Neurons

Ivanti Neurons Workspace and Neurons for Healing introduce powerful automation capabilities for your IT department. Neurons is a no-code/low-code workflow based engine capable of solving many challenges across IT, from Published Neurons that can be invoked by service desk analysts against a given device to resolve a support issue, to Healing Neurons that automatically monitor your estate for compliance and user productivity impediments with the ability to automatically remediate and alert. There are many out-of-the-box Neuron queries and actions to start solving problems, but Ivanti Neurons are also infinitely extensible thanks to PowerShell and osquery support.

Neurons are typically used by IT administrators or managers who have responsibility for the productivity, health, or security of multiple users, devices, or those who provide tooling for service desk analysts to improve their troubleshooting capabilities.

Ivanti Neurons employ several components of the Ivanti Neurons Platform in order to deliver functionality that needs to be configured prior to using Neurons:

Service Manager Connector: This must be configured with Action credentials in order to be able to create Service Manager tickets with Neurons.

Ivanti Neurons Agent: This is used for querying real-time date from, and delivering action to, devices. This also deploys and transports osquery data.

Device Groups: The Device list provides the ability to filter and sort devices based on a range of attributes. The resultant set of devices can be saved as a group, which can be used in Neurons to constrain a query or action against that group of devices.

Neurons Introduction

The Neurons home screen is where you can view and access all your Neurons and Neuron Alerts. There are four Neurons categories designed around core business outcomes, and each contain some pre-built Neurons to get started:

  • Compliance: To provide early visibility and action against security threats or compliance issues.
  • User Productivity: To monitor and take action against issues that may prevent an end user from being productive.
  • Business Continuity: To monitor and take action against services or devices that may impact business continuity if unavailable.
  • Resource Optimization: To identify cost or resource saving opportunities.

Neurons Management

Assistant

From the Neurons home screen, click any category to view the management page. This is where you can view and access all the Neurons for a given category and see its key performance indicators including the total number of Neurons, the total number of active1/published Neurons, the Neuron success rate, and the total count of Neuron runs.

Each Neuron in the category is listed in a table that includes the following details:

  • Neuron type: Either a Schedule or Published Neuron.
  • Status: Indicates if the Neuron is Active/Inactive2 or Published/Unpublished
  • Stages: The number of stages in the Neuron.
  • Run Count: Number of times the Neuron has been run.
  • Success Rate: Percentage success rate of the Neuron completing.
  • Last Run: Date the Neuron was last run.
  • History: A timeline to show any trends in behavior.

Click the ellipsis to select to Clone or Delete the Neuron.

Neuron

A Neuron is made from a series of connected stages designed to automate various business processes and can be used to discover, provide insight, and take action. You can create a custom Neuron from scratch or customize a pre-built one to suit your business needs using the Neuron Builder.

There are two types of Neuron, each based on your intended use:

  • Published Neuron
  • Schedule Neuron

Published Neuron

A Published Neuron is designed to help your service desk analysts resolve support issues by automating processes, they can be published as a custom action which can then be invoked by a service desk analyst against a device in the device view.

Schedule Neuron

A Schedule Neuron is designed to increase the efficiency and security of your environment by automating the monitoring, alerting and remediation of issues within your estate, giving you key insights and allowing you to be more proactive.

Schedule Neuron is only available in Neurons for Healing.

Neuron Builder

My Stages

The My Stages panel on the left contains all of the default and installed stages. There are different categories of stages:

  • Query: Used to present and filter information from devices which meet the specified criteria. For example, show devices with less than 10% free disk space. The output and context from this query stage can be passed through subsequent stages in the Neuron. Each query contains a setting which allows the behavior of the Neuron to be controlled when results are not returned. By default Neuron will only continue if results are returned is selected. This means that if no results are returned from online devices, the Neuron will progress no further. If this checkbox is de-selected, the Neuron will continue to progress, for example; this may be useful for raising an alert for positive confirmation that an issue has not been seen.
  • Action: Action stages leverage Automation Fabric to perform actions such as sending email, or executing custom powershell on user devices. Use of variables is available for some actions. See Variables for details.
  • Common: Includes:
    • Filter Results: Filters the captured query information as defined by the filter properties. See Filter for details.
    • Neurons Alert: Designed to generate alerts on the Neurons homepage.
  • Custom: Leverage Bash Action, Custom JavaScript, PowerShell Action and Query, and osquery to allow you to create bespoke actions and queries. Any custom stages created in the stage editor appear here once installed.

Workspace

Drag stages over to the workspace to build the Neuron. Click on a stage to show the following options:

click to remove the stage from the Neuron.

click to add a connector to another stage.

click to break the connection between stages.

Stage Settings

Use the Stage Settings panel on the right to configure and customize each stage. When you drag a stage onto the workspace you can click it to view its settings in the Stage Settings panel.

Connection

Each stage must be connected to another stage so that the Neuron can run. Click on a stage and click and drag the connector arrows to the stage you want to connect it to. The Connection panel opens where you can customize the connection type and style and the line thickness and style. You can also amend the color and add a label.

