Upload Contacts to Everbridge with SFTP

This post is inspired by the “Download Access Instructions” PDF listed in the “Secure FTP” area within Everbridge settings. Its use of the WinSCP client requires the conversion of the Everbridge supplied encryption key which many find complicating. The steps below use the widely popular and free FileZilla client which doesn’t require conversion, simplifying the process.

Create a Connection

  1. Go to Settings > Contacts and Groups > Secure FTP in manager.everbridge.net and click “Download” to save your organizations SFTP key. Take note of the keys file name and location.
  2. Download, install, and open the FileZilla client
  3. Go to File > Site Manager in FileZilla and create a new Everbridge SFTP connection
  4. Click “New Site” and name it “Everbridge”
    Protocol: Choose “SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol”
    Host: Found in Everbridge under Settings > Contacts and Groups > Secure FTP > Host
    Port: Leave this blank
    Login Type: Choose “Key file”
    User: Found in Everbridge under Settings > Information > Organization ID
    Key File: Browse to the key file you saved above
  5. Click “Connect” to save and open this new connection. That’s it. A successful connection will display folders titled, user, update, result, replace, etc. If it wasn’t successful, check the instructions again or read the “Noteworthy” section below.

 Test an Upload

Create a test file

  1. In Everbridge, select and download a test contact record, note the file location
  2. Open the contact’s record in Everbridge and give it a new, random middle initial.

Transfer the File

  1. In FileZilla, double click the “update” folder on the right-hand side.
  2. On the left-hand side, navigate to the contact file downloaded above, double click to transfer
  3. Check the contact record to confirm the middle initial changed back to the original value
  4. For transfer details, go to the “result” folder at the root level of the Everbridge FileZilla connection or take a look in the Everbridge Manager under Contacts > Uploads

Noteworthy

  • SFTP is the only protocol Everbridge supports.
  • Be sure to look for SFTP or SSH File Transfer Protocol when choosing a transfer type within your chosen transfer client. Everbridge’s use of “Secure FTP” can be misleading. SFTP is not “secure ftp” or “FTPS” meaning FTP over SSL/TLS. SFTP is SSH File Transfer Protocol, meaning it uses SSH to move data.
  • If the instructions below DO NOT WORK, it could be that your organization has blocked outgoing FTP/SFTP. Exfiltration of data with FTP/SFTP is commonly blocked on corporate networks; for obvious reasons. If this is the case, engage IT or perform the instructions below at home or with your phone’s hotspot. You didn’t that from us.
  • If SFTP is blocked and IT can’t help, Sentworks Slingshot allows those with the ability to use Box (box.com) to securely send scheduled exports to Everbridge; among other features.

Best Practices

  • Never email encryption keys. Treat them like a password.
  • You can always generate a new key if you feel it’s been compromised or just to be safe, but if you do, it could break any scheduled SFTP job that is using the old key.

Everbridge Password Requirements

This is just for reference. I had to create a new user to get this info and figured I’d save you reading this, from that exercise.

1. At least 8 characters
2. At least one item from three of the following four groups:

  • Uppercase letters (A – Z)
  • Lowercase letters (a – z)
  • Numerals (0 – 9)
  • Special characters: ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( )

3. Cannot contain your account, first or last name

 

Notice the similarity to the Okta default (configurable) password requirements:

1. Minimum length 8 characters
2. Complexity requirements
[*] Lower case letter
[*] Upper case letter
[*] Number (0-9)
[  ] Symbol (e.g., !@#$%^&*)
[*] Does not contain part of username
[  ] Does not contain first name
[  ] Does not contain last name

How to get and configure an Everbridge API Key

The Everbridge API is an add-on feature that allows programmatic access to your account. It requires Everbridge activation and a little setup on your end. This post is meant to speed up the process and pass along some API best practices.

TL;DR, you need an API key NOW

If you need an API key right away, do the following steps and then engage your Everbridge Account Manager (AM) or Everbridge Support for activation assistance.

  1. Create a new Everbridge user with the security you want the API to have.
  2. Give the user log friendly naming e.g., “Sentworks API”
  3. Save the user record.
  4. Put this new user in edit mode and copy the URL for the next step.
  5. Send an email to your AM or Support requesting API activation assistance, include your:
    1. Company name
    2. Everbridge Account name
    3. The API users Everbridge ID, this is the end of the URL you copied in the previous step.
  6. Once support activates the user account with API access, you’re ready to create the API key.

