In 2018 Lithium is moving all customer sites to SSL encryption (HTTPS) to safeguard customer data. HTTPS encrypts all data passed between the end user and your community. Lithium is ready to work with you to enable, test, and deploy a SSL certificate, to bring your community to full HTTPS delivery. We will also be sending out email notifications to our customers over the next month and a half as a reminder on this.
These changes will result in:
all pages/resources will be served over HTTPS in production
all pages/resources will be served over HTTPS in stage
requests for pages/resources/apis over HTTP will be redirected to their HTTPS equivalents
Note that the steps below follow Lithium Standard SSL deployment. Access to Standard SSL deployment is included with existing customer licenses (is free).
To get started, we ask that you follow the following steps.
Open a support ticket: Please open a support ticket via the case portal so that the support team can begin the process. If you have a technical resource on your side who can assist, please be sure to include them on the CC list when creating the case.
Certificate Procurement or Updates: If your community is not utilizing any form of SSL, Lithium Support will add your domain to the Lithium SAN SSL Certificate and prepare your community for HTTPS migration. If you already have SSL enabled but in partial mode, you’ll be transitioned over to full-site SSL.
Studio Review (Plugin Layer): Lithium Support will review your plugin and attempt to convert any hard-coded community HTTP paths to either use a relative path or HTTPS. More complicated asset updates will be flagged and communicated to your technical contact or may need a services engagement..
Community Admin Updates: While Support will handle the plugin transition, you will need to handle any hard-coded paths contained within the Community admin panel. This includes the announcement sections and custom content modules. If you had a customization work done through Professional Services, you may have a Settings List Editor section in your admin that will also need to be updated if it contains any fields created for URL’s.
Review on Staging: Once the plugin updates are completed and the certificate procured/updated, you will need to test and review your staging instance. If there’s any problems, please inform support. If there’s no problems, we’ll then move on to scheduling the changes for production:
Schedule your Production Deployment: Support will coordinate with you a production HTTPS deployment during a normal maintenance period.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Lithium switching to HTTPS now?
Major browser and search vendors are making changes to flag pages that are delivered over HTTP as 'not secure' after July 2018. Obviously, this kind of message is not one you want associated with your brand. HTTPS is also a factor in search engine ranking. It's presumed that search vendors will add additional weight to HTTPS in their ranking formula this year.
What if part of my community is delivered over HTTPS already?
For customers using "mixed mode", Lithium will work with you to enable full site HTTPS using the existing SSL certificate. The steps required on your part are identical for customers using mixed mode.
Can I wait?
Not for much longer. Lithium is phasing out support for HTTP communities after 18.7, following best practices and maintaining our commitment to securing customer data.
Can I generate my own certificate?
Contact support or your account team for alternative SSL certificate scenarios. Note that alternative scenarios generally carry a charge and require an engagement (SOW). We typically advise against this direction.
What about external domains?
Anything hosted on the community will support HTTPS. However, any references to external domains will require that those domains be under SSL. If you’re using an external asset and the domain does not support HTTPS, we recommend that you upload the asset to your community via studio then update the reference code/URL.
What is a SAN SSL certificate?
See the What is the SAN SSL certificate? Article.
What are the benefits of using SSL (HTTPS encryption)?
See the Full HTTPS Encryption for all Communities article. Thank you for your time and we look forward to working with you to migrate you to HTTPS!
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We know that there are events that specific communities consider "major" for their business -- whether this is the Superbowl (top of mind at the moment!), Black Friday/Cyber Monday, a new product launch, a relaunch of your design, demo for executives or any one of a dozen other scenarios. It is our goal to work with you to ensure that these are as seamless as possible.
Lithium is committed to ensuring that you are supported 24/7/365 on any outages. We have a comprehensive guide to outages and information about our general status page available for you to take a look at, but the summary of this is that if you or your customer's are down or unable to work, let us know and we'll quickly take a look to see what's going on! You can always keep up to date on our status page where we do our best to provide insight to outages impacting multiple customers.
Assuming you know ahead of time that you have a major event coming up, please let us know as early as possible - at least a week is ideal! Although we have monitoring in place to help mitigate issues as best as possible, the best situation is where we can proactively review allocated resources, your server side setup, and make sure that there simply aren't any issues!
If you have a Technical Account Manager via Premium Support or CSM, please make sure that they (and support) are aware of your impending event so that they can pay attention to it. If you don't, don't despair! Open a support case letting our team know that you have an event coming, what the date and time of it is and that you'd like us to take a look to see if there's anything that needs to be done to help prevent an impact on you or your customers. If you can add Proactive to the case subject, it'll help us organize the solution as well.
