Managing your SurveyCTO account

The following is an important guide to managing your SurveyCTO server, maintaining control over your subscription, and getting the most out of your SurveyCTO subscription. This is especially important for large organizations adopting SurveyCTO, even more so if you have a multi-team server. If you plan on using SurveyCTO for more than a month or two, this is recommended reading.

Navigate this article:

  1. Managing users
    1. Setting up additional admins
    2. Managing access with teams
    3. Login requirements
      1. Password requirements
      2. Single-sign-on (SSO), including multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  2. The subscription management page
    1. Configure email notifications
    2. Configure non-users as notification recipients
    3. Nominate users for support access
  3. Plan for your project's needs with prepayments
  4. Managing and controlling usage
    1. Ensuring successful submissions
    2. Managing costs
      1. Limiting submission usage
      2. Pausing teams
      3. Community subscription

1. Managing users

1.1 Setting up additional admins

We recommend that you configure additional admins who are empowered to resolve billing and account administration issues as they come. If a credit card payment fails, or extra submission credits need to be purchased, only an admin can help. Having more than one admin on a SurveyCTO server helps keep your team in control of your SurveyCTO service, and your project on target.

To add a new server admin:

  1. On the Configure tab of your server console, scroll to the Your users section at the bottom. 
  2. Check to see whether the person you want to make an admin is already a user. If not, create a new user account for them. In the User role dropdown menu, assign them as an Administrator.
    1. If the user account already exists, click their Edit button, and under Change role to, pick Administrator, then click Change role.

We strongly discourage sharing your administrator credentials with others. Instead, create a unique, personal set of credentials for every administrator.

1.2 Managing access with teams

For security, it is best to make sure users only have access to the forms they use for their work. You can restrict access to forms using teams. With teams, groups are assigned to specific teams, and only users who are members of those teams can access the forms and server datasets can access those forms.

For example, let's say you have two projects on your server, and users from one project should not be able to access the forms and datasets in the other project. For each project, you can put all of the project's forms and datasets into the same group, assign that group to a team, and then assign each user a team-based user role. That way, those users will only be able to access their assigned project's group and its forms and datasets, and no other forms or datasets.

To learn more about teams, check out these resources:

1.3 Login requirements

You can manage security requirements for logging into your SurveyCTO server. 

1.3.1 Password requirements

You can require user passwords to have specific requirements, such as a minimum length, special characters, and the option of excluding data collector user roles from the requirements, etc. 

For information on setting up password requirements, check out our documentation Managing users, section Password expiration and complexity requirements.

1.3.2 Single-sign-on (SSO), including multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Alternatively, you can require users to log in using their email provider, called single-sign-on (SSO). That way, when users enter their username into the login page, they will be brought to their email provider's login page, where they can select their username, and log into SurveyCTO using that account.

SSO also comes with all of the security of the email provider. If your email provider has multi-factor authentication (MFA) set up, then the user will have to use that same MFA system to log into SurveyCTO. This provides an extra level of security for your SurveyCTO server.

For information on how to set up SSO, check out our documentation Configuring external authentication (single-sign-on, or SSO), section Authenticating with Google.

Note: Usernames with SSO set up can log into the server console and SurveyCTO Desktop without issue, but they cannot log into SurveyCTO Collect nor use the REST API with those usernames. We recommend creating separate usernames for the users that use those tools.

2. The subscription management page

The manage subscription page is the home of server account administration. This is where you administer all high-level aspects of your subscription, such as billing and account closure. For a basic overview, check out our support article How to manage your server.

Only a user with the administrator user role can access this page. Given this level of access, you might think that you should have as few admins as possible, but that's not recommended. We discuss this further in 1.2 Setting up additional admins above.

2.1 Configure email notifications

The email address used to register for a SurveyCTO server is automatically made a recipient of billing and server email notifications, both of which are very important for managing your subscription. If you signed up with an email address especially created for the shared project, that mailbox may not be well-attended, so it is crucial that you add others as email notification recipients - they do not even need to be admins.

