[Executive Interview] Trevor Parsons, Sr. Director of IT Search at Rapid7

YourDailyTech got a chance to sit down with Trevor Parsons, the Senior Director of IT Search at Rapid7, to discuss InsightOps. InsightOps is a leading SaaS-delivered IT monitoring and troubleshooting solution, developed to make machine-generated data easily accessible to IT Operations and DevOps teams. In his role, Trevor Parsons is responsible for product strategy and direction. He works closely with customers and partners to continuously understand what they need, and to validate the best product-market fit for each unique case.

Trevor, thank you for joining us today. We are thrilled to hear the story behind InsightOps. Since you have been involved from the beginning, please tell us about how InsightOps was originally designed to address specific business needs.

Trevor: I’m excited to share the story with you. Yes, the project originally began as a proprietary log management technology that was being built as part of my PhD program focused on collecting logs from distributed systems.

Now this technology had been used in two different Rapid7 services, but customers were asking for a more robust IT Operations solution that includes but isn’t limited to log management. These conversations taught us that logs are very powerful — they can be structured and they offer a record of everything occurring in an IT environment, but they’re really just the beginning when it comes to monitoring and troubleshooting.

That’s true. Logs are an incredibly powerful and potentially useful tool if they can be utilized to do more.

Exactly! We’ve found that very few IT investigations start and end in the same place. So, while IT professionals may utilize logs for part of the investigation, they often find themselves tracing an issue to an individual employee workstation. At this point, logs are no longer useful when you need to answer questions like “what’s running on this laptop”.

So, recognizing this complex problem-solving issue, we built InsightOps to be the first IT Operations solution to combine state-of-the-art log management functionality with the ability to see every IT asset in your environment and ask questions of those assets, with just a few clicks.

You’ve mentioned that ease of implementation is a cornerstone feature of InsightOps, especially for resource-constrained companies. Can you explain why this is such a primary focus of InsightOps?

A common misconception is that only startup companies are resource-constrained and searching for an easy-to-use, SaaS solution. What we’ve discovered from talking to customers is that organizations of all sizes are constantly facing resource constraints– whether it is time, money, or people.

Many of the premium IT monitoring tools on the market today, as well as commonplace open-source technologies, require a significant amount of effort and time to setup, configure, and maintain. Companies don’t have this time and effort. Companies will often have dedicated team members focused exclusively on maintaining the infrastructure and storage required by these solutions.

At Rapid7, we want to give resources back to your team — not take them away. That’s why we’ve built InsightOps as a hosted service. You never have to worry about managing InsightOps because it automatically scales to your growing IT environment.

We also built InsightOps to make it easy and simple to collect and centralize your data. Instead of demanding specific data formats or requiring the end user to write indexes for their logs, InsightOps accepts data in any structure, in any format, and automatically structures, normalizes and indexes most known data formats. InsightOps can even accept custom logs without the need for configuration.

Aside from easy setup, what makes InsightOps different from other solutions on the market today?

Well, we work hard to ensure that the InsightOps interface is user-friendly and easy to use.

There are a lot of unique elements of InsightOps, but I’ll focus on two specific ones here:

Two common complaints you’ll often hear about other log management and IT monitoring tools are that 1) proprietary query languages are hard to learn, and 2) you often don’t know where to start looking for answers when an issue arises.

We felt this was an unnecessary barrier to finding the answers you need in your data. For this reason, we developed Visual Search. InsightOps Visual Search will automatically display data visualizations of key trends occurring in your data, giving you a compact, visual view.

How involved is the Visual Search option? What if I need to learn more information about my search?

Users can also add more visualizations by simply selecting them from a dropdown menu. No queries required. Even better, you can drill deep and explore your data through Visual Search simply by clicking on the visualizations. With Visual Search automatically building queries for you, you never have to type another query yourself.

You mentioned a second benefit. Tell me more about that.

InsightOps’ second unique element is the addition of IT asset search. Most log management tools on the market today are only useful as long as your investigation requires historical log data. As soon as you need to investigate the properties of an individual machine, most other log management tools cease to be useful.

With InsightOps, we’re introducing the first solution to combine log management with IT asset search. With InsightOps, there is a complete list of every IT asset in your environment. Better yet, you can ask plain-language questions of your assets for immediate answers.

InsightOps includes everything from resource utilization questions (like “What’s the disk usage across all of my assets”?) to software-specific questions (like “which assets in my environment are running Microsoft Office right now?”). With InsightOps, you can ask questions of all your assets, a custom group of assets, or even a single asset. The options are endless.

Looking forward, what is one of the key market issues that Rapid7 and InsightOps is positioning itself to focus on and grow with?

The thing we so often hear from the market today is that IT, Security and DevOps professionals are tired of data dispersal over multiple tools and vendors. When data is siloed, it makes it really difficult to gain the clarity necessary to make quick decisions that are demanded by a company’s IT environment. For this reason, we’ve introduced the Rapid7 Insight Platform– a singular cloud-based analytics platform that collects data from user behavior, logs, IT asset, cloud services and more.

By applying analytics to this data in the cloud, the Rapid7 Insight platform is able to deliver insights to the end user through purpose-built solutions. These solutions range from IT Operations, to User Behavior Analytics, to Threat Exposure Management, and more. As the modern IT environment continues to grow in complexity, the Rapid7 Insight Platform will continue to evolve to deliver the simple yet powerful solutions that IT and Security teams need across the globe.

Thank you, Trevor, for joining us at YourDaiyTech today.  If our readers would like more information or a trial of the product, where should we direct them?

One of the great things about InsightOps is that users can start a 30-day free trial in less than five minutes. Simply visit rapid7.com/insightops to start your trial.

Additional Resources:

InsightsOps Review


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Lindsey Cobb

Lindsey Cobb, a Georgia native and former history major, is a technology researcher who is fascinated by past and future of technology. When she is not engrossed in the prophecy of science fiction stories, Lindsey is likely to be planning her next adventurous trip or petting every dog she meets. Contact Lindsey at [email protected]