NetSfere Admin Guide

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Admin Guide

This guide is intended for NetSfere administrators. If you are looking for information on basic NetSfere functions, you may want to take a look at the NetSfere User Guide.

This guide is available in the following additional languages:

Getting Started

What is NetSfere?

NetSfere is a cloud-based, enterprise messaging service that offers a secure platform for internal communication and collaboration. It provides uninterrupted, end-to-end encryption for everything you send. Only you and the others in your conversations have access.

Since NetSfere is cloud-based, its stores the master copy of your message text and attachments in the cloud and only caches the most recent content on your devices. This saves valuable space on your device and makes it easy to upgrade to a new phone: just install NetSfere and all of your messages are at your fingertips!

About NetSfere organizations

NeSfere groups its users into organizations. An organization has at least one administrator and potentially thousands of users who are members of the organization. Administrators have the ability to add and remove users as well as set various security policies for the organization. Users can exchange messages and attachments with other members of the organization. If the organization's security policy permits it, users can also communicate with guests who are members of other NetSfere organizations.

If you don't have a NetSfere organization, you must create one before using any of the features described here.

Using the Admin Control Panel

NetSfere's Admin Control Panel is the web-based control panel that an administrator uses to manage his NetSfere organization. You can access the Admin Control Panel as follow:

  1. Point your desktop or mobile web browser at admin.netsfere.com.
  2. Enter your NetSfere login credentials.
  3. Click or tap Login.

If you are already logged into NetSfere's web application (from web.netsfere.com) and are an administrator for your organization, you can quickly open NetSfere's Admin Control Panel without the need to login by clicking or tapping on the Admin Control Panel shortcut .

Analytics

NetSfere's analytics help you visualize how your organization uses the product.

Selecting a data type

Perform the steps below to select and display analytics for your NetSfere organization:

  1. Click or tap on Analytics in the navigation bar.
  2. Use the menu to select the type of analytics data you wish to view.

NetSfere analytics provide the following types of data:

  • Sessions - This tracks the total number of active logins within your NetSfere organization. When a user completes the login process, NetSfere creates a session for the user. The session continues until the user logs out or until the session expires due to inactivity.
  • Messages - This tracks the total number of text messages and attachments stored within the NetSfere cloud for your organization. When a user sends a message, this count increases by one until the age of the message reaches your organization's retention period and NetSfere destroys it.
  • Invitations/Activations - This tracks the users you've invited to your organization as well as the users who have accepted the invitation by activating their accounts.
  • Login/Logout tracks the login and logout events that occur with your organization.
  • Conversations - This tracks the total number of conversations and channels stored within the NetSfere cloud for your organization. When a user creates a conversation or an administrator creates a broadcast, this count increases by one. NetSfere automatically destroys a conversation when the last user leaves it or when the last message in the conversation expires. NetSfere never destroys a broadcast unless an administrator deletes it.

Selecting a date range

You can select a date range for your chosen analytics data type as follows:

  1. Click or tap on Analytics in the navigation bar.
  2. Use the menu to select the type of analytics data you wish to view.
  3. Click or tap the red date selector to display the date selection panel.
  4. Choose a preconfigured time period such as Last 7 Days or chose a custom range by selecting a start and end day from the two calendar pickers.
  5. Click or tap on Submit to display the data.

Users

As an administrator for your NetSfere organization, you have complete control over who joins it.

Identifying users

NetSfere identifies users by their email addresses. From NetSfere's perspective, each email address is a distinct person.

NetSfere places no restrictions on the types of email addresses you can add to your organization. You can mix company email addresses (all in your corporate domain) with email addresses from public email systems such as Gmail if you wish.

Understanding user states

NetSfere user accounts exist in one of three possible states:

  • Invited - The user's account exists but the user has not activated it. The user is not visible in NetSfere's contact list. If you have a paid service plan, NetSfere does not bill you for this user.
  • Active - The user has activated his account. The user may login and other users in your organization will see this user in their contact lists.
  • Disabled - The user has activated his account, but an administrator has destroyed the user's existing logins and has blocked all future logins. Other users in your organization will no longer see this user in their contact lists.

