The Support Agent and how you can use it to make your life easier

  • Why the agent?
  • The Status of the agent.
  • Using the agent to get your machine information
  • Using the agent to submit a ticket
  • Change your machine description
  • Using privacy mode

Why the agent

The focus is moving from on-site, over the shoulder IT support to remote and automated assistance for a whole raft of reasons. Faster resolution, lower costs (travel, vehicles, equipment etc) and much more.

To enable this, as well as other functionality we have an “agent” installed on all appropriate machines. This enables us to :

  1. Run reports and audits
  2. Monitor the state of the machine
  3. Send messages to one, several or all machines.
  4. Schedule updates and patches
  5. Tech to user chat
  6. Remote control sessions
  7. Copying files to and from machines
  8. Updating registry entries
  9. Locking down machines
  10. ………and much more (again!)

So…..if the agent isn’t installed and running on your machine then there’s not much we can do to help. You’ll know if it is as there will be an icon in the system tray.

The Status of the agent

The icon in the system tray will change depending upon the status of the agent. Sometimes this can indicate a problem and other times it can show something is in progress.

Here’s a list of the icons and the brief description of the status.

(NOTE : The back-end system we use for the management is called the “AEM platform”)

Name Description
Online Managed Agent that is currently connected to the AEM platform.
Offline The Agent is not connected to the AEM platform.
Privacy Mode The Agent is currently connected to the AEM platform and has Privacy Mode enabled.
OnDemand Mode OnDemand Agent that is currently connected to the AEM platform.
Alert Mode Online The Agent is online and waiting for a job to be run by the end user.
Alert Mode Offline The Agent is offline and waiting for a job to be run by the end user.
Stopped The Agent service has stopped. No logging is performed at this time.
Active Screen Share (Shown with ‘Online’) A screen share session is currently in progress. The tray icon alternates between the Active Screen Share icon and the Online icon for the duration of the remote session.


Using the agent to get your machine info

Double clicking the agent icon will open up a window on your desktop which is called the “agent browser”.

As you’re not an Endpoint Management Administrator you can just ignore the login fields on the left.

On the right, you have three tabs.

1)      Summary – this shows you information that we often as you for but which you’d not necessarily know off the top of your head. We refer to machines by their name in the same way you refer to vehicles by VIN or registration. It also lists the operating system, the machine’s serial number, the currently logged on user and so on. Take a look as you can’t damage anything.

2)      Tasks – this is where we will have a list of tasks that you can fire off, either when requested by IT support or that we’ve pre-informed you about. For security reasons very few users have administrative rights on their machines. This just isn’t required unless you are a virus and want to infect a machine or you need to install an update or patch. We want to avoid the former but we hope to populate this with useful tasks you can invoke when you need them rather that raise a support ticket.

3)      Tickets – we like you to raise a ticket by email as the preferred method. However, despite a well designed and fairly simple support ticket procedure (which you can find on the Intranet) getting the basic information from users to allow us to know where to start troubleshooting is like getting blood from a stone. See below for how to submit a ticket from here to make both your and our live easier.Using the agent to submit a ticket

Using the agent browser, you can raise a ticket and it’ll populate it with much of the info we need and ask to explicitly for other relevant information. Furthermore, for tickets raised here you can add notes and close them from the same tab. (Please note, you don’t see the note you’ve added until later so click submit once only)

On the ticket tab clock on the New Ticket button and then just fill in the form that you are presented with. Simples!


Change your machine description

If you right click on the agent icon, the menu that pops up allows you to change the machine description. It won’t change the actual machine name, but you can write a short description that you can remember, and we’ll have logged against the machine name. Like having the vehicle with registration AL61 RDT known as “John’s yellow Porsche Carrera” for example.


Using Privacy Mode

For some staff such as senior management, HR and personnel there are times when you are working on something confidential and don’t want to be disturbed. You can use the Privacy mode to restrict IT access to your machine while you are doing this.  Privacy mode is avaialble from a right click on the system tray icon.

If you turn on privacy mode to surf dodgy websites then we have a klaxon that sounds at IT support and a screen showing your name.

