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Today, Rapid7 announced the acquisition of Komand, an orchestration and automation solution for both security and IT teams. You can read the formal announcement here, but I wanted to share a little bit about why I’m so excited about this acquisition. Komand has been bold. They’ve been unafraid to challenge industry standards. And the issues they set out to solve are big and cumbersome and hard.

 

In the two years since they launched, Komand has built a great product and vision around the goal of empowering lean security and IT teams to operate more effectively. There is still more to be done in this area, and Rapid7 will continue to build on the strong foundation Komand has created. Together, we will be able to accelerate the realization of our shared goal: building security and IT solutions that work for everyone and are easy to use—regardless of the size of your team or environment.

 

This type of alignment doesn’t happen when forced; it has to be organic. This is good for Komand and Rapid7, but it’s even better for our customers and community.

 

Komand built a security orchestration and automation solution designed for teams to connect their disparate systems and automate the often tedious and challenging tasks holding them back. This enables IT and security teams to build both attended and unattended workflows, reducing the strain on people resources and resulting in more productive teams. The benefits go beyond productivity: security and IT professionals see better results through reduced time-to-contain, more reliable patching, and enriched alert information to name a few.  Komand didn’t just build another solution for teams to slap on top of already-complex and dynamic environments.

 

In the words of Komand’s CEO, Jen Andre, they: “knew it was critical to build a solution that would focus on ease of use. One that didn’t require a team of developers to operate. One for every security or IT practitioner, whether they were technical or not. One made for the community.”

 

Rapid7 and Komand share a view that orchestration and automation are the key to effectively putting security and IT teams on level footing with their adversaries—whether it takes the form of downtime, limited resources, attackers, or general ecosystem complexity. I’m excited we’ll be working together to address this critical need.

 

Welcome to the team, Komand!

Great ideas can come from anywhere!

 

At Rapid7, we design and develop wonderful products (we hope you think so too!). Everything here starts with stories. Storytelling matters: The ability to tell a compelling story is the defining quality of human nature. Storytelling is just as important in business today as it was around the campfire thousands of years ago. We start with stories because they help us envision a complete picture of our customers’ needs and inform the solutions we create to meet those needs.

 

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We know that collaboration within and across teams is vital for storytelling. Without collaboration, ideas die. Individual teams might work seamlessly, but if those teams don't collaborate with each other it can be difficult to achieve common goals. Team collaboration challenges people to think and express their ideas freely, which in turn promotes problem solving and expands points of view. Everyone brings something different and valuable to the table.

 

Collaboration and sharing ideas through storytelling can be a challenge when you have teams split across multiple offices and many time zones. At Rapid7, for example, we have a variety of world-class teams: Engineering, Sales, User Experience, Product Management, Marketing, Support, and more. Each of these teams boasts a broad range of talent. In many companies, that talent is not fully utilized, but at Rapid7, teams around the world are constantly collaborating both in person and virtually—from Singapore to Dublin!

 

Collaborative Storytelling

Storytelling is a critical process that informs all our product development at Rapid7. These stories are kindled by conversations with customers about their needs and priorities. Telling a story about how a customer expressed his or her needs helps stakeholders across functional groups better understand the problem. Freytag’s Pyramid is a framework that defines the key areas of a compelling story.

 

See below for details about Freytag’s Pyramid.

 

 

Act 1: Exposition

When we begin to write stories, step one is building a customer persona, so let’s begin there. Our persona today is Richard, a busy senior security analyst with lots of critical responsibilities across the spectrum of security needs. Chief among those needs for his organization is monitoring and detecting security intrusions on the network. We know that this can be a daunting task: modern infrastructure is increasingly complex and often includes on-premise, mobile, and cloud environments with critical applications across each area.

 

Act 2: Rising action

On Sunday evening, Richard gets an email notification from InsightIDR that seems unusual, so he logs in to see what’s up. He quickly sees that this is not normal activity; he asks the on-call incident response (IR) analyst to investigate further and sets up a war room in Slack with all critical stakeholders for up to the second collaboration. Shortly thereafter, IR determines that an employee who was recently terminated connected to a corporate cloud service hosting sensitive company data. This does not look good.

 

Act 3: Climax

After the initial triage, we learn that the intruder’s credentials were not properly disabled as defined by company policy. Now we try to determine the scope of the breach. Where else did this intruder access company data? Was any data exfiltrated outside of the corporate network onto her local machine? Was data deleted or changed? This could go from bad to worse quickly. Richard has the IR analyst log into InsightIDR and quickly poll all assets on the network with agents deployed to look for logins from this user and for any activity from her public IP address over the past seven days. There are hits, but gladly the scope is much narrower than expected.

 

Act 4: Falling action

We see that the intruder’s activity was limited to accessing her client lists and contacts; after confirming the checksums on all the hosts she accessed, IR confirms there was no data changed or deleted. Whew! This was a break in security, but the damage was limited and the incident presents a clear opportunity for the security team to improve.