The above applies to whether you're an SMM, Lithium Community or Lithium JX customer!
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As part of our efforts to provide exceptional service to our customers, we wrote up what we've seen and done in 2017 as a retrospective.
Redesigned Support Pages
We have redesigned our support information page. Here, you can now meet some of the support team and drill down to meeting the full team that you might directly interact with on a regular basis; you can also get a quick glance of the current Lithium status page and access other resources that might be of use.
We have relaunched the Case Portal to provide additional functionality for those reporting cases or needing to escalate them. Although access is limited to designated contacts, we're looking forward to continuing to improve this functionality and encourage those with access to use the Case Portal. We think it’s much more effective than emailing into support, and we hope you agree too! Check out the Using the Lithium Community Case Portal TKB.
Listened to Suggestions In 2017, we heard suggestions for ways to improve our support organization. We've taken many of these to heart and wanted to share with you some actions we’ve taken:
You weren’t happy with cases taking too long for initial response & the initial response not being actionable. So we:
Nearly tripled the size of our front-line technical support staff from 7 to 18. This team has been ramping up month over month.
Implemented a policy that the first response should be sent only when we're actively working an issue and/or you, the customer, can take an action on it.
Reduced initial response times, dropping them from 20+ hours to under 6 hours on average.
You were unsure on how to escalate cases effectively. So we:
Implemented the ability for your designated contacts to escalate cases via the Case Portal.
You weren’t always able to locate information on the Lithium Community. So we:
Added a Support Knowledge Management team that will be creating content including videos (see our first examples) as well as grooming existing content to surface relevant, bite-sized information that's usable for you. This team is led by @OrenR, our Support Operations leader, with @MicahM and @Nora- so keep an eye out!
Are aligning our information architecture with our Professional Services best practices around multi-product communities, led by @AndyK, our Community Manager.
You felt we didn’t care about you as a customer. So we:
Partnered with TSIA to provide better training for our teams and are now a Certified Support Staff Excellence Center. This will be continued and expanded in 2018 for all new hires as well.
Focused on improving quality across the organization with an emphasis on the customer. Our regional Technical Support leaders, @NoamanA (EMEA & APAC) and @RonS (AMER) have this as part of their primary goals on a quarterly basis.
Expanded our Premium Support Team from 6 to 10, and @BradR, our Premium Support leader, built a new offering for those that want more dedicated Technical Account Manager time.
This is just a small list of improvements we've been making and will continue to make. We listen to every single comment that comes in via our case close surveys as well as the broader relationship surveys, so if you ever receive one, please take the time to fill it in!
Areas to Continue to Improve Upon
There's no doubt that we have areas that we should continue to improve on; my personal commitment is that we will keep doing our best to do so. Some areas we acknowledge and are working on solutions for include:
Our overall technical expertise
With many new staff members, there's certainly concern about technical expertise. We are working on continuing improvements around this, but experience with our platform takes time that cannot be rushed (as you all know!). Our teams are working on a training bootcamp to help reduce new staff ramp up time and strengthen existing staff proficiency, but it is a work in progress. Included in this effort is a quality improvement program ensuring that our team truly reads and understands the issue initially so that you don't have to repeat yourself.
Backlog of cases
Our backlog has been reduced, but is certainly not gone! We are working through this as best as possible and are sustaining the focus on this.
We are working on plans to continue to reduce the bug backlog as well. This has just as large of an impact on your business as not receiving answers from our analyst team.
Stronger communication around outages
We've made some internal process changes, but still have some ways to go on this, so this remains an area that requires improvement. If you have not already done so, please make sure to subscribe to updates on our status page. This is where we try to keep all broad level outages updated in as real time as possible.
@JonathanCu, our Customer Operations & Escalated Support leader, is working on a first iteration of a fully proactive outage team and we will identify options for doing so over the next year.
All improvements mentioned above
Though we’ve improved in 2017, but we do not believe that we're done improving. Throughout the next year, we commit to continuing to improve your experience with our support team as well as providing more information for your use on the Community. With our new products, we are also reviewing the right time to ramp up appropriate teams to support them rather than simply absorbing within existing staff.
Listened to Recommendations
As you can tell, we acknowledge that we have our flaws, but we also have an amazing team that's 100% dedicated and focused on making your experience the best that it can possibly be. The same surveys and conversations we've had over 2017 that provided us with suggestions, also gave us a lot of awesome, positive insight and we appreciate that as well! We've been able to reward and promote team members, and your input has been a part in doing so.
We appreciate your continued business and partnership. Here's looking to a great 2018!
Director, Global Support
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