You can choose to have it on, off or off for a specific period.

Christmas and New Year Hours

We wish all our clients and suppliers a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the upcoming 2018.


Those clients with an our of hours support arrangement can use the contact methods provided over the festive period. We will continue the maintenance regime that we presently have in place over the holidays.

  • Fri 22nd December 08:30 – 14:30
  • Wed 27th December 08:30 – 17:30
  • Thu 28th December 08:30 – 17:30
  • Fri 29th December 08:30 – 17:30
  • Tue 2nd January 08:30 – 17:30

Phone Number Changes

We’re changing our telephone system again. Apologies for the inconvenience.

The change will take place over the Christmas holidays and be in full effect for 2018.

Please update your contact details as follows.

(shown in standard e164 number format which you can dial “as is” from any phone – feel free to remove the country code and replace it with a “0” but you don’t need to)
  • Lorica Sales/Admin/Accounts : +44 115 857 6826
  • Technical Support Helpline :    +44 115 857 6828
  • Lorica France :                             +33 5 17 12 14 18

Hours of operation are unchanged at 08:30 through to 17:30 Monday to Friday. If you have an “out of hours” support arrangement please use the specific numbers available to you for emergency calls which remain unchanged.

We like the operation of this system and can supply it so please ask if you need more info.

Cloud Backup


We’ve taken a while to get on board with cloud backup solutions. Due to cost, maturity of the available offerings and the general performance limitations, including that of many Internet connectivity options, we just didn’t think it was reliable or cost effective.

Things change and now we have the following portfolio of cloud based backup options. What suits your environment and the functionality, costs and performance will vary from client to client so please get in touch if you’d like to discuss.

File/Folder Backup

A cloud backup solution to backup any number of devices and charged per month based upon usage. Prices are such that a daily backup of your accounts data spanning several months should costs less than a family mean at MacDonalds.

Office 365

Microsoft provide good data security and safety. Versioning is excellent and most data can be recovered from the past 30-90 days depending upon the service.

However……..we can build on that by providing complete, unlimited backup of  your Office365 user data from the point you start using the service, for a company with up to 25 employees this would have a monthly cost of £60.

Benefits include:

  • 3x/ daily backup for Office 365’s Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint
  • Perform additional backups as needed at any time.
  • Security controls that include compliance with SOC 2 Type II, HIPAA, and PCI Compliant. Data is secured with 256-bit encryption.
  • Browse and preview backups by user and item. Search for metadata.
  • Restore individual files or groups of files back into a user’s account or export them directly to your machine.
  • Monitor data with domain health status and activity log.
  • Store an unlimited amount of data in the backup Cloud forever.

Business Continuity

Cloud or remote site hosted reverse chain image based backups of servers with instant restore and hosted virtualisation that boots in seconds. Got it? Ok, let’s say if you have a business that would suffer should your server go down for more than a few minutes this could be just what you need. Probably best to get in contact so we can explain, discuss and demo.

Domain Renewal Price Increase

Due to an increase in the cost of domain registration and renewals from our supplier we now have to increase our charges as follows.

Domain Extension===Current Renewal Price====New Renewal Price*

All .uk domains======= £12.00 pa=============== £15.00 pa
.com================ £17.00 pa=============== £22.00 pa
.eu================= £16.50 pa================ £21.00 pa
.info======= =========£15.00 pa================ £19.00 pa

Default setting is for domains to automatically renew. If you would like to be informed in advance of the cost and renewal date please let us know.

Eradicate the security weak link – train your staff

Up to date anti-virus, high level mail filtering and all the other technology measures won’t stop you becoming a victim if your users are easily exploited.

Everybody has a job to do and it doesn’t usually include security training but in today’s environment, it’s a small investment which could save you thousands or even millions of pounds.


We can point you towards plenty of free resources but it’s much more effective if you can delivery an engaging course in short managemable bytes (sic), monitor the progress and then test and measure with short quiz afterwards.

Out Cyber Security course is only 2 hours over 10 modules which means a user could do a couple each week with little impact on their workload.

