IT Admins can’t keep track of every tool and maintain its security for every employee of a large company. Lucky for them, they don’t have to. Learn why SSO and SCIM and other fun acronyms are a boon for employee security, and bulk actions make transitions a breeze.
“NYC isn’t for everybody, and the amount that someone wants to deal with street garbage in the summer has no bearing on their ability to be an excellent contributor to the product.”
I was quoted talking about street garbage in this article on the Trello blog. Click through to learn more, non-garbage-related tips for managing remote culture.
It’s Friday afternoon: Do you know where your coworkers are?
If they’re Trello employees, since August 2016 the answer has likely been: at Coffee Talks. Coffee Talks (name inspired by MailChimp) are a Friday afternoon event where Trellists share their specialist knowledge about Trello the app or Trello the company with each other in the form of thirty minute to one hour presentations.
Read the rest on Trello’s blog
I was recently filmed and interviewed for a case study on how Trello uses Sprout Social. Video is now available! Enjoy the video and case study at read the rest at Sprout’s site.
Additionally, check out the video and insights from a social support round table Sprout put on last month. It was super fun participating.
Video hopefully coming soon!
I’ve recently begun the process of transitioning over to a role as a Technical Account Manager at Trello. What this means is—as with all “you’re the first person to do it” roles at startups—a little bit TBD, but for right now it involves being the point person for Single Sign On (SSO) implementation for our Enterprise customers. SSO allows our customers to set up their own login portal for all of the services that their employees use. That portal handles credentials, meaning that end users only have to remember one username and password combo (as well as providing an easier way to disable access to those services if someone leaves the company). It’s the business equivalent of using the “log in with Facebook/Google” option you’ll see on many websites.
SSO can be implemented with a few different protocols, because the internet is full of slightly-different wheels. I’m learning about Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), which has two versions: 1.1 and 2.0. The SAML protocol provides a standard for how to format XML passed between an Identity Provider (whatever a company is using to keep track of its users and their information) and the Service Provider (Trello, in this case). Trello’s SSO implementation is (currently) Identity Provider (IdP)-initiated SAML 2.0. This stands in contrast to Service Provider (SP)-initiated SAML, and the non-SAML alternatives.
As part of moving in to the new role, I wanted to read up on SAML and get a general sense of how the protocol actually works. This was to help reduce the number of times I needed to go to engineers for communication reasons—because I didn’t know what the user was talking about when they mentioned federation and they didn’t know which cert I meant when I asked for an SSO cert.
(For the record, the cert I needed in that particular instance was a Base64-encoded X.509 cert. Hat tip to Amanda Allison for teaching me to recognize base64-encoded strings by sight/the basics of “certs, what do” and to Barry Clark for telling me the “X.509” bit.)
Unfortunately, trying to educate myself about SSO—and SAML in particular—proved very difficult. The resources that exist are mostly targeted to two audiences: end users at large corporations who need to know a bit about how their particular SSO product works (too low-level and IdP-specific for me) and developers with an interest in cryptography who are actually building SAML integrations (impenetrably dense, and way higher-level than I needed).
I’m quoted in this article from Zapier about automating customer support:
“It’s important to automate as much support as you can,” says Trello support agent Emily Chapman. “Not in terms of responses, but in terms of autotagging, moving cases into appropriate folders or buckets, and reducing the amount of manual monitoring required.”
Let the robots do the work, y’all.
Read the rest on Zapier’s blog.
“It helps me build personal relationships with people who I need to work with to do my job but who are on other teams. And that’s invaluable when I need to ask folks to do something or soothe over a difficult discussion. Plus, it gives us a space to talk about something other than work.”
Read the rest of the article on the Trello blog.
The start of every one of those sessions, however, is emailing a user to see if they’d be interested in talking to me. It only took sending a few of those (basically identical) emails for me to wonder if I could automate the process—it turns out I can.
I’ve written a bit of Python that takes a first name, last name, email address, and company name for a user. It then substitutes that information into a stock email script, sends the email through Mandrill, and makes a card on a Trello board containing the user’s name and company (to which I’m assigned as a member). It uses Trolly (a Python wrapper for Trello) and Mandrill’s official Python wrapper.
If you’ve written in to Trello’s support team in the last few weeks, you may have noticed a little bit of extra flair. We added a “how did I do?” rating option at the bottom of our emails back to you. We’ve been tracking those replies since we started gathering them, and it’s led to some unexpected (and useful!) insights for our support team.
Sometimes, a frustrated user might walk away from the case. And, frankly, can you blame them? If the only contact they have is with an agent who is perhaps misunderstanding them, it’s easy to see why they might think their issue is going in one of our ears and promptly out the other. We wanted to give our users another outlet to let us know about a case that may require extra attention.