Omnilert includes multiple data management options, including the ability to automate regular uploads of Subscriber data via FTP using a built-in FTP client that can connect to your FTP server to retrieve files on a schedule.
Set up the FTP client on the Settings >> FTP Import screen of Omnilert.
FTP Import can process 3 different layouts of files. All imports will be in CSV (Comma Delimited Text) text file format (Windows .csv file format).
The three supported layouts are:
- Simple CSV Upload: Uses a simple, flat table layout. A data dictionary of the fields and required headers is provided within your Omnilert account.
- Command-Driven Upload: This CSV layout is essentially a file-driven API, where each line of the CSV file is its own command, allowing you to execute a series of commands to add/remove and update subscriber data (add_user, add_mobile, delete_user, etc.) A full list of commands is provided in your Omnilert account.
- Custom Mapped Import: This option provides a fully customized import, where Omnilert's data services team will create a "map" based on sample data provided. That map will be used to import data into Omnilert. Each file imported is compared to preceding file. Records are then added/removed/updated accordingly. In this setup, the customer provides a full data set each time and Omnilert tracks changes to the data from one file to the next.
The FTP settings are similar to any standard FTP client.
The FTP Import schedule can be enabled/disabled. The protocol chosen will determine how Omnilert connects. Omnilert supports several protocols, including FTP, FTPS, and SFTP (FTP over SSH).
Set the server's hostname as well as the FTP username and password that Omnilert should use to connect.
Omnilert will require access to read/write/execute (full permissions) on 3 folders within its FTP home directory:
- Update Files Directory: The directory used for non-mapped uploads. (Simple CSV import and/or Command Script CSV files only.)
- Report Files Directory: The directory where Omnilert will return text file logs after each CSV file is processed. This is used for troubleshooting.
- Map Compare Files Directory: The directory used for mapped CSV upload only.
In most implementations, only 2 of these directories will be used, but all three directories must exist on the FTP server.
The folders can have any name you desire. Just make sure the proper path is input into Omnilert's settings. Do not use the same folder for multiple accounts or settings.
Click Update Settings to save the configuration and test the settings immediately. If the system cannot connect to your FTP server, the schedule will be deactivated and an error message will show.
Most errors will be due to the following configuration issues:
- Firewall issues: Make sure your local firewall is configured to allow FTP access from outside. (IPs can be provided upon request.)
- FTP User Permissions: Be sure to allow Omnilert's FTP user "full control" for all 3 required folders.
- Incorrect FTP protocol: If you're using FTPS, be sure to use ftps:// in your hostname URL.
- Passive mode ON/OFF: Be sure this setting is correct for your FTP server. Most servers use passive mode.
- File Path issues: Some FTP servers will require a leading slash / in the FTP file path. Others may not. Some will require a full path from the FTP root, others will home to a directory. Work with your FTP server admin to find the correct pathing for your FTP folders.
To view a history of FTP transfers over the past 30 days, visit Tools >> FTP Import Logs.
FTP Error Notification Email
An optional setting is provided for "Error notification email".
This is the email address that Omnilert will send notice to if the FTP process cannot connect for any reason, such as:
- FTP server down/offline
- Firewall issues of any kind
- Permissions/account issues with the FTP server
- Changed/incorrect file paths on the server
Set this to send email to an address of someone who can assist if there are any issues with FTP connectivity, such as a primary admin or technical contact at your institution.
If your FTP server cannot be reached and times out, Omnilert's setting may revert to disable the scheduled process. Be sure to check your settings if/when you receive an "Omnilert FTP Notification" email from Omnilert.
Some answers to common questions when setting up FTP connections are below.
"What happens if the FTP process cannot connect to the FTP server?"
If the FTP process cannot connect, the system will send your "Error notification email" address an email and may even disable the FTP process. The email will contain details about the nature of the issue (if possible) or simply inform you that an FTP error has occurred.
Naturally, you'll need to correct the underlying problem and re-enable the FTP client to resume scheduled FTP pickups
"Do we need to host our own FTP server?"
Yes. Omnilert does not provide an FTP server.
"Do you support secure FTP file transfers?"
Yes. SFTP and FTPS are supported.
"Can the FTP process be run manually or does it require a schedule?"
The FTP process requires a schedule to run but can be run up to 24 times per day (hourly). So, if you need to push a new file through, set the FTP to run on the next hour.
"Will we need to adjust our firewall to allow FTP transfers?"
Yes. It's likely that your network admins will need to adjust the local firewall to allow Omnilert to connect. They should contact us via our support center (e.g. email firstname.lastname@example.org) to exchange the required IP info.
Note: Please be sure to work with your Omnilert Account Manager when configuring FTP Imports. Our team can help you navigate through the implementation process!