Colin O'Brien
Chief Executive Officer at Grapl Inc.

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Cutting-Edge SIEM Startup Grapl Hires Stellar Senior SRE in Only Three Weeks With the Help of Harrison Clarke



Grapl is an open-source SIEM platform designed to accelerate security teams’ detection of and response to attackers in their network.

Grapl leverages the power of Python and graph data structures to derive information from raw logs and provide detection engineers and incident responders data that accurately reflects the state of their environment. 

Built by and for security engineers, Grapl dissolves tedious data-fighting work and provides an intuitive and efficient interface to incident information, allowing detection and response (D&R) to better understand the compromises in their network. Grapl empowers security teams to focus on keeping the infrastructure secure.


Finding Highly Skilled SREs with Traditional Recruiting Methods Is Ineffective


As the COVID-19 pandemic and major cyberattacks like SolarWinds dramatically impacted the world, cybersecurity is increasingly paramount to organizations and IT leaders. Building a cutting-edge cybersecurity solution that provides security teams limitless power to keep their environments safe is as challenging as it is ambitious. In developing such a groundbreaking product, Grapl’s dedicated team of engineers faced a lot of operational complexity and problems slowing down the company’s growth.

Colin O’Brien, CEO of Grapl, realized the company had reached a tipping point where senior engineers were vital to support Grapl’s fast expansion and help achieve its goals.

"We were looking for someone who could come in and bring that expertise to the team and help us grow into this larger product,” mentioned O’Brien.

Initially, Colin O’Brien turned to his own network to try and fill the position as he had previously done with nearly everyone else in the company. However, his approach was ineffective for this role. As O’Brien stated, “We were looking particularly for senior people in this operations role, which are very hard to find. [Senior SREs] tend not to want to leave their jobs or go to startups.

Although they managed eventually to hire someone with more operational experience, Grapl still lacked “that pure specialized SRE.” Moreover, O’Brien recalls that “even just hiring them took quite a long time to accomplish.


Only a Recruitment Firm Specializing in the DevOps/SRE Market Can Understand the Startup’s Challenges and Needs


At this point, Grapl had gone through the challenge of trying to hire a senior SRE internally. Therefore, O’Brien decided to reach out to Amplify, the startup’s investors, who put them in touch with Firas Sozan, founder and CEO of Harrison Clarke.

Working with a recruitment firm focused on roles in the DevOps/SRE market made sense to O’Brien from the start.

[DevOps/SRE] is a fast-paced, ever-changing field, so skills from a couple of years ago can already seem stale by today’s standards. So, having people who understand that and understand what problems we’re trying to solve and why that’s relevant definitely makes a lot of sense to me,” O’Brien said.


Harrison Clarke Delivers Multiple Strong Candidates in a Short Time


O’Brien had never worked with a recruitment firm before as a hiring manager, only as an engineer, so he wasn’t sure what to expect. However, he was surprised at how fast Harrison Clarke could deliver multiple strong candidates with excellent backgrounds. “It was a very speedy process. I don’t think there was a single candidate who didn’t fit what we were looking for, whereas for weeks, I had been trying myself to look around and ask people and hadn’t come up with anything at all,” added O’Brien.

In addition, he appreciated Harrison Clarke’s guidance throughout the recruitment process. Understanding what the candidates were looking for and the risks or tradeoffs they were making themselves allowed Grapl to leverage this information and make sure they covered anything the engineers might have been nervous about or emphasize those aspects that they were excited about. “There was a lot of guidance as well, which is good because I haven’t done a lot of hiring myself, especially not in the same way.”

With Harrison Clarke, Grapl hired a senior SRE in three weeks.

“It all went extremely smoothly. I was surprised we didn't have a lot of back and forth or obstacles,” noted O’Brien.


New Senior SRE Helps Accelerate Core Product Launch and Contributes to Company Growth


As Grapl works on a significant product release, Colin O’Brien looks forward to scaling out the company, getting more customers, and doing more with their product’s capabilities. Furthermore, Grapl’s CEO expects to hire several other senior SREs as the company works towards launching the core product as well as expanding upon it.

“We’re going to ingest a lot of data, and I think that that gives us a lot of opportunities to do interesting work. [Our new senior SRE] can radically accelerate our ability to do those things right. So not only can they keep the product up and running, but they also make the team more effective in their ability to perform their work,” concluded O'Brien.


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