Updated April 8th, 2020
What does it mean to be a SOC Analyst?
The Security Operations Centers (SOC) is an organization’s cybersecurity panopticon. The SOC houses the watchmen: highly-skilled analysts who monitor, detect, and remediate any security problems in an organization. You can’t see the SOC analysts, but they can see everything happening on the network.
Cyber vulnerabilities are the reality of every organization today. A team of SOC analysts keeps an eye on their companies’ weak points, ensures the organization’s sensitive information is out of harm’s way, and stays up to date with the latest malicious methodologies. If a cyber attacker surpasses a team of SOC analysts, then he or she has outsmarted the network’s brightest defenders.
Day In The Life
SOC Analysts are passionate about technology. Not only do you have to understand how computers operate – you have to love how they operate. Your deep understanding extends to the point where you’re able to explain your knowledge to all kinds of audiences, including your peers, IT Management, and even your C-suite. SOC Analysts must possess a core comprehension of computer science, a devotion to their work, and a consistent curiosity.
Not only do they have to make good use of their time at work, but SOC Analysts should be spending some of their downtime brushing up on their skills. Take the words of Rick Howard, who has authored a handful of articles explaining the expectations for this role, “If they’re not playing with Linux box at home, they’re not qualified.”
SOC Analysts spend a lot of their time performing a fair amount grunt work. The day-to-day of a SOC Analyst entails a great deal of monitoring including spending time on the IT help desk, managing servers in the data center, and managing devices in the network. It’s the completion of these critical daily tasks that prevent the majority of potential adversaries from snaking their way into the organization’s network.
Most Valued Skills
Cyber defense requires shape-shifting. Threat actors are constantly developing new ways to infiltrate computer systems and an IT security team’s job is never done. SOC Analysts must constantly re-adjust their approach to stay a few steps ahead of cyber attackers. Security experts are in agreement: organizations need a strong band of SOC Analysts. Ultimately, it is the leadership team’s responsibility to ensure that cyber defense is a priority and that the IT security team is adequately staffed. Organizations who are under the impression that the IT department can solely maintain a strong cybersecurity posture will suffer the consequences.
- Information Security
- Information Systems
- Network Security
- Threat Analysis
It is understood that SOC analysts are masters of the cyber defense craft and they’re paid handsomely. The average salary for a SOC Analysts according to CyberSeek comes in at $95K/year; however, current positions listed on Glassdoor range from $53k to $116k per year. They are constantly in demand, current openings reach over 10,000 on LinkedIn.
- Information Security Analyst
- SOC Engineer
- SOC Consultant
- Threat Monitor SOC Analyst
Doesn’t Sound Like You?
If you’re not interested in the SOC, feel welcome to check out other cybersecurity roles within this series:
- Cybersecurity Architect
- Incident Responder
- Malware Analyst
- Penetration Tester
- Cybersecurity Auditor
- Threat Hunter
- Threat Intel Analyst
- Vulnerability Management Analyst