How BS&A Processes Program Requests/Features

We are always happy to hear ideas from our users on ways in which our programs can be improved. Since you are the ones using the programs every day, your input and thoughts are crucial in building a great product.

Ideas that are submitted to our support team from customers become “cases” that get reviewed in our bi-weekly New Feature Meetings. In these meetings, support and developer staff discuss the cases to see if they would work on a larger scale. If it is determined that the case is considered a benefit to a large group of customers, it will be set to be implemented in an upcoming release of the software. This does not ensure immediate results, however, as other cases could have a higher priority.

Occasionally, it may be decided that a feature would only benefit a particular user. In that case, it is possible to customize the program for that customer, for a nominal fee.

Adam Bengal

BS&A Applied .NET Security Theory

The basics of computer security are more or less understood. A username is given a password and some permissions. If a user knows the username and password, they are given permission to print, run reports, or open files. The irony is that security frequently doesn’t become misunderstood until organization, with the intent of convenience, is applied.

Groups
Groups assign permissions to several usernames at a time. This is especially useful when permission to a feature needs to be given or taken away. Without groups, administrators would have to grant permissions one user at a time, whether there be 2 or 50.

The confusion introduced by groups is one of precedence. Should a user’s permissions conflict with its group’s, which permissions take precedence? In the case of BS&A, the least restrictive permissions do. So, should a user have permission to print and its group not, the user would be able to print. Conversely, if the user should not have permission, but the group does, then the user would still be able to print.

Active Directory Comparison
Active Directory controls permissions for Window’s networks. Comparing BS&A’s users to Active Directory’s removes the need to sign into BS&A’s software or memorize another username and password.
However, this sword has another edge. BS&A and Active Directory must agree on the credentials. Should a disagreement ever occur, the user would be locked out of BS&A’s software until it was resolved.

The Enterprise Admin
Presiding over all of this is the Enterprise Admin. The Enterprise Admin is a username and password that has permission to create users, assign permissions to users, and view everything. This access is given sparingly for obvious reasons.

Enterprise Admin access is usually granted at training. From that point on, BS&A will require the Enterprise Admin to log into the software before they can change, add, or remove any BS&A user. Furthermore, BS&A requires a written request, on letterhead, from the municipality’s supervisor or board member to make changes to the Enterprise Admin.

Nathan Batterbee

Why .NET?

A Brief Explanation of .NET
.NET is a library of pre-programmed functions. It provides our developers a quick, efficient way to add the features you’ve all come to expect from our programs: calculators, clocks, search fields, and windows, just to name a few. So in the same way a contractor might order a window from a lumber yard instead of building it himself, a developer can order a window from .NET.So, Why .NET?
Time is probably a company’s most valuable asset. Unfortunately, there is no way to create more, which is why investing time into improving its use is so worthwhile. By removing the need to build calculators, clocks, search fields, and windows from scratch, .NET saves valuable time. Because of .NET, BS&A is able to reinvest this time into developing feature-rich software at an affordable price.

Is the Upgrade Worth the Trouble?
The benefits .NET offers to BS&A are obvious; to our customers, less so. Features are nice, but why upgrade, especially when the older software works? The answer is .NET’s database engine, SQL. SQL has two advantages over the old database engine, Pervasive. The first is an intelligent database manager that has sole control over the data. The database manager keeps data and users separate, thus increasing data integrity as well as security. The second advantage is a tad ironic: SQL has become so “pervasive” that it is now the industry-standard. Because of its wide-spread use, there is a plethora of third-party software to perform backups, routine maintenance, data exports, and so on.

Do You Have Questions About the Upgrade?
Please don’t ever hesitate to contact us with any question or concern. We are here to help. You may call us toll-free at (855) 272-7638, or email us at tech@bsasoftware.com.

Nathan Batterbee

Submitting an Effective Support Request

About a year ago, BS&A added a great feature to all of its applications, allowing users to easily submit requests for support without having to pick up the phone. Instead, requests could be submitted directly through the Help menu of each of our applications:
Submitting An Effective Support Request

This feature has proven to be very successful; we now receive roughly 30% of support requests through our Help menus.

There have been a few occasions, however, where an email comes through, but does not contain enough information for our support team to effectively and efficiently provide an answer. Here are some tips to help you get the quick customer service you deserve and are accustomed to:

Request Support Phone Call Option
Please include a detailed description of your problem or question. If there are any attachments that will help the support tech diagnose or visualize the issue, please be sure to include them.

Email Support Option

  • When sending an email through the Help menu, please make sure to include your name, your municipality’s name, and a thorough description of your problem or question.
  • If you would prefer a phone call to an email response, please indicate that in your email. Please be sure to include a contact name and phone number, and a good time to call.
  • If possible, please make sure any screenshots you include are clear enough for our techs to see, so that they can adequately address the issue.
  • When speaking with one or more of our support techs, please continue to use the same email thread with which you initiated contact. This will ensure that support techs have a complete history of the issue, something that can get lost in a flood of separate emails.
Sheri Trotter