A user account moves from the Invited state to the Active state when the user activates his account by clicking or tapping the activation link sent to him in NetSfere's invitation email.

Once a user activates his account, his account remains in the Active or Disabled states permanently. An administrator can move the account between these two states by disabling the user or enabling the user.

Understanding user roles

Every NetSfere user account has a role assigned to it:

  • User - An unprivileged member of your organization who can send and receive messages.
  • Administrator - A privileged member of your organization who can do everything a User can do, but who can also modify user attributes (such as the user's role), set organization policies (such as minimum password strength) and change organization attributes (such as the organization's name).
  • Administrator (Read Only) - A privileged member of your organization who can access the same information that an Administrator can access, but cannot modify it.

When you create a new NetSfere organization, you automatically become its sole Administrator. If you wish to change the role of another existing user, you may do so by modifying the user.

For security reasons, you should limit the number of people you assign to the Administrator and Administrator (Read Only) roles.

Viewing users

View the users in your organization with the steps below.

  1. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  2. To view users in the Active state, click or tap Active Users.
  3. To view administrators, click or tap Administrators.
  4. To view users in the Invited state, click or tap Invited Users.
  5. To view users in the Disabled state, click or tap Disabled Users.
  6. To view users who are guests in your organization, click or tap Guest Users.
  7. To view a list of all devices currently logged into your NetSfere organization, click or tap Devices.

See Understanding account states for more information about the possible states for a user account.

Adding users manually

If you'd like to quickly add a few users to your NetSfere organization, follow the steps below.

  1. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  2. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Add User.
  3. Enter the user's display name, email address and role.
  4. If you wish to receive a copy of NetSfere's invitation email at another address, enter that address in the CC Email field.
  5. Click or tap Invite.

Importing users from a CSV file

You can bulk-add members to your organization by importing a comma-separated values (CSV) file. The CSV file must contain the name and email address for each user, separated by commas, semicolons or a similar delimiter. The name and email address columns may appear in any order within the file as long as the order is consistent for all users. NetSfere's import wizard will ask you to identify these columns in your CSV file and will ignore any other columns it finds.

Here's an example of a basic CSV file containing 3 users:

Emyree Berner,emyree.berner@example.com
Gavyn Dellinger,gavyn.dellinger@example.com
Connor Owens,connor.owens@example.com

Follow these steps to import users from a CSV file:

  1. Create a comma-separated values (CSV) file containing the name and email address for each of the users you wish to import.
  2. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  3. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Import Users.
  4. Select the CSV file from step 1 and click or tap Continue.
  5. Select the delimiter type and specify the Display Name and Email columns, then click or tap Continue.
  6. If the display name and email fields validate successfully, click or tap Start Import. If changes are required, click or tap the back button and repeat steps 4 and 5.

The import process will present you with a summary of its results when it completes. If the import failed for some users, you can fix the problems and re-attempt the import using the corrected version of the same file. NetSfere will ignore users who were already successfully imported.

Syncing with Active Directory

Synchronizing with Active Directory is available if you've upgraded to the NetSfere Enterprise service plan.

  1. Click or tap on Settings in the navigation bar and choose Active Directory.
  2. Download the Active Directory Agent executable by clicking or tapping Download Agent Now.
  3. Run the Active Directory Agent installer on a Microsoft Windows host that has a network connection to your Active Directory.
  4. Once installed, launch NetSfereADSyncAgent.exe and enter the following information when prompted:
    • Active Directory username
    • Active Directory password
    • Active Directory LDAP path
    • NetSfere Administrator email address
    • NetSfere organization ID
    • NetSfere Active Directory access key
  5. Click or tap Apply and the agent will begin synchronizing your NetSfere organization with your Active Directory.

NetSfere's Active Directory agent will run continuously, keeping your NetSfere organization synchronized with your Active Directory.

