Is Being a SOC Analyst a Lucrative Career Path? 

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Despite the availability of various distinct opportunities in the industry, the road to becoming a cybersecurity specialist is not easy to travel. Being an SOC analyst is one of those jobs and can be a great way to break into the industry.

However, obtaining one of the most challenging cybersecurity positions is no more straightforward than getting a position as a SOC analyst. This article highlights what it takes to be a SOC Analyst. 

What is a SOC Analyst?

A security operations center (SOC) analyst is a member of a group of analysts and professionals who work in the field of cybersecurity. These organizations will either exclusively serve a single business or act as security outsourcing for several clients. SOC analysts work in entry-level positions intended for newcomers to the field of information security.

Even though this position lacks notoriety in the industry, it is nevertheless important to cybersecurity and comes with many duties. SOC analysts provide information security advice while also acting as figurative watchdogs. Their dual job includes watching systems and networks for any indications of a cyberattack before providing their employers and team with strategies for averting similar attacks in the future.

This means that SOC analysts must be able to install security tools, identify and look into questionable activities, assist auditing and compliance teams, and offer fresh security-related ideas. Although these duties are crucial to a SOC analyst’s job, one of them more or less accounts for the majority of their work. Analysts are supposed to respond to user and security software concerns and notifications. Unfortunately, this forces many SOC analysts to wade through several false positives to identify the actual threats. These duties, however, are only reserved for SOC analysts at the entry level.

Three primary levels of experience and responsibilities are split among SOC analysts:

Tier 1 – Triage: The preceding description of SOC triage analysts, who have the least amount of experience and are charged with straightforward monitoring and logging duties, is accurate. The problem is passed on to the next tier when it is beyond their area of expertise and responsibility.

Tier 2 – Investigation: SOC investigation analysts are intended to determine the precise nature of threats and are regarded as the field’s mid-level experts. They need to figure out where the danger came from, how much damage it did, and how far it had infiltrated the impacted systems. The reaction is then supposed to be guided by them. Critically damaged high-impact threats are once more advanced up the chain.

Tier 3 – Threat Hunting: At the pinnacle of SOC analysts, threat hunters are prepared to handle the most challenging threats. Threat hunters examine data forensics and telemetry on threats not identified as harmful by security software when they are not addressing urgent risks.

Career Path of a SOC Analyst 

According to the EC-description Council’s top-level skills, a SOC analyst must be proficient in network defense, ethical hacking, incident response, computer forensics, and reverse engineering.

Examining system logs to track attacks and identify when and how external parties infiltrated systems is a large part of a SOC analyst’s job. SOC analysts need the ability to automate these processes and extract meaningful data from logs because scrolling through logs manually is slow and will rapidly drive an analyst crazy. While higher-level analysts need to comprehend how data visualization tools can offer insights, Tier 1 analysts need to know how to develop scripts that can uncover important patterns in massive text files like system logs. Thus, some programming expertise is required.

SOC Analyst Certification and Training 

To become a SOC analyst, we’ve established that you must have prior IT-related work experience. However, certifications available can demonstrate your knowledge base to potential employers, and you can prepare for them using various online education and training sites.

The EC-Council offers an iClass to help you prepare for it and its own certification in this area, Certified SOC Analyst (CSA). Independent companies offer several additional boot camps and training courses, such as Training Camp and InfoSecTrain.

However, SOC-specific certifications aren’t the only way to demonstrate your value; after all, SOC analysts primarily need to show that they possess the necessary security skills. Many certifications are available to support this. CompTIA Security+ and the EC-Certified Council’s Ethical Hacker were two of the most often mentioned certifications in a Reddit discussion where SOC professionals discussed which credentials were most helpful.

 

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Certifications

Seeking extracurricular qualifications in instruments and abilities pertinent to the field is becoming a typical trend in cybersecurity. Certifications are increasingly required to ensure that new hires have the knowledge and skills to do their jobs to the highest standards. There are several excellent certifications for SOC analysts, including:

The CompTIA Network+ certification instructs aspiring professionals on networking and the principles of computer-to-device communication. The recipient of this certification will also learn about infrastructure, network security procedures, and troubleshooting tools.

Another certification from CompTIA, Security+ instructs you on system vulnerabilities, risk management, and cryptography. With this certification, you will comprehend system installation, setup, and security.

CompTIA’s Cybersecurity Analyst certification is yet another. Is there a pattern emerging here? Your knowledge of system protection, the creation of threat-detection technologies, data analysis to identify vulnerabilities, and evaluation of the danger that compromised your system will all improve with the Cybersecurity Analyst certification.

The CompTIA Security Analytics Expert is only available to professionals who have obtained many CompTIA certifications. This certification, which acts more as a summary of your general knowledge, shows prospective employers that you are knowledgeable about the subject and enhances your appeal as a candidate for employment.

The EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker certification teaches you how to spot and repair network holes and equips you with the knowledge you need to think like the hackers you are trying to stop. Due to this knowledge, this certification is among the highest value ones in cybersecurity.

The Certified Security Analyst Training certification will show you how to run penetration tests that are sufficiently realistic to have you ready for actual assaults. The course teaches you how to utilize the instruments you’ll need to test the security of a network.

The GAIC Information Security Fundamentals certification serves as an introduction to understanding cryptography and cybersecurity technology. Your capacity to recognize risks to information resources, deploy network security, and diversify your approaches to doing so will be demonstrated by this specific certificate.

The GAIC Security Essentials certification is an intermediate-level credential that will teach you the critical abilities needed to implement security for many online applications. You will learn how to create contingencies for threat management, penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, creating active defenses, and using cryptography with the aid of this certification.

The International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, which offers advanced training to ambitious professionals, is the source of the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification. This program will teach you how to reduce system vulnerabilities by learning about ethics, threat analysis, and online systems.

These certificates can be excellent tools for showcasing your qualifications as a potential SOC analyst and identifying you as a candidate for senior cybersecurity employment. You can progress with them from a tier 3 threat hunter to a novice SOC analyst.

Salary of a SOC Analyst 

While this should never be the driving force behind your career decision, a SOC analyst’s pay is not to be laughed at. In the United States of America, a SOC analyst makes an average base income of $109,963.00 annually.

A base pay provides a decent starting point for possible earnings as an analyst, albeit it is not always a reliable indicator. Your salary will change depending on who you work for and where you are employed.

Conclusion

SOC analyst work can be a springboard for a far more profitable cybersecurity profession. SOC analysts must be cooperative individuals who recognize dangers and take appropriate action. Therefore, even though it is considered an excellent position for those just entering the field of cybersecurity, it is by no means an easy job to execute.

You will need abundant knowledge and credentials to navigate the career without faltering and doing more harm properly. You could be tempted by the pay a SOC analyst can expect to earn to pursue the field while knowing little about what it entails. However, it is the ideal and most likely first step to take if you are serious about pursuing a career in cybersecurity. SOC analysts are the foundation upon which all other professions in the cybersecurity industry are based.

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