Dashboard Users in Panorama9

I am going to discuss the Panorama9 User model in this post and how incoming changes to it will affect you and your company.

In short, we have needed to streamline the user model quite a bit. This work was deployed 14th of October, at 10 CEST/4am EST.

After the upgrade, there are no longer separate Dashboard and MSP users. This will affect you a little different depending on your account type:

  1. Dashboard customers:
    You should see no difference. Feel free to stop reading 🙂
  2. MSPs:
    Under Dashboard->Manage->Users, the list of users will include every user, dashboard or MSP, with access to this client.This allows you to easily see which employees and clients have access to this particular client without having to go back to the MSP Control Panel.
  3. MSPs:
    When you added a client to your Control Panel, a user was automatically added for you to access the client dashboard with. These always had the form of mspuseremail+clientname@provider.tld. Users matching this exact form will be automatically deleted during the upgrade.Other dashboard users will not be affected and you can continue to offer dashboard logins to your clients.
  4. MSPs:
    We have noticed that some users have had multiple client dashboards open. While we appreciate why this would be a highly desirable feature, this approach has unfortunately never worked but there were few cues to that effect. Under the hood, the data feed to the dashboard would be broken as soon as the next login into another client happened. Going forward, there should now be clearer feedback in the form of a message saying that the older session has been disconnected.
    TIP: As a work-around, you can open new sessions using Private Browsing.

Going forward

Dashboard users in Panorama9This is the first step in a longer streamlining process. The next steps will include offering a redesigned UI for user and permission management, and then later on, billing management.

If there is enough interest in having multiple client dashboards open simultaneously and the quick-switcher really is not doing it for you, please give us a shout at the feature request on the support site.

Background for the historically interested

Over time, cruft can accumulate in most active systems. Our user model was one of these and we have been wanting to clean up for a while. When Panorama9 was first conceived, the dashboard was the front and centerpiece of our product. It did not take all that long for us to consider adding a better solution targeted towards service providers that manage multiple clients (MSPs).

We were not quite certain how MSPs were best served at first, and our existing users were heavily souped into dashboard related logic so in order for us to be able to quickly launch an MSP product (Minimum viable product line of thinking) we made the decision to have an entirely separate MSP user login. Our first, somewhat low-tech, stab at an MSP portal was quickly refined into the MSP Dashboard that we have now and the login screen similarly refined into just the one login screen instead of two separate – but the separate user list stayed intact.

Over time this became more and more of a drag – literally – with nearly identical code to cover many shared functions in the code which in turn made new feature additions more expensive than they should be, so we decided to get rid of it. As mentioned earlier the original dashboard user was heavily entangled with dashboard-only logic so it took a rather large effort to straighten out and an even larger effort validating and testing upgrade scripts using a clone of our production databases.

After a few weeks of testing and rolling out portions of the code over time we are now ready to make the jump. We will make sure to thoroughly backup our database before hitting the button.

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