 

Act 5: Dénouement: Resolution, revelation, or catastrophe

Now that the action is over, what could have been done to prevent this from happening in the first place? After considering this question, the team decides to invest in software to help manage employee onboarding, access, and off-boarding—thus ensuring that when an employee leaves the company all of his or her access is immediately terminated. Richard also reaches out to his Customer Success representative to inquire about managed services such as Managed Detection & Response (MDR) to help keep an eye on things 24/7/365.

 

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Applications of Freytag's Pyramid at Rapid7

The teams at Rapid7 use collaborative stories like this to build use cases, and from there we dive into Design Thinking sessions. Several design solutions might appear—this is common within a Design Thinking approach! These designs will be low-fidelity, so we do not have to invest massive amounts of effort in something that is essentially conceptual in nature. We can then speak with customers who have signed up for our customer advocacy program, VoiceUp, to get feedback about our proposed designs to see if we are on the right track. If we are on track, we iterate on our designs and continually speak with customers to ensure we nail down a solution that truly addresses customer pain. Then we pass those designs to product management and get the effort prioritized and sent to engineering for implementation. This is an iterative process that can include many opportunities for customer feedback to help us make the final product better and more impactful.

 

Sometimes stories clash with practical engineering realities. When this happens, product management has to make tough trade-off decisions to deliver the best possible product with available resources—including people, competing projects, and budget. Customers want innovation as quickly as possible, but resources are scarce, and deadlines often arrive faster than we would like! Team collaboration across the product lifecycle helps everyone maintain balance between what we want and practical realities.

 

The most important thing is for internal teams to stay aligned—and, of course, for Rapid7 to stay aligned with customer needs and preferences they change over time. To ensure that this happens, customers and representatives from each of Rapid7's teams collaborate throughout the product lifecycle. We all work together to ensure a successful product release.

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Shannon Cooper

Senior UX Designer

Rapid7

Are you an IT or security professional who secretly dreams of speaking to a group of passionate people facing the same challenges and celebrating the same victories as you? Dream no more: For the next three weeks, we’re accepting submissions for presentations at UNITED 2017 (September 13-14 in Boston). This is a golden opportunity to submit a talk on something you’re excited about—or struggling with, or interested in exploring with other security practitioners and Rapid7 customers.

 

About UNITED

UNITED is Rapid7’s annual summit for IT and security professionals. We pack dozens of targeted talks, hands-on trainings, and roundtable discussions into just two days to give you the insight necessary to move your security program forward. This is an unparalleled chance to learn from and brainstorm with peers and security leaders: UNITED is collaborative, intimate, and low-stress. No industry-wide cattle calls here—this is about exchanging ideas and building networks, not packing 10,000 bodies into a room full of competing branding.

 

What should I talk about?

We’re glad you asked. UNITED presentations can be about anything related to your use of Rapid7’s products, your practical IT and security knowledge, and your successes (or challenges!) in this space. Maybe you’ve got an important story to share about building and scaling your organization’s security program, or the operational challenges of a highly regulated business environment, or an awesome customization you built in InsightVM that might help other Rapid7 customers. Don’t be afraid to dig deep into details and share screenshots or step-by-step guides.

 

We look for lessons learned, compelling use cases, and cool technical talks. The bottom line is this: If you have actionable knowledge to share, UNITED attendees want to hear about it, regardless of your organization’s size or the maturity of your company’s security program. Cybersecurity is an incredibly fast-paced, complex field, and UNITED is a chance to learn from each other’s wins and losses.

 

Need more inspiration? Take a look at this year’s conference tracks:

  • Monitor, Ask & Respond: approaches and technologies for monitoring operational performance, detecting suspicious activity, and responding to critical events.
  • Assess & Remediate: strategies and techniques to measure and manage your network and application security risk, from identifying vulns to prioritizing remediation and implementing changes
  • Offensive Security: technical tips and tricks on taking a proactive approach to protecting your network, systems, and teams from attackers
  • Research & Collaborate: insight into Rapid7's research projects, ways to apply them in your own enterprise, and discussion about the open communities that make our security intelligence world-class.

 

How to submit a presentation

Three easy steps: Fill out this form. Click “Submit.” Give yourself a high five.

 

UNITED track chairs will evaluate submissions and get back to you by early July. The deadline to submit a presentation is June 26, 2017. Don’t wait!

 

Never spoken at a conference before? No worries. Our entire team works together to help speakers polish their presentations. You’ll have access to:

  • Dedicated track chairs to help provide oversight and guidance on your topic
  • Complimentary 1:1 preparation sessions with our speaking coach, who’s trained hundreds of speakers, from previous UNITED presenters to TED speakers
  • Help punching up visuals and tips on making your slides pop from Rapid7's rock star Creative Services team

 

If your presentation is selected, we'll cover your conference pass and two nights’ hotel stay. We're also known to offer some pretty sweet speaker swag—but you’ll have to wait to find out what it is this year!

 

Questions? Reach out to us here. Want to see what conference attendees have spoken about in the past? You can explore last year’s UNITED agenda here.

 

Sharing is caring

Don’t miss out on a shot to share what you know with peers who can use that knowledge. Submit your presentation by June 26, 2017 and join an elite group of dedicated IT and security pros at UNITED. We can’t wait to see you there!

