The Case of the Unreachable Software (Case Study)
Kathy needed help. She was running a small business from her home — one completely dependent upon internet access and two software programs that I frankly hadn’t heard of. Not that it necessarily mattered so much to me that I hadn’t heard of them. The principles for troubleshooting such problems tend to be pretty much the same. But since her problem was with programs that are not commonplace, Kathy was worried. All the more so because her business depends on them.
Kathy has both customers, and workers. Both have to be able to reach the program on her server computer from anywhere, across the internet. Neither could do so.
So Kathy’s workers were sitting idle. Not a good situation. Even worse, her customers need for things to happen quickly and reliably. Most, if not all, of Kathy’s customers are new. And Kathy has competitors. So she was understandably worried that her customers might quickly start leaving her and going over to a competitor.
The day before, Kathy had called a technician from another local shop. After 45 minutes, he declared he couldn’t help her. The bill for finding that out was over $100.
We didn’t have a great deal to go on as to why no one could reach her software. The usual suspects are firewall and router configuration, so after questioning her computer for a few minutes I homed in on what looked to me to be some odd settings in the router.
Within about 15 minutes after I walked in the door, the case was cracked. After testing (both from Kathy’s second computer and with the help of her friend across town), I went a bit further by making some preemptive changes designed to avoid a likely future failure, and by cleaning things up a bit in the router, then retesting again to confirm we were all good.
So now Kathy’s back up and running, happy as a lark. And the bill was actuallyless than the other guy charged to tell her he couldn’t help her.