How to create an Everbridge API Key

An Everbridge API key is the username and password of an API activated user account, encoded with base64. To create this key, do the following.

  1. Get the username and password of the API user account
  2. Encode the username:password, (note the separating colon) e.g., sentworksAPI:Exw7v23k at one of the following sites
    1. base64encode.org
    2. sentworks.com/community/
  3. Example username:password will equal dXNlcm5hbWU6cGFzc3dvcmQ=
  4. Example sentworksAPI:Exw7v23k = c2VudHdvcmtzQVBJOkV4dzd2MjNr
  5. Don’t forget to put the colon in-between the username and password.
  6. Make sure the username is case correct.

Test the Key

  1. Use api.everbridge.net to test your API key.
  2. Expand “/contacts”
  3. Expand “GET /contacts/{organizationId}”
  4. Paste the API key into the “credentials” field.
  5. Paste your Org ID into the “organizationId” field.
  6. Click the “Try it Out!” button.
  7. You should get a “message”: “OK” result.

Everbridge API Best Practices

API Security Audit

  • You may already have API enabled user accounts. There is no way to tell if a user is associated with the API by looking at their Everbridge user record. The only way to find out is to test each user account with the “Test the Key” method above. If you too many user accounts, ask Everbridge for assistance or use the API Security audit feature inside https://sentworks.com

API Logging

  • How many user accounts do you need? To Everbridge, API calls are identical to actions done by users in the browser. If you have multiple use cases or systems using the Everbridge API, make sure you have a user account for each of them. This is critical to permissions and event logging.
  • Give it a good user name. Example: Sentworks API. All actions done with this API key will be stamped with its user name. To enhance audit, dedicate an API user account for each vendor or app that uses the API.

Proper API security scope

  • Determine the least amount of privilege required for an API’s usage. For example, if it’s used for contact updates, set the permissions to Data Manager.

API Passwords and Basic Security

  • Give your API a strong password!
  • Be careful with password changes, it could break an API key currently being used.
  • The API password never needs to be changed, even if you have password expiration enforced on your organization. The trick is to NEVER log in to Everbridge with your API account. If you do, it sets into place any rules you may have enforced or intent to enforce in the future.
  • Again, don’t login to Everbridge with your API user account! Doing so will set in motion any password expiration rules that have been set in your Everbridge org. Even if you don’t have password expiration set, this is still a good best practice to follow, there really is no need to use it.

Template Backup for Everbridge

Sentworks now offers backup of the content changes made within your Everbridge templates. This process of template versioning can be used to view changes over time, increase content auditing and help to improve the quality of messaging content over time.

Each Template backup will capture:

  • Date and time of backup
  • User that made the change (user that made the most recent modification)
  • Title
  • Message Body
  • Rich text used for email and ContactBridge.

Backups will occur on an automated schedule as well manually within Sentworks.

This is the first of two backup options Sentworks is working on for templates. Full backup of templates will join content backup to be delivered later this quarter. Full backup will cover all template settings and offer a restore option. This addition will stand alongside our other template investments such as the Template Wizard and Template Copy.

Be sure to check out all the ways Sentworks is helping Everbridge customers administer Notification Templates.

Convert Everbridge Notifications into Templates!

Are you sitting on a Template goldmine?

Many of the notifications built in Everbridge are sent right away and not saved as Templates for future use. This is either done out of expediency or oversight and over time the collection of perfectly configured notifications builds. If only you could take that gold mine of notifications and turn them into reusable templates.

Sentworks; in an effort to live up to the ‘sent’ in its name, is happy to announce that you can now convert a sent notification into a template.

Here is a listing of what is converted to get an understanding of the time and effort saved:

  • The notifications role assignment
  • The notifications content, including the rich text for “Include a separate message for email notifications.”
  • Recorded messages
  • The selected contacts, groups and rules
  • The notification settings

This feature is currently live for all customers licensed with Sentworks Professional.