To add additional users as recipients:

  1. Visit the Manage subscription page.
  2. Under CONTACT AND NOTIFICATIONS, under the Billing and server notification emails subsection, click on Edit billing server and contacts…
  3. Tick the boxes in the Billing column for each user who should receive communication like receipts.
  4. Tick the boxes in the Server column for each user who should receive communication about limits, usage, and similar information.
  5. When you're done, click on the Back button, or close the browser tab (changes are saved automatically).

We recommend having multiple users who receive billing and server notifications. That way, if one user is unavailable, another user will be notified of important events such as credit card payment failure, running low on submission credits, etc. We discuss this more in 1.1 Setting up additional admins above.

Make sure your billing information is correct, such as your address, since this is the information that will appear on your receipts, quotations, and invoices. If you would like to change this information, under CONTACT AND NOTIFICATIONS, click Edit contact information to revise the details.

2.2 Configure non-users as notification recipients

Sometimes, the right person to receive billing notifications is an administrator in your organization who doesn't need to have access to your SurveyCTO account. You can send them billing notifications without making them users. In the Billing and server notification emails subsection, click Edit billing and server contacts, scroll to the bottom, and click Add notification for non-user email at the bottom. Use this to add colleagues in procurement, accounting, or administration. 

2.3 Nominate users for support access

Your trial or paid subscription allows up to three users per team to submit support requests. The sign-up email account is an admin who occupies one of your "support user" slots by default, but you can nominate new support users from the manage subscription page:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page (below the SUPPORT heading).
  2. click on the Manage support contacts… button.
  3. Check the boxes to add and remove users as 'support contacts'.
  4. When you're done, click on the Back button, or close the browser tab (changes are saved automatically).

While you might be tempted to make senior team members into support contacts, we suggest giving new team members access to support to help with their onboarding. Our support team is happy to guide users through big and small questions — and there is no limit to the number of requests you can submit!

3. Plan for your project's needs with prepayments

While month-by-month credit card payments are a great, flexible way to maintain your account, this is less ideal for medium-to-long-term use (especially when only one person administers the account). If you know you'll be using SurveyCTO for more than a month or two over the next year, we suggest you consider locking down the service you need through prepayment for the team-month credits you need to cover the months of service you require (benefiting from discounts).

With prepayments in place, you've secured the service you need, and you don't need to be concerned about managing your credit balance as well as your SurveyCTO subscription.

You can pay in advance via either credit card or wire transfer, which you can learn more about in our FAQ.

4. Managing and controlling usage

4.1 Ensuring successful submissions

Make sure your server has enough submission credits to accept all incoming submissions. If you run out of submission credits, your server will no longer accept new submissions, and the completed form instances will remain on the collection devices.

If you start to run low on your monthly allocation of monthly submission credits, you can purchase extra submission credits, so enumerators do not run into issues submitting their data. You can also purchase extra submission credits in advance, so your project can run without interruption. You can learn about extra submission credits in our FAQ.

4.2 Managing costs

Your SurveyCTO account has all sorts of controls in place to help you economize and control how your account is used.

4.2.1 Limiting submission usage

To stay within your project's budget, you can also control the consumption of your form submission allowance on a team-by-team basis using usage limits. This can also be a great way to make sure certain teams do not use the extra submission credits you purchased for a different team. To learn more, check out our documentation Managing teams, section Team usage limits.

4.2.2 Pausing teams

If you don't need a team at the moment, but you will need that team again in the future, you can pause that team, and then reactivate the team later, picking up right where you left off. That way, you don't pay for the team until you need it again. You can learn more in our support article Pause a team to help economize between projects.

Note: Forms and server datasets in groups belonging to paused teams still use storage on your server. If you plan to downgrade to a community subscription, to get below the community limits, you may need to delete the forms and datasets before pausing the team. See 3.2.3 Community subscription below for more info.

4.2.3 Community subscription

If you do not need your server at the moment, but you would like to keep it active until your next project, you can migrate to a free community subscription instead of closing your server. Then, you can upgrade back to a paid subscription when data collection starts up again. You can learn more about a community subscription here.

To downgrade to a community subscription, you need to have less than 200 MB of storage and 10 or fewer deployed forms. Make sure you get below those limits before downgrading. For help retrieving forms and data before deleting them from your server, check out our support article Working between servers. For help deleting data, check out our support article Purging data on your server.


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