Today we're excited to introduce a key leader in Rapid7’s sales organization: Eric Erston is Rapid7's senior vice president of sales for the Americas region. He has extensive experience in a variety of sales roles, including leading go-to-market functions for mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Rapid7, Eric served as senior vice president of global sales at EnerNOC. From 2000 to 2015, he held senior sales leadership positions at RSA; most recently, he was hailed as Global VP of Go to Market, Identity and Risk Management. He's sold enterprise security solutions to companies of all sizes and is a great example of someone whose sales career has grown from individual contributor roles to diverse leadership experience. Here's his story on how he got started, why he's excited about Rapid7, and what advice he has for those starting out in sales!

 

Let’s start with the basics. Did you always know you wanted a career in sales? How’d you start down this path?

I knew I wanted to be selling things, and by age 8, I was building and selling custom BMX bikes. From there it took an undergrad degree in Accounting to help me realize that wasn’t the path for me. I fell into sales shortly after college and have loved it ever since. Being a sales guy during the first dot com bubble in 1999 was an amazingly fun ride and solidified my love for the discipline.

 

Boston is full of hot exciting cybersecurity companies. Why Rapid7?

When choosing a company to work for it's important to look at 3 major elements:

  1. Product: Is the product or solution set totally sound? Is it market-leading?
  2. Market: Are you market-constrained? Is the product market fit correct?
  3. People: Are the people key differentiators for the company in the market?

 

Rapid7 was a big yes in all these areas. I enjoy security and IT operations, and I wanted to be with a company that delivers foundational elements of most end users’ programs as opposed to “nice to haves.” I didn't want to go to the company with the next “shiny” object; I wanted to be with a company with a track record of delivering value to customers and driving growth from solutions that exist today, not roadmap promises. The security and IT operations fields are full of technology but short on value delivered by vendors, so there’s huge opportunity for a company like Rapid7 to fill that value-provider hole. Plus, security has become such an important area for both the public and private sectors; in addition to being exciting, it's something you can really believe in and connect with.

 

What do you think the most exciting opportunity is for Rapid7 right now?

I'm hard-pressed to pick just one! The two things that really excite me are the Rapid7 Insight platform and our PACT Partner Program. The Insight platform is the first of its kind in security: a collection of products that deliver value individually but are also engineered together in a cloud-delivered solution that provides both efficiency and effectiveness to customers—that's a sales person's dream! And Rapid7's PACT Partner Program fires me up because it's different. It's built from the ground up with end users and partners at the forefront, so it's all about value for the constituents. I've never seen a program that is designed to do anything except push the vendor's product, but PACT is unique, and it's going to bring value to the whole ecosystem. Working with partners is a win-win when you engage with them the way we do.

 

What have been some of your biggest challenges since you started at Rapid7 in January?

Fortunately the biggest challenge we face is the one all growth companies face which is how to keep the best of what got us here while making needed changes so we get to where we want to be...all without messing things up! We have an amazingly effective go-to-market engine at Rapid7, and we've pioneered what I refer to as 'Modern Sellers', but we need to continuously develop and expand our capabilities and approach. We pride ourselves on delivering high value to our ecosystem, and we do it by offering a unique sales model and a unique set of solutions. To maximize our impact, we work hard to start with the right talent and then invest heavily in enablement to ensure we're focused on outcomes for our customers and partners and not just more sales. It's a challenge, but the rewards are worth it, and frankly, it's the only way to be great in today's market.

 

What’s it like to be on the sales floor at Rapid?

It’s sort of like watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. Just when you think the game can't get any faster and the competition can’t get any more intense, the players find a way to amp it up. We have an amazing group of talented professionals, and the teamwork and camaraderie are unparalleled. I'm continuously impressed by the collaboration, knowledge sharing, and genuine excitement that our people show each other. When someone is successful, the feeling spreads across the floor and everyone celebrates. It's a really cool phenomenon.

 

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned during your time in sales?

Even when you think you're on top of your game you can make some really dumb mistakes—and they can be costly. Sometimes mistakes are the result of being sloppy or shortcutting, but sometimes they come from running too fast and not sticking to the process. A good buddy of mine always says, "The process will never let you down," and he's right. Process might not tell you what you want to hear, but it won't let you down! And of course we can avoid nonstop pain by adhering to the fundamental rule: Surround yourself with great people!

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to start a career in sales?

Find a good mentor—someone who’s seen different markets and enjoyed meaningful success but also lived through down times. Technology sales has changed a lot; that's why we focus so intently on finding and developing Modern Sellers. Perspective from someone with experience can be invaluable for a young sales professional.

 

Last question: What’s your favorite sports team?

I'm a pretty big Bruins fan, but I have to admit not much beats the 1995 Red Wings and the early 80s Oilers in my book!

One of the things I love about working at Rapid7 is how deeply this company embodies the concept of giving back to the Security Community. Whether it be discussing research on adversary analytics, attack methods for breaking out of sandboxes, or simply breaking into the industry - Rapid7 encourages its employees to actively participate in community events, both large and small. As a proponent of engaging with the Security Community, I'm very excited that my fellow employees continue to embrace giving back to the community through volunteerism, as well as presenting on interesting topics at this year's BSides Boston on April 15th.

