By: Randall Pugh on June 22nd, 2021
A Technical Expert Breaks It Down: IT Automation and Liongard
What is Liongard?
Liongard is a tool that allows MSPs to have access to data points within their customers’ environments and to receive alerts based off those data points’ actions. Example instances of how the tool might be used include:
- Collection of customer information during onboarding
- Tracking changes in customer environments
- Custom alerting
- Reporting on various data points
Why should I Consider Adding Liongard?
You may be thinking, “why would I need this? My RMM can gather information for me”. But we’ve found Liongard to be a valuable addition to the Collabrance toolbox. An out-of-the-box RMM system can have a lot of monitoring pre-configured, but Liongard stands out in its ability to capture information that you may not be able to gather natively in your RMM. Another Liongard benefit is that it can integrate with some of the tools you’re likely already using – such as IT Glue – allowing your staff to have easy access to information about your customers’ environments.
These information-gathering competencies are useful on their own, but Liongard’s capabilities can be taken a step further by creating custom alerts that can feed into your company’s PSA. By default, Liongard has a sizable list of alerts that are pre-configured for their inspectors, but if you don’t see an alert capability that already exists, you can easily set up your own alerts, or create duplicates of existing alerts to fit your needs.
What Are Liongard’s Top Features?
Two of Liongard’s most valuable features, in my opinion, are change detection and historical data.
Change detection is a powerful piece of Liongard’s offering. When change detection is set up, you can have Liongard create alerts based on the changes you specify. For example, you can elect to be notified when a customer adds a domain admin to their environment. Change detection will notice the change in privileged users and send an alert to your PSA. Another area where I’ve seen that change detection may be useful is for public DNS on your firewall.
Change detection also goes hand-in-hand with historical data.
Whenever a Liongard inspector runs, a data point is created that contains the information gathered; you can then go back to previous data points at any time and see what the information said on a specific date the inspector ran. Liongard also shows data points that had changes between the last scan. For instance, using the above example of change detection, if a web developer makes changes to public DNS at your customer, you can check an inspection previous to when the change was made to see what the different records contained, and then effectively take action to reverse any new changes as needed.
What Should I know Before Implementing Liongard?
Like any new tool, the first few days using Liongard can seem overwhelming. But overall, my experience implementing Liongard has been positive. Here’s my best advice to users getting started with Liongard:
- Set clear objectives early on around the kind of data you’d like to see and think about how to take consistent action around that data on an ongoing basis.
- When setting up agents, take note of the names of the servers you have in your customer environments; if any servers have duplicate names across customers, be sure to change the agent name during the install process so that it shows up correctly. I suggest using the naming convention “CUSTOMER NAME – SERVER NAME”.
- If you have the ability to use a parent inspector in Liongard, USE IT. Parent inspectors allow you to set up a “parent-level” of an instance – for example, if you have Microsoft Partner Portal with your customers as tenants, you can set up a parent inspector on the entire partner portal to get data for all of the tenants underneath. Parent inspectors are a huge time-saver and save hours of implementation.
- Certain inspectors will detect other areas you can use as an inspector. When installed in a customer environment, Liongard automatically sets up the Windows inspector on the server the agent was installed on. That Windows inspector should also detect any possible endpoints that can use the SQL Server, Active Directory or Hyper-V inspectors. The Windows agent also triggers a network discovery inspector, which can identify customer network devices like SonicWall, Synology NAS, WatchGuard firewalls, HP ProCurve switches and Fortigates. All of these devices also have inspectors that can be implemented.
Putting a plan in place and establishing some basic standards from the get-go will ensure a smooth, successful implementation.
Liongard is a tool that can be vastly helpful in many different areas of an MSP’s business. Having Liongard as part of your solution delivery platform can aid in identifying more ways to serve your customer base.
Change management and historical data in particular are incredibly helpful in maintaining your internal security posture as well as that of your customer; not only are the built-in alerts useful, the customization capabilities within ensure you’re able to meet each customer’s unique needs. Additionally, Liongard seamlessly integrates with software providers like ConnectWise, IT Glue and Autotask, which makes for easy data transfer into your PSA or document management system.
It can be tricky to grasp Liongard in its entirety because it has a lot to offer. But its comprehensiveness is what makes Liongard a compelling offering for anyone looking to grow their MSP business – there’s likely something useful for everyone.