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Moving Up: How to Become an Intermediate SOC Analyst

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By: ginasilvertree

August 9, 2018

If you’ve worked as an entry-level SOC Analyst, you’ve likely performed many of the following tasks in this jack-of-all-trades cyber position:
  • Provide threat analysis and security logs for security devices
  • Analyze and respond to hardware and software weaknesses and vulnerabilities
  • Investigate, document, and report security problems and emerging security trends
  • Coordinate with other analysts and departments regarding the system and network security when needed
  • Create, implement, and maintain security protocols and controls, including the protection of digital files and data against unauthorized access
  • Maintain data and monitor security access
  • Perform risk analyses, vulnerability testing, and security assessments
  • Perform security audits, internal and external
  • Anticipate threats, incidents, and alerts to help prevent the likelihood of them occurring
  • Manage network intrusion detection systems
  • Analyze all security breaches to determine the root causes
  • Make recommendations of countermeasures and install approved tools
  • Coordinate security plans with relevant vendors
Your entry-level position has probably taught you a lot about a lot and broadened your cyber horizons. And, as you’ve gained experience and knowledge, you may be ready to move up in the world to an intermediate SOC Analyst position. To achieve this goal, you could be eyeing the responsibilities similar to those listed below, gearing up for greater challenges and readying yourself to choose a specialization. Looking forward, you probably also realize that intermediate information security analysts need to spend a bit of time thinking about how to implement security strategies across an entire organization. As an intermediate SOC Analyst, your responsibilities may include:
  • Enterprise it cyber security support to include vulnerability scanning and management
  • Enterprise system monitoring, analyzing, detecting, and defending support services
  • Security incident response and reporting services support
  • Security environment research and development support services
  • Penetration testing, phishing attack, and cyber security training services

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The technical skills needed by intermediate SOC Analysts include (but aren’t limited to):

  • security information and event management (SIEM)
  • SQL database
  • TCP/IP
  • C and C++ programming
  • penetration and vulnerability testing
  • and familiarity with multiple operating systems including Windows, UNIX, and Linux
The certifications for intermediate level analysts often include certified ethical hacker (CEH), CASP, GIAC, and CISSP. It’s also worth noting that some people specializing in computer systems even have a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). Their MBA often focuses on cybersecurity, as they may handle information for an entire organization. For many, acquiring these skills and certs requires focused training, as ongoing learning is a key to success in this type of role.Positions you may be striving for could be a security manager, who oversees a team managing security operations; or a network security engineer, who maintains networks within a security framework. Network engineers create and boost a company’s desire of sharing information within a closed system and how that information can be protected. This makes maintaining system integrity and operations critical. In addition to hard skills, training and certs, employers are often seeking intangible qualities and skills for intermediate-level SOC analysts (well, really all SOC Analysts):
  • Analytical skills: SOC Analysts analysts carefully study computer systems and networks and assess risks to determine how security policies and protocols can be improved.
  • Detail-orientedness: Because so many cyber attacks can be difficult to detect, SOC analysts pay careful attention to computer systems and watch for minor changes in performance.
  • Ingenuity: Information security analysts must anticipate information security risks and implement new ways to protect their organizations' computer systems and networks.
  • Problem-solving skills: Information security analysts must respond to security alerts and uncover and fix flaws in computer systems and networks.
Here’s some good news: demand for information security analysts is expected to remain high. Cyber attacks have grown in frequency. Because of this, analysts are vital in producing innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or wreaking havoc on networks.Banks, financial institutions, and other types of corporations will need to increase their information security capabilities in the face of growing cyber threats. In addition, as the healthcare industry continues to expand its use of electronic medical records, ensuring patients' privacy and protecting personal data is paramount. A greater number of SOC Analysts will be needed to create safeguards that satisfy the industry’s compliance requirements and patients' concerns.If you’re ready to move into an intermediate SOC Analyst position, here’s a checklist to get you started:

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