 

As many are readily aware, Rapid7 is home to numerous passionate security professionals, several of whom give back personally – going well beyond all of their professional work. This year will be Patrick Laverty’s third year as a member of the BSides Boston organizing committee, in addition to his other organizing roles including both the OWASP Rhode Island chapter, and the DefCon 401 (DC401) group in Providence.  It has been a great pleasure working on the organizing committee this year with Patrick.

 

At this year's conference Patrick and I will be joined by several Rapid7 presenters who were fortunate enough to be selected to speak at the conference, including Bob Rudis, Kirk Hayes, and Justin Pagano.

 

Bob Rudis (@hrbmstr) will be giving a presentation titled Heisenberg Cloud: At-Scale Cross-Cloud Adversary Analytics. Bob will be talking about the research conducted from Rapid7’s Heisenberg honeypot program. He'll also be showing specific attack and connection profiles for the Mirai botnet. It will be a deep dive into the frequency and flavor of attacks across every region in six major cloud providers.

 

Kirk Hayes (@l0gan) is fresh off giving presentations at DerbyCon and BlackHat regarding his “MyBFF” tool, and now in Boston he’ll talk about methods he uses to break out of sandboxed environments. We may feel as though having the sandbox is keeping our users secure, but Kirk shows that it may just be a false sense of security. Find out how in Escaping Alcatraz: Breaking out of Application Sandboxed Environments.

 

Justin Pagano (@jp4gs) will be speaking on the “Breaking Into InfoSec” panel. As the Security Operations and Engineering Manager at Rapid7, Justin will be sharing tips, suggestions, and ideas on how to start your career in Information Security – whether you’re changing careers, or just starting out.

 

In addition to moderating the “Breaking into InfoSec” panel, I have taken up the role of Volunteer Coordinator and Student Advocate on this year’s BSides Boston Organizing Committee. This will be my second year as a volunteer at the conference, and I look forward to sharing my passion for helping others learn about information security in person. I'm fortunate to work for a company that encourages me to contribute to the community - they have been especially supportive of my recent work, the InfoSec Mentors Project.

 

Security BSides is an international, non-profit organization that hosts security conferences all around the world. The focus of BSides is to be a low-cost way to get people in the security community talking to each other and sharing what they know. This year’s BSides Boston conference will have four tracks, and is recording many of the presentations – so if you can’t make it on April 15th, you can check out the content at a later date!

 

Rapid7 is a proud sponsor of BSides Boston and several other Security BSides events.

Ring Ring! You’re in the Final!

It’s always nice to get a phone call letting us know that we’ve been shortlisted for awards – but when it’s five awards, we like those calls even more! Two of our products, and our company have reached the final stages for the Network Computing Awards, and of course we’d love it if you took a moment to vote for us please.

 

La La Land may have racked up the Oscar noms, but at the Network Computing Awards it’s looking good for LE LE Land! Image result for la la land

OK, so we might not quite have the fourteen nominations that La La Land has, but our Logentries (lovingly shortened to LE) product is a finalist in three categories: Best Picture, Best Soundtrack, Best Original Screenplay (or rather: IT Optimisation Product of the Year, Software Product of the Year, and The Return on Investment Award). To reach this stage in these categories is huge, and we’re very happy to be triple listed. If you’ve not yet experienced Logentries, I would highly recommend you take a look – it’s a pretty amazing product:

Imagine trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle, without an image of the completed puzzle, no idea of how many pieces are required, and to add to your woes the pieces are hidden all over the building. If you’ve ever had to trawl through multiple logs to try and work out what’s causing a problem, and you only have symptoms to work from – say a production server is running slowly – you’ll recognise the analogy. Logentries puts the answers hidden within your myriad of logs right at your fingertips. It’s simple to use, lightning fast, and you can create some very cool visualisations from your data too. Click here to learn more about how Logentries can revolutionise how you see your ecosystem.

 

Look out! Here comes the AppSpider, Man! Image result for spiderman

Whilst my tenuously linked movie reference here is no stranger to Oscar nominations either, I’m obviously referring to our AppSpider product, which is listed as a finalist in the Network Computing Awards, in the Testing and Monitoring Product of the Year category.

Web apps, and the plethora of technologies that power them, are growing at a crazy rate, presenting complicated security challenges for organisations. AppSpider crawls to the deepest, darkest corners of even the most modern and complex apps to effectively test for risk and get you the insight you need to remediate faster. It plays a key part in the SDLC, and allows DevOps to fix issues earlier in the cycle - resulting in a huge reduction in last minute delays caused by vulnerabilities being found late in the day.

 

You can read more about how DevOps teams using AppSpider can reduce stress and possibly live longer happier lives* here.

 

*Life lengthening not guaranteed, but your web app SDLC will be in a happier place for sure. Always read the label.

 

So many great movies, so little time….but which One should I Watch?

