What is a SOC (Security Operations Center) Analyst?

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A SOC analyst works as a key player within a security operations center. This security operations center employs a team of people responsible for continually monitoring, detecting, analyzing, and responding to an organization's cybersecurity incidents. Because organizations are becoming more and more vulnerable to cyber threats, there is a very high demand for qualified cybersecurity experts that are trained to focus on security incident handling and response.

SOC analysts act as watch dogs and security advisors. They often work with security managers, cybersecurity engineers and security analysts, and typically report to the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer). SOC analysts are one of the first team members to respond to cyber incidents, and have a specific set of processes that they must diligently follow. A company without these professionals would be hard pressed to find hackers and cyber criminals on their own.

The job of a SOC analyst requires great attention to detail and a level head. Many things have to be monitored and addressed at the same time, and analysts are required to work as quickly and efficiently as possible. Real-time threats can appear at any time of the day or night, and understanding the difference between a real intrusion attempt and a false alarm is crucial. From keeping an eye on things to responding swiftly, a SOC analyst's day is very rarely the same from one day to the next.

Within an organization, it is common to find SOC analysts divided into ranks, depending on their skill level and experience. Complicated incidents or escalated events are typically managed by highly skilled/higher ranked analysts. Analysts with less experience are able to take on more proactive tasks such as searching for threats and providing an analysis of the threats.

A SOC analyst's job duties may include:

  • monitoring and analyzing networks, databases, servers, and endpoints

  • looking for abnormal activity that could suggest a security breach

  • responding to undisclosed hardware and software vulnerabilities

  • responding to phone calls or email notifications regarding any cyber incidents

  • identifying, analyzing, investigating, and reporting security issues

  • addressing vulnerabilities swiftly upon discovery

  • providing an analysis of threats

  • planning preventative security measures

  • implementing changes to protect an organization from future attacks

  • recommending new technologies and installing them

  • training team members in new technologies

  • becoming aware of emerging cyber trends

  • preparing disaster recovery plans

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