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ACD Auditing FAQ

1. How does Consistacom connect with my Avaya telephone system?
There are two parts to this question. From the Avaya system side, we connect with either a CLAN card or the active media server IP address. Each connection looks like an ASA session. Consistacom requires two concurrent connections during data collection, each with the same login ID and password. From the data networking side, we use a secure connection across the public Internet and into your data network. It can be either a VPN connection, or a SSH connection (for Communication Manager 3.0 or above).
2. How long does auditing take?
The data collection phase of auditing takes from 1 hour to one day, depending on the size of the Avaya system and how many systems Consistacom is auditing concurrently. The collection schedule is usually set up for a 3 day window, in case some issue delays the start of data collection. When data collection is complete, analysis takes one business day or less.
3. Is auditing safe?
Yes. The data collection phase of auditing is a read-only process that will not affect call processing or capacity, even during your business hour.
4. Why doesn’t auditing affect my call processing capacity?
The Avaya Communication Manager server prioritizes call processing above all other activity. It is impossible for Consistacom or any other administrative user to divert processor tine away from call processing.
5. Do we have to freeze move/add/change or other activity during auditing?
No. The Consistacom snapshot will detect and incorporate this activity into the collected data.
6. How will Consistacom protect our confidential data
Consistacom’s standard auditing agreement includes contractual safeguards of all the data collected during an audit. Furthermore, the data does not include anything associated with a specific customer, unless you have programmed it into a vector or other call processing resource. It is actually impossible for Consistacom to see any type of calling traffic information. The standard Avaya interface used for data collection only allows access to administrative data: vectors, stations, agent logins, and the like. The most confidential information an audit has access to is agent names and login IDs, and they are not divulged to any third parties.
7. We don’t usually work with VPN connections on our Avaya systems. How do we know the connection will be secure?
Consistacom uses two types of secure connections: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Secure Shell (SSH). The customer chooses whichever works best for them. Both provide encryption between the Consistacom network gateway to the public Internet and the customer’s network. SSH extends the security all the way between the Avaya system and Consistacom’s auditing appliance.

The customer always controls security at two points. First, login to the Avaya system is impossible without a valid ID and password. Consistacom insists that a unique ID and password is used, so the customer can turn it off at any time without affecting other administrators. Second, the data connection by VPN or SSH must pass through a customer firewall or networking gateway. The customer can disable the connection at any time. Third, VPNs will be configured in a way that restricts Consistacom access to the narrowest possible scope. This can be as fine as only allowing access to one Avaya system, or as wide as accessing a subnet with only Avaya servers. The customer and Consistacom must configure the VPN identically on both ends, or the VPN connections will not activate. Finally, many firewall and network gateway devices have logging functions that record when Consistacom connects and disconnects. Consistacom feels this is actually more secure than having a consultant on site. There is no chaperoning, physical security, or restricted hours to deal with, and no special local data networking arrangements to set up for the consultant. Consistacom has great flexibility to meet customer VPN requirements, so agreeing on a configuration is easy. Most customers already have a standard procedure for adding site to site VPN connections, so no special data engineering or management approval process is needed.

Management should be concerned about security. Whether data is collected remotely or by a consultant on site, the security issues are substantially the same. Security is about procedures, access restrictions, and following a process. VPN and SSH are just technologies the provide the access restrictions. The procedures and policies must be dealt with regardless of a physical presence.
8. Can Consistacom come on-site to do data collection
Yes, but at a substantial cost and only for one-time audits. Once our consultant is on site, the physical security and local data networking issues mentioned in answer 7 come into play. If remote access is an impossibility but there is an ongoing need for ACD Auditing or other Consistacom solutions, an on-site Consistacom appliance may be what you need.
9. We want to clean up our Avaya system, but we recognize it is an iterative process. Does Consistacom have a way to give us updated audit results as we progress?
Several auditing service options are available, from a one-time audit to infrequent recurring audits to multiple audits in one day. Please consult with a Consistacom representative to determine which offering best matches your cleanup plans.
10. Can Consistacom do the complete cleanup of my Avaya system, instead of just providing me with audit reports?
Yes. Please contact Consistacom for a proposal that addresses your specific needs.
11. We are using Vector Variables and VDN Variables. Can the audit report show how calls are using them?
The audit report shows what is possible. It can show a particular VDN’s variable settings, and it can show which vectors use those variables, but it cannot show you how many times, or even if any calls actually traversed that vector step. The audit shows the broad picture of what is possible, not what is happening at any point in time.

Understanding how calls flow with variables (and with adjunct routing) is a challenge. The ACD Auditing reports give you more information than other tools, but someone with knowledge of how your call flows operate is still needed. That knowledge can be learned faster with the audit reports than without.
12. Can I get the audit data in a spreadsheet, so I can compare two Avaya systems and see if they are the same?
No. We have talked with many customers who have tried this approach, and success is a practical impossibility for all but trivially small Avaya systems. Consistacom provides a separate solution specifically for this purpose. It is called the Multi-System Synchronizer or MSS. It is capable of taking the data collected for an ACD Audit, processing it against your rules describing what call flows and components should be the same on multiple systems, and producing a report showing deviations from those rules. Moreover, when you install MSS on a Consistacom Synchronization Controller in your network, it can actually keep those sections of multiple Avaya systems synchronized automatically. Please contact Consistacom if you would like a multi-system synchronization study proposal.
13. Can I do custom reporting with the data you collect?
Yes, but only with a Consistacom Synchronization Controller appliance inside your network. It gives you access to Avaya system configuration data such as stations, agents, VDNs, vectors, etc. through both ODBC and LDAP interfaces. Consistacom does not allow this reporting access into the appliances used to host multiple customers on hosted service.
14. How are recurring audit reports delivered?
Reports processed on a schedule are automatically delivered via email to one address provided by the customer. That address can be for one person, or it can be a list that forwards to dozens of recipients in the customer organization. The Adobe PDF file can be optionally encrypted and protected with a password at no extra cost.
15. I understand the value of an audit. How do I explain it to my management team?
The Consistacom web site at www.consistacom.com contains a 6 minute video explaining a bit about call flow programming, how complex it can get and how hard it is to maintain documentation. We suggest that you view it, then invite your manager to view it with you. We can also do a personalized presentation for you, if that is needed.
16. Do I need Avaya’s permission to let you connect and do an audit?
Not unless Avaya is doing the day to day management of your system.
17. Is it necessary to turn on any special Avaya options or features in order to audit
No. The interfaces used are available on all Communication Manager systems, and are part of the basic system feature set.
18. Is auditing available for systems other than Avaya?
Not at the present time.
19. What are the Avaya system technical requirements for auditing
  • Definity 9.5 or higher, or any version of MultiVantage or Communication Manager
  • A CLAN or Media Server connection for VPN connections
  • A Media server connection for SSH connections
  • Two concurrent logged in sessions during data collection
  • A unique Avaya administrator login ID that can be disabled after collection, type = customer / superuser
  • A public IP address for the Avaya connection point (typically a NAT through the firewall)

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