Rapid7 Services Help Businesses Deal With Breaches

Rapid7 enters the breach response business with two new professional services that help companies detect and respond to breaches.

breach prevention

Security vendor Rapid7 is perhaps best known for such tools as the open-source Metasploit penetration testing framework, but that's not all the company is doing. On March 3, Rapid7 announced the creation of new incident response services to help organizations be better prepared for breach incidents, as well as provide services for those organizations that have already been breached.

Rapid7's Incident Response group is being led by Wade Woolwine, who joined the company in November 2014 as manager of strategic services. Previously, Woolwine worked as senior manager of Managed Defense at FireEye, one of the leading firms for incident response.

"With the history of Rapid7 in Metasploit and exploit development, we're uniquely placed to influence an incident response process," Woolwine told eWEEK. "So when we go into an organization and look at a breach, we're taking a library of exploits with us."

Rapid7 is actually launching two separate, but somewhat related programs as part of its Incident Response services group. One effort is proactive, while the other is more reactive.

The Incident Response Program Development service, the proactive program, aims to help organizations put the right structure in place for an incident detection and response program. The Incident Response Program Development service isn't technology-driven; rather, it is focused on a continuous improvement process, Woolwine said.

From a metrics perspective, Woolwine said his group will first enumerate the current state of an organization's capabilities to detect and respond to a breach incident. There are four key areas in the initial enumeration. The first area is incident preparedness—evaluating whether an organization understands what technology assets and data are in place that need to be protected.

The second area is threat detection and determining if an organization's network is designed in a way to limit risk and to identify potential risks.

The third area that is evaluated is an organization's incident response capabilities, understanding the skills and technologies that are already in place to deal with a potential breach. The final area that Rapid7 evaluates is an organization's cleanup capabilities post-breach.

"We evaluate how quickly you can restore business to normal operating procedures after a breach," Woolwine said.

All of those areas are rated on a one to five scale initially, with the goal of the program development service to improve the score in each of the categories. Woolwine emphasized that the program development evaluation typically does not involve a penetration testing exercise either. He said that in a typical penetration testing exercise, organizations tend to focus on exploits that are discovered rather than on the process that enables incidents to be prevented in the first place. Rapid7 is able to get details on an organization's security posture by looking at existing policies and interviewing staff.

The reactive piece of Rapid7's new services is incident response. This is when an organization calls in Rapid7 to deal with a breach. Woolwine said that the first thing he does when he gets called in for a breach is to focus on building the initial relationship.

"Everything is going to be so high stress, so it's important to build a level of trust," he said.

Rapid7 will assign an engagement manager who will act as the primary contact and orchestrate the required staffing and skills to effectively remediate a breach.

As Rapid7 looks to ramp up its new services, Woolwine noted that staffing is always a challenge, though it's one that he's been able to manage so far.

"The types of skills needed to be able to address the technical aspects of incident response and also address the customer relationship management aspects are few and far between," Woolwine said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.