FINALIST 17.jpgThe Rapid7 movie, of course! Well, OK, we don’t have a movie length extravaganza of Rapid7 for you *yet* (cough, cough: Kyle Flaherty,),but we do have some pretty cool YouTube videos you can watch, plus a highly acclaimed podcast you should listen to. We’ve also been listed as a finalist for the One to Watch Company - hooray!

 

We’re pleased (read: overjoyed), humbled, and indeed chuffed (I had to get a Britishism in somewhere) to have received our finalist nominations, and very much looking forward to attending the event in London later this year.

 

If you could please take a minute to cast your votes for Logentries, AppSpider and Rapid7 that would be most wonderful of you – voting is open until March 22nd.

 

Click here to vote!

On Friday, January 27th, 2017, the White House issued an Executive Order entitled, “Protecting The Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into The United States.”  As has been well-publicized, the Order suspends some immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries — Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya — for 90 days, halts the refugee program for 120 days, and suspends the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely. Since being issued on Friday, it has resulted in thousands of people being stranded and detained, away from their homes and families, and facing immense uncertainty over their futures.

 

Below is the response that Rapid7’s president and CEO, Corey Thomas, shared with media over the weekend:

 

“As a midsize company with a global customer and employee base, these actions increase fear, uncertainty, and the cost of running a business, without clearly articulated security benefits. I believe that this action not only risks serious harm to innocent lives, it also weakens the position of US companies over time, and thus weakens the US economy. I am supportive of thoughtful security measures that are clearly communicated and well executed; however, these executive actions do not meet that standard.

 

“We want to applaud and thank the Massachusetts senators and representatives that have taken a stand against this action.”

 

We hope for swift and positive resolution for all those adversely affected by this Order.

January 30th, 9AM: We’ll be joining Okta and Code42 for a breakfast brief to share what we’re seeing in security today. If you’re worried about the security of your cloud services, ransomware, or simply the top attack vectors attackers are succeeding with today, this is a must-attend event.

 

At Rapid7, we understand you’re inundated by the sheer amount of data you need to collect, prioritize, and use to make smart decisions. You may be familiar with us from our vulnerability management solution, Nexpose, and Metasploit, the pen-testing framework which needs little introduction. What’s new is that from our continued research of the attacker and working closely with security teams like yours, we’ve also released incident detection and response solutions used by hundreds of global orgs today.

 

I’m sure you’re familiar with “Detection, not just Prevention,” and the need to reliably detect across the entire Attack Chain. Still, infosec teams are spending more than ever on monitoring and detection, yet fail to detect pen tests or stealthy attacker behavior like the use of stolen credentials or lateral movement. In our presentation, Sam Humphries and I will give a refresher on the top attack vectors behind breaches today, and then share the Rapid7 approach to incident detection and response.

 

insightIDR_dashboard_home.png

 

This includes the data sources we value and ingest (e.g. Active Directory, cloud services, endpoint logs), as well as how this data powers the user behavior analytics and deception technology in our technology and services.

 

Whether you’re an overworked, multiple-hat team of one, or you’re at a leading Security Operations Center, we’d love to see you there!

 

Get additional details and RSVP here: http://r-7.co/2iPReGv

 

 

In the meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about our Incident Detection & Response offerings, start with our Solutions Page, or check-out our 3-minute video of InsightIDR, the SIEM you’ve always wanted.

In 2007 Coalfire selected Rapid 7 Nexpose as the engine around which to build their PCI Approved Scan Vendor offering.  PCI was just a few years old and merchants were struggling to achieve and document full compliance with the highly proscriptive Data Security Standard.  Our goal was to find that classic sports car blend of style and power: a vulnerability assessment solution that was as streamlined and easy to use as possible, but robust enough to significantly improve the customer's security.  In other words, an ASV service that could meet the needs of a large multi-national enterprise as well as the small franchise owner just learning how to spell IT.  After looking at all the alternatives, Coalfire selected Nexpose for its high-end performance and ease of interoperability to build around, all at a price point that kept us competitive.

 

The Coalfire scanning solution has gone by many names since its first ASV certification: Surefire Compliance, ARM PCI RapidScan, Coalfire RapidScan right up to today's CoalfireOne℠ scanning platform.  But through all of it, Nexpose was under the hood making it go, with the power and reliability of a GM LS Series 6.0L or an AMC 4.0 straight-six.  Sorry, that might be taking the analogy a bit far (and letting my car geek show), but the point is, we never had to worry if the scan was going to run or if it was going to find the latest SSL vulnerability, it just did.  And that let us focus on the user experience which was always our plan.

 

CoalfireOne Powered By Nexpose.png

With our new ASV partnership, Rapid 7's ASV customers now get that “best of both worlds” pairing.  The same high confidence in scan findings they're used to, with the simplicity of CoalfireOne management.  Define your targets, set your schedule, review and dispute findings, and download your attestation of compliance -- all through the easy to use Web interface.  It's a little like a Shelby Cobra -- body by AC Cars, V8 by Ford.  Okay, I'm done.

sdutta

Snakes Masquerading as Vines

Posted by sdutta Employee Jan 10, 2017

We spend a lot of time identifying trustworthiness in our day-to-day lives. We constantly evaluate trustworthiness in both the people that we meet and in the products and services that we decide to interact with.

