Behind the Scenes — A Day in the Life of Virtual Administrator

Virtual Administrator is a unique animal compared to most other companies. Since we are often working as the middle-man our company is dealing with vendors and clients alike on a daily basis. Most of this occurs through our support board. I figured I’d share some (generalized) tickets that we have open right now so you can get a peak into some of what is happening here at Virtual Administrator on a daily basis.

Tickets take several shapes, but the ones we love the most are usually support related or script related. This is because they often are the tickets that lead us to improving our own service offering. A good example of this is the script that we recently just released. Our “Reboot Nanny” script was not something any of us here at VA came up with out of the blue, it was instead created to solve a problem that one of our clients was enduring.

They had some machines that were known to need a monthly reboot. It was annoying to remember to schedule that reboot, so they pinged us asking if we may have a solution to this issue. This script ended up on the ticket board of Kyle Metzer, our script guru, who then started tinkering with Chris Amori on ways to make this work from a user friendliness and technical standpoint.

“How can we execute this automatically without ruining the user experience” is the question we often find ourselves asking. In the case of the Reboot Nanny, Kyle came up with a cool way to auto-reschedule the next reboot cycle via powershell. Once the date and time is hit, then the machine will ask politely if it can reboot. This prevents a sudden “cutoff” of the machine so the users don’t get upset. Once it confirms a reboot it will reschedule itself for 25 days out into the future.

Another recent ticket we got was a mail flow issue over at Mailprotector. A client had a web form that was sending in mail to a distribution list. The problem was: mail wasn’t flowing to the distribution list. It was ending up in one user’s box directly.

Our usual way to troubleshoot mail flow is to look at Mailprotector’s excellent log viewer in order to see what actually happened with the mail as it entered the system. In this case, the log showed nothing. That, obviously, is a problem because it would indicate that Mailprotector never saw the message in question.

We did eventually find the messages coming from the web form. They were going direct to the person, even though the web developer swore up and down that they were being sent to the distribution list. So we did the next thing on our list of troubleshooting Mailprotector issues. We asked for a sample email so we could inspect the headers.

There are a bunch of header inspector websites out there. One we like to use is MX Toolbox’s Excellent Header Analyzer. However, in this case we were able to just open the file in notepad. What was so strange about this incident is that the “To” field showed the distribution list as the intended recipient. However, further up in the headers there was a “For” field that listed the direct user as the recipient of the email.

With email you’ll often find that the email sender and the email from are two different email addresses. This is to help work around SPF, DKIM, and DMARC issues that can block emails from being delivered. But I think this was the first time I saw the “To” and “For” fields be different email addresses.

Anyways, after a 15 minute discussion internally, we decided that the issue likely was with how the email was being generated by the web form and came up with a temporary solution until they could resolve the issue with the form. We created a rule in Mailprotector to simply forward the emails with the subject line “New Submission:” to the other users on the distribution list. This removed the pain point for the end-user and added time to the clock for our partner to work with the web developer to figure out this very unique issue they were having.

These were just two issues that we bumped into. A normal day here at VA can include a few dozen of these kinds of tickets. Pretty much all of us here at VA are very technical in our own way – even the sales staff have fairly technical backgrounds. We enjoy working with partners to bring solutions to their end-users and improving the experience and automation of all of our businesses.

I hope it was an interesting peak into some of the inner workings here. What does a day at your company look like? Let us know in the comments 😊.