Modifying users

If you wish to modify an existing user, use the steps below.

  1. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  2. Click or tap on Active Users tab at the top of the list.
  3. Select the user you wish to modify.
  4. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Modify.
  5. Change the values and click or tap Save.

Disabling users

When you disable a user's NetSfere account, NetSfere forces a logout on all of the user's devices and blocks all future logins. Disabling a user account is a reversible action, so if you change your mind later, you can re-enable the account. A user who logs in afterward regains full access to all of his previous message content.

You should disable a user account when the associated user leaves your organization or when you wish to temporarily prevent the user from accessing NetSfere.

  1. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  2. If necessary, click or tap on Active users tab at the top of the list.
  3. Select one or more users you wish to disable.
  4. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Disable Account.

NetSfere does not provide a way to permanently delete a user account because it depends upon the data in the account to display messages sent by the user.

Enabling users

If you wish to re-enable a user's NetSfere account after having previously disabled it, use the steps below.

  1. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  2. Click or tap on Disabled Users tab at the top of the list.
  3. Select one or more users you wish to enable.
  4. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Enable Account.

Forcing user logout

Forcing a logout for a user destroys all login sessions belonging to that user on all devices. It also performs a device wipe on those devices to remove all cached NetSfere message content. Follow these steps to force a logout:

  1. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  2. Click or tap on the Active Users tab or Administrators tab at the top of the list.
  3. Select one or more users you wish to logout.
  4. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Force Logout.

Forcing user logout does not prevent the user from logging in again. If you wish to permanently block a user from accessing NetSfere, you should disable the user's account.

If you wish to force a logout on only a single device, see Wiping a user device.

Wiping a user device

You can force a logout and destroy the NetSfere content on a single device by performing a device wipe:

  1. Click or tap on Users in the navigation bar.
  2. Click or tap on the Devices tab at the top of the list.
  3. Select one or more devices you wish to wipe.
  4. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Request Device Wipe.

NetSfere will record your request and perform the wipe the next time the device connects to the NetSfere cloud.

Viewing device wipe status

You can force a logout and destroy the NetSfere content on a single device by performing a device wipe:

  1. Click or tap on Logs in the navigation bar, then click or tap on Device Wipe Log.
  2. Click or tap on the column headings or use the search field to locate the desired device wipe request.

Broadcasts

Broadcasts are special conversations that let you broadcast messages to your entire NetSfere organization. They automatically include every member of your organization and only users you designate can send messages in them. Other users can read the messages sent in a broadcast but cannot respond.

Only NetSfere administrators can create, destroy a broadcast or change the user who can send messages in them.

Adding a broadcast

To add a broadcast, follow the steps below.

  1. Click or tap on Broadcast in the navigation bar.
  2. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Add Broadcast Channel.
  3. Enter a name for the broadcast.
  4. Enter a description for the broadcast.
  5. Turn on the Push Enabled checkbox if messages sent in this broadcast should alert users with an audible notification.
  6. Select at least one but no more than 10 users who are authorized to send messages.
  7. Click or tap the Add button.

Modifying a broadcast

To add a broadcast, follow the steps below.

  1. Click or tap on Broadcast in the navigation bar.
  2. Select the broadcast you wish to modify.
  3. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Modify Broadcast Channel.
  4. Make your desired change.
  5. Click or tap the Modify button.

Deleting a broadcast

To delete a broadcast, follow the steps below.

  1. Click or tap on Broadcast in the navigation bar.
  2. Select the broadcast you wish to delete.
  3. Click or tap on the Actions menu and choose Delete Broadcast Channel.
  4. When prompted, click Proceed.

Settings

As an administrator for your organization, you have complete control over NetSfere's behavior and policies.

Abuse

The NetSfere team is always working to provide a secure and reliable messaging environment. By logging into NetSfere, you agree to NetSfere's Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Acceptable Use Policy.

Reporting Abuse

If you believe someone is using NetSfere inappropriately, please let us know.