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Simplifying Contact Management in the LIR Portal

Laura Cobley — 19 Jan 2015
This article explains our plans to simplify the way members manage their contact information within the LIR Portal.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Why do we need to make these changes?
  3. What will change?
    1. Consolidating User Categories
    2. Creating a Single List of Authorised Contacts
    3. Clear Separation of Public and Private Profile Information
  4. Summary

Introduction

As outlined in the RIPE NCC Activity Plan and Budget 2015 , we are working to improve the functionality and usability of the LIR Portal to make our processes more intuitive and easier to understand for our members. As part of this, we are planning to simplify the way members manage their contact information within the LIR Portal. With these improvements, RIPE NCC members will be able to more easily manage the contact information for both their public and private profiles.

The planned contact management changes in the LIR Portal are designed to introduce simplicity, clarity and security for our members while eliminating any confusion that might lead to reduced data quality in the RIPE Registry .

In order to do this, we plan to make the following improvements:

  • Consolidate the LIR Portal user categories
  • Create a single list of authorised contacts
  • Clearly separate private and public profile information

What are public and private profiles?

A public profile includes the membership contact information available on the RIPE NCC website and in the RIPE Database (for example, a member’s organisation name and address or the admin-c of their allocation objects). Anyone can access this information.

A private profile contains the information stored internally by the RIPE NCC (for example, the list of people authorised to communicate with us on behalf of a member or the financial information used to generate their invoices). We do not make this information publically available.

Why do we need to make these changes?

The LIR Portal allows RIPE NCC members to manage every aspect of their LIR Account. Over time, due to additions and new features, the portal has lost some cohesion and we feel the overall customer experience could be better. Its complexity may also be contributing to a loss of data quality.

For example, in order to update its public profile, a RIPE NCC member may need to update information held in three different sections of the LIR Portal.

Public and private information is mixed throughout the LIR Portal, sometimes within the same section, making it difficult for members to understand and control who will see their information.

For each RIPE NCC member, there are two lists of contacts authorised to communicate with the RIPE NCC:

  • The first is a list of RIPE NCC Access (single sign-on) users authorised to use our services via the LIR Portal.
  • The second is a list of LIR contacts that are also authorised to communicate with us but who cannot use our services via the LIR Portal unless they also appear on the first list.

These two lists are not linked and are maintained separately.

As a result, if a member wants to add a new colleague to their account, they need to do this in two different places. This could lead to a gradual loss of data accuracy if one list is updated but not the other.

Another issue is that members can add NIC Handles to the list of users not connected to RIPE NCC Access accounts. Those NIC Handles are then added to the member’s organisation object in the RIPE Database. This is an example of public data being maintained next to private data, which could lead to accidental publication of private data in the RIPE Database.

Lastly, members can choose from six different categories to give to verified users of RIPE NCC Access. This can generate a multitude of different combinations and associated levels of access. The current six user categories are:

  • Admin
  • Billing
  • Certification
  • General
  • Resources
  • Ticketing

As well as creating an excessive number of combinations, having six separate user categories might imply a level of security over the account that could be misleading. For example, while the ability to affect network reachability might be expected with Certification or Resources access, a user with seemingly harmless General access could request for resources to be permanently deregistered or transferred, seriously affecting the member's reachability.

What will change?

We aim to simplify and merge contact information and to present it in a straightforward and easy-to-use way. By doing this, we hope to eliminate any obstacles that may previously have discouraged members from keeping their contact information up-to-date, and we also aim to give our members a clear overview of their public and private profiles.

We want using the LIR Portal to become a much more pleasant customer experience.

In order to achieve these goals, we need to make some changes to the LIR Portal. These changes are detailed below.

Consolidating User Categories

We propose to create a choice of three user categories to replace the current six independent types and to move all existing users into the new categories:

  • The Administrator , who will have full access to RIPE NCC services plus the right to manage other users
  • The Operator , who will have full access to RIPE NCC services
  • The Billing user , who will have limited access to RIPE NCC billing information only

Current

 

New

Admin

arrow

Administrator

General

Resources

Certification

Ticketing

  arrow

 

 Operator

Billing

arrow

Billing User

The Admin and Billing users will not change. Removing the distinction between the remaining users and giving them all full access to RIPE NCC services will lead to a clearer reflection of the true situation. This will also enable members to make better-informed decisions over the access given.

To ensure the continued benefits of the new system, existing members will be able to choose from the new categories when adding new users, while new members will be able to authorise these via the membership application process.

By streamlining the way our members can access RIPE NCC services, we expect to save time and effort for our members while improving the overall customer experience.

Creating a Single List of Authorised Contacts

RIPE NCC Access continues to provide people with secure and reliable access to RIPE NCC services, so we plan to migrate current contacts to RIPE NCC Access and to merge the two separate lists of contacts.

Managing a single list will eliminate duplicate work and will make it easy to see which people are authorised to use our services and contact us.

If a RIPE NCC Access account needs to be created, for example for an LIR contact that does not yet have one, we will ask the Administrator to approve this and assign a user category. If the Administrator no longer wants the contact to be associated with their LIR, they will be able to remove the user from the account completely. If the Administrator takes no action, the contact person will not be able to use the LIR Portal but will remain authorised to contact us directly by email.

Clear Separation of Public and Private Profile Information

All of the contact information that is published on our website or in the RIPE Database will be listed in the member’s public profile. In order to reduce the risk that contact information becomes outdated in the future, we will prompt users to check and update their details.

Where public and private information is currently mixed, we will separate these. For example, we will move NIC Handles into the public profile. In addition to helping users make conscious choices, it will also make clear who is authorised to communicate with the RIPE NCC regarding membership matters and who will be publicly listed for external parties to contact.

To make members’ account details much clearer to them, we will list each user’s access level in their private profile together with their other membership information, such as legal address and financial information.

Summary

To summarise our plans for contact management improvements in the LIR Portal:

  • We will reduce the number of LIR Portal user categories from six to three
  • We will merge the two separate lists of LIR contacts
  • We will create RIPE NCC Access accounts for LIR contacts that don’t have them
  • Admin users will approve/reject the migration of LIR contacts to RIPE NCC Access and into the single list of contacts
  • We will separate public and private information in the LIR Portal

We are still considering options on how contact management will appear to users of the LIR Portal, but we want to ensure that any changes are in line with the overall look and feel of the portal and are consistent with the range of usability improvements made over the past year.

If you have any feedback or questions regarding contact management in the LIR Portal, please comment below, or email the by 1 February 2015.

 

 

6 Comments

Mehdi Mohamadi says:
06 Feb, 2015 09:38 AM
Hello
The plan help us to improve contact management on the RIPE.
Laura Cobley says:
06 Feb, 2015 03:09 PM
Thanks Mehdi, happy to hear that!
anthony delacruz says:
27 Feb, 2015 10:34 PM
Will it be possible to designate multiple user accounts as an admin on a LIR? Or must there only be one ADMIN?
Laura Cobley says:
02 Mar, 2015 11:37 AM
Hi Anthony, there must be at least one Administrator and you can assign this user category to multiple users, if you want.
Lisa Villaroel says:
20 Mar, 2017 08:24 PM
How to do this ?
Mirjam Kühne says:
21 Mar, 2017 11:50 AM
Hi Lisa, can you please clarify your question. What exactly are you trying to do? Thank you.
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