 

Imagine that you’re like Tarzan in the jungle; you’re trying to navigate your way through products and services using the vines that hang in your path. Each vine either helps or hinders your path forward. Some are stronger than others and help you swing a far distance quickly and effectively (angel patterns). Others are actually snakes masquerading as vines. You reach out to grab hold and instead get bitten, releasing your grip and falling to the ground (Dark Patterns).

 

As a user swinging through the jungle of products and services, it’s easy to mistake a snake for a vine and end up lost on the ground. As designers, we need to do everything we can to make the vines of angel patterns obvious and remove the dark pattern snakes from the user’s path.

 

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        (Credit: Michael Kriskovic)

 

Like any new relationship, using new software starts with a little bit of anxiety. In software products, this anxiety is felt the first time a user engages with your product. A product with clear and honest messaging with transparent communications can reduce such user anxiety. We call it an angel pattern. There are many such angel patterns to achieve trustworthy experience. Read the original article published in User Experience Magazine to learn how we apply these patterns.

Merry HaXmas to you! Each year we mark the 12 Days of HaXmas with 12 blog posts on hacking-related topics and roundups from the year. This year, we’re highlighting some of the “gifts” we want to give back to the community. And while these gifts may not come wrapped with a bow, we hope you enjoy them.

 

In early 2014, we formally launched a program called Rapid7 Voice. It’s an advocacy program that enables our outstanding customers to build their personal brand while guiding Rapid7 innovation. The Voice program gives you the opportunity to become involved with Rapid7 at whatever commitment level is right for you. This program is a unique opportunity for Rapid7 customers to help influence product development and become more involved with the tools they are using. Participants also get the chance to network with peers, speak at industry events, and engage with other customers in mentorship roles.

                                                                                                                    

To supplement the Voice program, we have VoiceUp, an online customer advocacy engagement hub which gives customers the opportunity to be the first to learn about Rapid7’s product roadmap and the power to influence innovation in VoiceUp-1.pngdevelopment. Members also get first access to news, content, and engagement opportunities. In the hub, customers can earn points for all their completed engagement “activities,” big or small, to redeem great rewards.

                                                                                                                   

With both Voice and VoiceUp, the focus is not only to actively involve customers in the development of our products and services through their feedback and insights, but also to help them build a personal brand. Advocates are invited to participate in a variety of engagement opportunities to gain more experience and exposure within the industry.

                challenge_banner.jpg

Here are some examples:

 

There are countless ways to engage with us here at Rapid7, and we want every customer to have a great experience. Take it from these advocates:

 

“[VoiceUp allows me] to interact with Rapid7 in a way that not many other companies have [including] reading what others have written, additional awareness of security news articles on Rapid7, and learning about current events. Rapid7 seems to have a vested interest in using the information provided to benefit the users of VoiceUp. “

- Brian Haessly, IT Security Engineer

 

“You can’t complain about a product that allows you to have an input into it. It is nice to have a company as large as Rapid7 wanting to hear what the end user wants to say and not just building it the way the company wants with the "that's the way it is" attitude.”

- Eric Pirolli, IT Security Analyst at The University of Toledo

 

“I’ve joined Rapid7 VoiceUp hub so I may have an opportunity to be involved in something bigger than myself. I feel I am part of an evolving industry that is meant to help and protect. I have had an opportunity to speak with the product team, been part of a webcast, and engaged with other security professionals. But my biggest reason to stay an active member of VoiceUp is to help others.”

- Jack Voth, Sr. Director of Information Technology at Algenol Biotech

 

If you want to join these Rapid7 Advocates and get involved, visit https://www.rapid7.com/about/rapid7-voice/ to read more about the program and sign up today.

With the end of the year comes the annual "best of" awards season, and cybersec is no different. This year, Rapid7 has been nominated for 10 awards at the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards! It's up to you, the practitioners and folks in the trenches, to vote for your top choice in each category and choose a winner.

 

To help recognize our people and products, we could use your help in voting. Each category is listed below and ready for you to vote on. Simply log in (or register) on the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards website and then for each category, visit the links below and click the big green thumbs up near the top to vote:

 

Cybersecurity company: Rapid7: http://cybersecurity-excellence-awards.com/candidates/rapid7-4/

 

Cybersecurity product or service:

 

Cybersecurity professional:

 

Cybersecurity team:

 

 

Thank you for your support!

 

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Merry HaXmas to you! Each year we mark the 12 Days of HaXmas with 12 days of blog posts on hacking-related topics and roundups from the year. This year, we’re highlighting some of the “gifts” we want to give back to the community. And while these gifts may not come wrapped with a bow, we hope you enjoy them.

 

Are you a busy Information Security professional that prefers bloated web applications, fancy interactions, unnecessary visuals, and overloaded screens that are difficult to make sense? No…I didn’t think so!

 

Being a designer, I cringe when I see that sort of stuff, and it’s something we avoid at all cost at Rapid7. You don’t even have to be a designer to dislike it. My mantra mirrors that of Derek Featherstone, who said “Create the minimum viable interaction by providing the most valuable piece of information for decision-making as early as possible.” And focusing on good design is the gift I bring to you this HaXmas!

