Top 5 skills needed for a SOC analyst

Whether building a new Security Operations Center or revamping an existing one, staffing it with analysts that are equipped with the proper skills sets should be priority number one, says Palo Alto's Rick Howard (registration required)

Building a Security Operations Center (SOC) from scratch or revamping an underperforming one is a daunting leadership challenge. Of all the tasks you have to think about, finding and hiring a set of SOC analysts with the right skill set has to be a top priority.

[Photo gallery: Inside a working Security Operations Center]

These people are the last line of defense; if a cyber adversary gets past your SOC analysts, there is nobody else in the organization that can find them. You can purchase and deploy all of the latest and greatest tools for your security stack, but if you don't have the right people to run them and analyze the data they generate, you are wasting your time.

You need qualified people to make sense of it all and these people have to be experienced and passionate about what they do. As you might expect, folks like these can be heard to come by, so let's take a look at what makes a top-notch SOC analyst.

Are security certifications worth it?

In the past decade, our college programs and professional certification programs have surged to meet the demand for trained cyber-security experts. This is a good thing with one big caveat. This situation has flooded the employment space with cyber security wannabes who think that receiving a cybersecurity certification from some reputable program or an information assurance degree from an accredited institution qualifies them to sit in an SOC and defend the enterprise. That cannot be further from the truth.

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