If you aren’t a Sentworks customer, there is some hope. You can use “Rebroadcast” and “Send Follow Up” buttons located in the sent notification. Do be aware that “Rebroadcast” doesn’t allow you to configure the message before it’s broadcasted. This leaves you with “Send Follow Up,” here you can save the notification as a template however it replaces all the different ways you’ve selected contacts in the original notification, via groups, individually, rules, etc with a flat list of contacts which will be much harder to manage down the road.

The fine print: As with all actions in Sentworks, it is required that you test or visually inspect the templates created with this feature.

Measuring Everbridge Usage

How do you measure your organizations use of Everbridge?

Let’s start with sent notifications, this is pretty easy to understand. At minimum Everbridge lists the last 18 months worth of notifications. This stat alone is a great way to understand how often notifications are being sent, but how about the care and feeding of those notifications or the contacts they’re sent to? How often do people log into update and build templates, check confirmation statistic, manage the permissions of users, or edit the membership of groups and roles?

The Sentworks dashboard will capture both of these graphs, in addition to registration and contact growth over time. What are we missing? The chart above shows the total number of daily unique user logins per day. What else could we build to give you a greater understanding? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or ideas@sentworks.com

Creating Roles from Groups

The Group Manager & Dispatcher roles in Everbridge are extremely powerful. It allows you to segment the audience a particular set of users can broadcast messages to. A common example of this is office locations and ensuring that message senders from that office can only send notifications and view contact information for those in that office.

Sounds great, right?

But what if you have 100+ offices around the world?

I worked with a customer that had this very challenge and the click fest it created was not fun.

Today I’m pleased to announce that Sentworks has a new feature that will significantly increase the speed and accuracy of creating multiple roles from the groups that you already have.

First, the steps to create the foundation for security trimmed templates across 100 offices. Let’s assume you have 100 office “Groups” to work with. The groups can be pulled in with the contact upload.

  1. Create a new Role
  2. Type the name, best if it matches the Group name it’s modeled after
  3. Pick the permission level from the drop down
  4. Update the “Permissions” with the exact Permission Scope that you’d like all the offices to have, for example, delete contacts, remove contacts from groups, etc. Side note: what if you forget a check box? Sentworks has a report to help compare permission scopes.
  5. Choose the assigned group(s)
  6. Save

At minimum it’s 10+ clicks along with typing the role name, times 100!

The screenshot below highlights the steps this same task would require in Sentworks. As a teaser; once the 100 roles have been created, Sentworks can also copy a set of perfectly configured templates to all the offices. After they’re created, the Template Wizard offers multi template update for content or settings changes.

Changing Many Everbridge Templates at Once

I once worked with a customer that needed to make changes to hundreds of templates. The templates were assigned to offices around the world and it wasn’t just settings that needed updating, the message content also needed to be consistent.

Doing this manually is beyond time consuming. Changing from one Group Manager role to another, not losing your place as you work down the template list… want to check your work? Sure, but you’ll have to open each template in order so don’t lose your place.

I’ve been there, and I’m happy to say there’s a solution. The Sentworks template wizard enables admins to make sweeping changes to as many templates as you’d like to select. All you need to do is make changes to one template which acts as a model for the others. Simply choose what values you’d like to apply from the source to target templates, it’s that easy. The wizard will launch with 5 settings and no cap to the number of templates you can change. The settings are, Message Title, Body, Priority, Confirmation and Category.  The screen shot below demonstrates how easy it is to use, even if the scenario isn’t based in reality.

Daily Contact Count

Welcome to the first post in a series going over some of the exciting features we’re building for Sentworks to be released in Fall of 2017.

Today’s little nugget is contact count over time. It’s one thing to know how many contacts you currently have, even better to see that growth trend-line in a chart. We know you don’t live in Everbridge so we’ll take care of some of these stats for you.

Why is this important? Everbridge licensing is primarily based on contact count and over time this number will fluctuate as head count changes, bring on new new department or citizens sign up. With your total purchased contact count in mind, Sentworks will give you a visual of this change to be compared to what you’ll need at true-up time.

What other stats like this should you expect to see? How about logins? That’ll be in there too. Why? It’s a great way to see how much usage Everbridge; even from a high level, is experiencing.

Bonus: daily “registered contacts” count.

What are we missing? What “over time” stats like logins, contacts and registrations would you like to see? Make a case in the comments below, we’ll add it to the list.