 

To bring you this gift, I am always learning about new ways to solve the problems that you and your teams face on a day-to-day basis. That learning comes from many sources, including our customers, books, webinars, blog posts, and events. One notable event this year was the aptly named An Event Apart, held in Boston.

 

An event what? 

An Event Apart is a tech conference for designers and developers to learn,and to be inspired by, the latest design trends and coding techniques that improve the way we deliver applications. While other conferences tend to focus only on design, this conference does much more by bringing a variety of topics under one umbrella, including coding, web and mobile app design. To that end, every speaker at An Event Apart is pretty famous in our world—it was great to see them in real life! Three days and twelve presentations later, my head was swimming with ideas. But the most important themes I brought away were to:

  • Design the priority
  • Speed it up
  • Be more compassionate

 

Let’s look at each of these concepts one-by-one and see how they apply to the way we designed InsightIDR, Rapid7’s Incident and Detection Response tool, which allows security teams to detect intruders earlier in the attack chain.

 

Design the priority

At the conference, Ethan Marcotte, the father of Responsive Design, said “Design the priority, not the layout”. Ethan mentioned this because designers tend to consider the layout of an application screen first. Unfortunately, this approach has a tendency to throw out the signal-to-noise ratio. Jeffrey Zeldman agreed with Ethan when he said, “Design your system to serve your content, not the other way around.” This concept has really come to the forefront with the Mobile First approach from Luke Wroblewski, who argues that "Mobile forces you to focus".

 

Well, I argue that you do not need to be mobile to focus! This concept is just as important on a 27” screen as it is on a 5” screen. As we design InsightIDR, we design the priority, not the layout, by helping our customers focus on the right content. As you can see on the InsightIDR design to the left, the KPIs are placed in order of importance, with date and trending information, allowing our customers to prioritize their next actions as they protect their organizations. This results in a better user experience, and time saved for other tasks.

 

Speed it up

According to Jeffrey Zeldman, the applications we build need to be fast. Very. Fast. Commonsense, I hear you say, and I agree completely. But that’s no easy thing when you are collecting, analyzing, and sorting the amount of information that InsightIDR captures. Can we sit back and start to think that our customers would understand if it takes a few seconds for a page to load? Not at all! Yesenia Perez-Cruz, design director at Vox Media, suggests that organizations need to better plan for a more strategic way to decrease the file size of web application pages, while concurrently increasing load times. We have taken Jeffrey’s and Yesenia’s message to heart, as we strive to ensure the pages and content within InsightIDR load as quickly as possible, so you can get your job done faster.

 

Be more compassionate

Being compassionate by standing in the shoes of the people we design for might seem like a no-brainer. After all, the ‘U’ stands for ‘User’ in my job title ‘UX Designer.’ Yet, some designers do not take the time to actually speak with the people they are designing for. But at Rapid7, I speak with customers about their security needs through our customer voice program on a regular basis. The customers that have signed up for the program have a say in the features we design, and they get to see those designs early so they can, in effect, co-design with us by letting us know how to modify the designs to make them more effective. Only then can I and the rest of the UX team at Rapid7 truly design for you. In this respect, as Patty Toland, a regular An Event Apart speaker, says “Design consistency isn’t pixels; it is purpose.”

 

Wrapping up

At Rapid7, I am always learning about design, about our customers’ needs, and about the future of information security. So, if you are in Boston and hear someone on the T softly say “Create the minimum viable interaction by providing the most valuable piece of information for decision-making as early as possible,” that will probably be me as I go to work.  On a more serious note, if you have not done so already, make sure you sign up for our Voice Program to see what’s in the works, and have a say in what we do and how we do it. Here are a few links to that program if you are interested:

 

Rapid7 Voice: https://www.rapid7.com/about/rapid7-voice/

Rapid7 Voice email: Rapid7Voice [at] rapid7 [dot] com

I look forward to speaking with you in the near future, as we work together to design the next version of InsightIDR!

 

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful HaXmas!

Kevin Lin, UX Designer II

Rapid7

 

 

Image credits:

First image: An Event Apart (©eventifier.com, @heyoka)

Second image: insightIDR

Happy Holidays from Rapid7

Posted by aefountain Employee Dec 21, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, we wanted to pause and reflect on what a great year it’s been connecting with our customers, partners and the community. We at Rapid7 wanted to reach out and say thank you and best wishes for the holidays and have a happy New Year.

 

Please enjoy this special video sharing the tale of "The Hacker Who Stole Christmas," narrated by Bob Rudis.

 

This time of the year is often seen as a time for giving thanks. At Rapid7, we are continually thankful for our community – the customers, partners, employees, experts and open-source contributors – who engage with us every day. Our community also includes the places where we live and work and, since one way to show thanks is by giving back, we decided that everyone in the Company would take a day in October to show our support and love for our communities.