The modules are :

  • Introduction to Cyber Security
  • Understanding Cyber Threats and Terminology
  • Your Cyber Security Responsibilities
  • Understanding Cyber Essentials
  • Managing Cyber Security on Your Mobile or Tablet
  • Managing Cyber Security in Email
  • Managing Cyber Security Online
  • Understanding Cyber Security and Info Security Legislation
  • Understanding the General Data Protection Regulations
  • Using Public Cloud Storage Platforms

Please get in touch if you’d like more information.

More Ransomware

Another malicious piece of software is doing the rounds. It uses social engineering and exploits weak passwords.

Image result for bad rabbit


While your AV systems are likely to protect you don’t depend on it. They’re like car seat belts. You wouldn’t drive without wearing it but that doesn’t mean you’re able to drive around with your eyes closed thinking you’ll arrive at your destination completely intact.

Please ensure your users are up to date with safe practice and know how to recognise suspicious websites and emails and that everyone is using strong passwords.

I still see on a daily basis, despite constant nagging, passwords that are ridiculous. Complaining about hard to remember or too many passwords won’t recover your data if you suffer an infection.

Refer to previous blog posts for advice on secure passwords.

We can also supply web based short and effective training courses covering cyber security for your staff. Please ask!

Office 365 – User Photos

Face to face communications are getting less and less, both in personal and work lives.

With facebook, instagram and other social media sites you often get to see images of the people you’re communicating with but in our business communications less so. There’s no doubt maintaining the human touch is valuable so it’s a nice touch to have photos of your users on their Office 365 accounts so they appear on emails, contact cards, discussion groups, address books and so on.

Adding a photo is a simple process for each user to complete. Follow this link for instructions on how to do this : Add your profile photo to Office 365

Here’s a quicker and easier way. If you’re on a Lorica support contract we can add them all in for you.

How it works

We feed the photos directly to root directories of users’ Exchange Online mailboxes. Next, the photos are synchronized across Office 365 workloads that connect to the mailboxes, and to users’ accounts in Azure Active Directory.

The entire photo management process is automatic.

CodeTwo User Photos for Office 365 - How the software works

Where the uploaded photos are displayed

Photos uploaded to Exchange Online mailboxes are automatically synced to and displayed in a range of online and desktop applications connected to Office 365.

An Office 365 user photo displayed in Microsoft Outlook 2016

Users will be able to see them in Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint, Office 365 services and apps.

An Office 365 user photo displayed in an Outlook 2016 contact

An Office 365 user photo displayed in an Outlook 2016 contact

Office 365 users' photos in the Outlook on the Web People app.


Office 365 users’ photos in the Outlook on the Web People app.

Photos uploaded using CodeTwo User Photos for Office 365 are also displayed in Office 365 Groups.

Photos uploaded  are also displayed in Office 365 Groups.


Users belonging to one Office 365 organization can see each other's photos in Outlook messages.

Users belonging to one Office 365 organization can see each other’s photos in Outlook messages.

If you use the Office365 custom signatures service we resell and support you can also have those photos in the signatures.

If you’d like this done, please get in touch. You’ll still have the mammoth task of rounding up all the images but we’ll do the rest.

Office 365 External Sharing

I really think the mantra “share, don’t attach” is important and I keep drilling it home. It’ll take time but once people get their heads round it the benefits will become apparent and in a few years, it’ll be normal practice.

A forthcoming update to Office365 will make this slightly less of a chore when sharing with external people as they will no longer be required to have (or create) an O365 of Microsoft account.

This link will take you to the details. It’s not as technical as it looks so worth the 2 minutes it’ll take to read.

Here’s some points that I can think of right now that make sharing a good option:

  • No files consuming email inbox capacity (your outbox + the inbox of every recipient – multiple times probably)
  • Less consumption of your Internet bandwidth
  • You can allow editing and collaboration (with versioning so you won’t lose track of what’s changed)
  • You can change the document at any time and won’t have to re-attach and re-email it
  • No email “ping pong” and losing track of the most recent and correct copy