Neuron Settings

Use the Neuron Settings panel to configure the Neuron. The settings available will depend on the Neuron type.

Filter

You can filter query results based on customizable properties. When you connect a built-in Query stage to a Filter the Property dropdown lists all available fields that can be selected. Details on the fields can be viewed by clicking Stage Information on the Query.

You can also use the Preview Query functionality to assess all targeted devices, and use the results table to view the format and range of values that can be filtered.

It is also possible to connect a filter stage after an Action to filter based on the action result. Results can vary based on the action. You can view the output by clicking on an action stage that has previously run in the run history section.

Custom queries such as osquery, PowerShell and BASH do not automatically populate the filter properties – These must be manually entered based on the column names returned by the query (or viewed in Preview Query).

You have the ability to join multiple queries together in sequence. If this is done, all results are combined and available to filter upon, or use in action stages such as Send Email and Create ISM ticket. You can change the comparison behavior of the connected filter so that it either applies either AND or the OR logic to determine the results.

Variables

Variables can be used to pass information between stages and pass the output of an action into another action. Variables can be used for the following stages:

  • Neurons Alert
  • Send Email
  • Create Ticket (ISM)

Inserting Variables

To insert a variable open the Stage Settings for one of the appropriate stages; Neurons Alert, Send Email, Create Ticket (ISM). In the relevant fields use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Space) to open the drop-down list of available variables and select the one you want to use:

Available Variables

The variables that are currently available to use are:

  • Neuron Name: [[Workflow.Name]] - the name of the Neuron e.g. Blacklisted Software
  • Group Name: [[Workflow.Assistant]] - the name of the Neurons category the Neuron lives under e.g. Compliance
  • NeuronURL: [[Workflow.Url]] - a link to the unique Run # instance for the Neuron
  • Initiation User: [[Initiation.User]] - the name of the user that ran the manual instance
  • Initiation User ID: [[Initiation.UserId]] - the ID of the user that ran the manual instance
  • All Device Names: ${Ivanti.Devices} - a list of device names that were returned by the query separated by comma
  • All Device Data: ${Ivanti.Results} - a list of all device data that was returned by the query
  • Device Count: ${Ivanti.Results.length} - the number of devices that were returned by the query
  • Coverage - Responded: the number of devices that responded
  • Coverage - Errors: the number of devices that failed to respond, with errors
  • Coverage - Percent: the percentage of devices that responded

There are ready to use templates using the variables. For more complex requirements the fields in Neurons Alerts and Emails support javascript but this uses handlebarsjs

Advanced Neuron Examples

The following examples demonstrate how you can build up a Neuron and make effective simple use of Neurons:

Example 1:

This Neuron will check devices for low disk space and attempt an auto clean up. It will then re-assess the disk space and if it’s still problematic it will create a Service Manager ticket with the affected device names for a technician to take a look at:

Example 2:

This Neuron will track logon performance, the action depends on how slow the logon was. So if the logon is equal to or greater than 30 seconds, an email will be sent the nominated recipient with detail of the number and names of the devices. Further to that, if a logon is equal to or greater than 90 seconds, the action to raise a Service Manager ticket is triggered.

Neuron Output

From a Neurons management screen, click a Neuron to view the Neuron Output screen, where you can view the results of a Neuron.

The Run Log lists the full history of runs for that particular Neuron. Click on a Run # to display the output details which includes the KPI's for the; trigger, date, duration, and target group. A non-editable version of the Neuron is displayed below.

The non-editable version of the Neuron shows the success of each stage. If a stage was successful a green tick will display, if the stage failed a red cross will display. To view output details of each stage, click it to open the Stage Output panel.

The following actions are available in the top-right page toolbar:

  • Edit Neuron: To open the Neuron Builder.
  • Run Now: To trigger a manual run of the Neuron.
  • Audit History: To open the full Audit History of all Neurons in the Neurons category.

Neuron Alerts

The Neuron Alerts display on the Neurons homepage. The alerts table lists all alerts that have been raised for any active Neuron that is configured to raise an alert. You can sort the table in order of priority, Neuron name, description, or date that the Neuron was last run. Click any Neuron to display the Neuron Output page with the details for the last run instance.

Library

The library is where you can view and access all of your stages, including default stages, custom stages created by you and stages installed from the marketplace.

My Stages

Contains all of the stages available to use in your Neurons. You can add more stages to your Library either by creating custom stages or installing stages from the Marketplace. You can search for a particular stage or filter the stages by Category; Custom, Query, Common, Action, Beta, or by Publisher.

Marketplace

Contains all the available stages created by Ivanti that you can install to your library to use in your Neurons. You can search for a particular stage and you can filter by Category; Custom, Query, Action or by Publisher.

Audit History

The audit history lists all of the Neuron activity including the status of whether it completed or failed, which Neurons category the Neuron belongs to, when it started and finished and the time it took to run. Click on any Neuron instance to display the Instance timeline.