 

#Rapid7GivesBack Day was on October 20, 2016 and every single Rapid7 office across the globe closed so our amazing employees (our Moose) could participate in service projects within their communities. These projects ranged from fall cleanups to painting to donation drives to charity fundraisers to supporting open source communities to volunteering at animal shelters and providing meals. We do amazing things when we partner together and this allowed our team to share that energy and give back to our communities across the globe. Giving back is our way of saying thank you to our communities.

 

Here’s some of the ways we thanked our communities on #Rapid7GivesBack Day and what our Moose had to say about the experience:

 

Boston and Cambridge Headquarters

Our Boston and Cambridge Moose partnered with TUGG to find several different volunteer opportunities across the city. Here are some of the organizations volunteers supported on #Rapid7GivesBack Day:

  • Ethos -  a private, not-for-profit organization that promotes the independence, dignity, and well-being of the elderly and disabled.
  • The Gavin Foundation – an organization that offers specialized adolescent residential, community, educational and diversion programs to respond to the needs of youth affected by drug and alcohol abuse, and their families.
  • Josiah Quincy Elementary School - a Boston public school based in Chinatown serving over 800 kids k-5. Nearly 80 percent of its students are low income and over half are English Language Learners.
  • United South End Settlements – USES works to build a strong community by improving the education, health, safety, and economic security of low-income individuals and families in and around Boston's historic South End/Lower Roxbury.
  • Mass Audubon Society in Mattapan - the mission of Mass Audubon is to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife.

 

 

 

Alexandria Office

The Alexandria office included an amalgam of Moose from the office and those from around the D.C. area. This group helped support New Hope Housing and the Gartlan House which provides permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless adult men. The team assisted in yard clean up at the house and felt the experience was a great way to volunteer in the area.

 

 

Austin Office

Half of the office went to the Austin Animal Center where volunteers helped walk dogs, play with cats and kittens and through Meals on Wheels to community members. Austin Moose found the experiences great for getting out of the office to give back and have suggested volunteering much more often throughout the year!helped make treats for all the animals. The other half of the office helped deliver nutritious meals and human connection through Meals on Wheels to community members. Austin Moose found the experiences great for getting out of the office to give back and have suggested volunteering much more often throughout the year!

 

Belfast Office

Belfast Moose split into several groups to give back to several local charities including Action Cancer, Cancer Focus, NI Hospice, Simon Community and Assisi Animal Sanctuary. The group gave back by static cycling for charity, organizing donated items, painting and helping with animals, the team kept busy and supported several different organizations in one day.

Belfast.PNG

 

 

Dublin Office

The Dublin office helped support CoderDojo, an open source, volunteer led community orientated around running free non-profit coding clubs for young people. With impeccable timing, #Rapid7GivesBack day fell during Europe Code Week 2016 and the Dublin team was able to partner with CoderDojo to help further develop the community platform and content including pushing forward some core projects.

 

 

 

Los Angeles Office

The Los Angeles office volunteered at the LA Food Bank which provides food for children, seniors, families and individuals in need. Together, the team sorted 25,173 pounds of food – the equivalent to 20,893 meals. That prep work helped the

Los Angeles 5.PNG

Food Bank staff get ready to deliver meals the following week. In sharing their experience, the team noted that it was a very humbling experience with regard to understanding how many don’t have food and how difficult it is to prepare donations to make sure those who need the support can get it. It was a long day of physical labor but incredibly rewarding knowing that the work would help someone in need later.

 

 

Reading Office

The Reading office volunteered at Whitley Park Primary School and helped rebuild a play area for kids. The team helped repaint fences and picnic tables, plant gardens, rake leaves and clean up the space. After a physical day of work, the team agreed it was a great use of time and a good experience to do something charitable for the community. The school shared its appreciation and gratitude and invited Rapid7 Moose back any time to help out.

 

Reading (6).JPG

 

 

 

Singapore Office

Moose in the Singapore office ran a donation drive within the company to give pre-loved belongings to the Salvation Army. Items were collected over the course of two weeks and were delivered on #Rapid7GivesBack Day. The team appreciated being able to re-purpose items that would help someone else.

 

Singapore (4).jpg

 

 

Toronto Office

Toronto Moose supported Free Geek Toronto by collecting donated electronics to either dispose of E-Waste properly without damaging the environment or refurbished to get youth into tech. Part of Free Geek Toronto’s mission is to promote social and economic justice, focusing on marginalized populations in the Greater Toronto area by reducing the environmental impact of e-waste through reuse and recycling and increasing access to computing and communications technologies. The team helped collect donations by reaching out to friends, family and other businesses in the area. The team appreciated the opportunity to support this local organization that helps give more youth access to technology and open source software.

Toronto.jpg

 

 

 

Remote Moose

Our Moose without an official Rapid7 home base participated as well. Projects included community clean up, running charity races or volunteering with local organizations. The effects of #Rapid7GivesBack Day were felt anywhere our Moose are located.

 

 

jhart.PNG

 

We may have celebrated a little early in the year with #Rapid7GivesBack Day, but we give thanks every day for the partnerships we have – both for the individuals and the places that make our community.

 

For more photos from #Rapid7GivesBack Day, visit our Facebook album or check out this video.