but please check out the full release notes for all of the details on these features as well as a few others. We hope you enjoy the new release!
Until the next update,
The xMatters Team