Workflow Wednesday: Realizing the Benefits of Cloud Plugins

Over the past couple months we’ve had some helpful Workflow Wednesday’s to get you ramped up with using and building InsightConnect workflows. From Getting Started with the many workflow templates we have readily available to Workflow Building Strategies, these posts help lay the foundation to being successful when automating your daily processes. But you may ask:

  • What if I want my workflow or steps to run faster?
  • What if I want a workflow that doesn’t rely on my orchestrator?
  • What if I want to reduce the load on my orchestrator so only the necessary plugins need to run there?

Good news! With the introduction of Cloud Plugins in September and our ongoing work to expand the plugins we can run in the Rapid7 cloud (connection based plugins coming soon ;)), we can answer all of these questions and enhance the workflows you already have in use.

First a quick refresher

Cloud Plugins are Rapid7-approved plugins that you can run entirely on the Rapid7 Insight Cloud which helps reduce your dependency on an on-premise orchestrator. They function and are configured as any other orchestrator-based plugin would; however, now you have the ability to choose where they run. Just make sure you look out for the little that helps represent which plugins are cloud supported.

And as you can see above, even some of the most popular plugins - such as Type Converter - are already available to start using.

Improved Workflow Step Times

One feature of Cloud Plugins we are most excited about is the improved processing time we expect everyone to experience once they start using them. A step that may take 4-7 seconds on an orchestrator is now running in less than a second!

Orchestrator (3+ seconds on average)

Cloud (< 1 second on average)

And in the case of a 30 step, entirely cloud-based workflow we see the job complete consistently within 25 seconds. This is all while some of those steps are making calls externally to third-party services in order to lookup a Vulnerability Database vulnerability or validating HTML:

Orchestrator-less Workflows

Another huge win is the ability to build workflows that don’t rely on an on-premise orchestrator being deployed within your environment. With the right combination of products and plugins, it’s possible to import and run a workflow with nothing more than an InsightConnect account.

Our current list of cloud-based workflows can be found here and we look forward to adding to them as we increase plugin support.

Making the Switch

To make the switch within the InsightConnect workflow builder, it really is as easy as modifying a plugin step to change where it will be run. When editing a workflow, select the step you would like to have run in the cloud and select the “Previous” button on the step configuration screen.

Screen Shot 2020-11-03 at 11.58.18 PM

From there select “Cloud” to choose where the step should be run:

Screen Shot 2020-11-03 at 11.23.45 PM

Once the step is saved, you’ll see a new cloud indicator within the workflow builder to help you know which plugins have already been updated:

Screen Shot 2020-11-03 at 11.48.53 PM

It’s as easy as that, now your workflow is ready to reduce the load on your orchestrator while also increasing the speed of running the step.

So now you’ve seen the benefits and ease of getting started using Cloud Plugins. It’s a feature that can make workflow building that much easier since it’s one more component handled entirely by the Rapid7 Insight Cloud. Let us know about the cloud plugins you already have in use in your workflows, as well as a shoutout for the plugins you would like to see supported next!