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Incident Response: A Day in the Life of a SOC Analyst

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In modern cyber security strategies, the role of a Security Operations Centre (SOC) analyst stands out as both critical and challenging.

These highly qualified security professionals are the front-line defenders against cyber threats, and their days are marked by a constant battle to protect organisational assets from a myriad of cyberattacks.

Let’s take a look at a typical day in the life of a SOC analyst, focusing on incident response and the crucial role these experts play in protecting businesses across the globe.

Morning: Starting the Day with Vigilance

A SOC analyst’s day often begins with a review of the alerts and notifications that the night shift analysts team have responded to overnight.

Cyber threats don’t adhere to a 9-to-5 schedule. SOC analysts must quickly catch up on any incidents that occurred outside normal working hours so they’re fully prepared for what might lie ahead that day, and beyond.

Senior SOC Analysts will review and assess alerts from various monitoring systems, including SIEM tools, to check on recent false positives and ensure no genuine threats that need further investigation are undetected.

Mid-Morning: Threat Analysis and Investigations

Upon identifying a potential threat, the SOC analyst shifts into investigative mode.

This involves a deep dive into the nature of the alert – whether it’s a potential malware attack, a suspicious network activity, or an indication of a phishing attempt. Watch SOC Analysts roll back a ransomware attack with XDR powered tooling.

See Managed XDR SOC Analysts in action.

Utilising a combination of tools and their expertise, analysts dissect network logs, endpoint data, and any other relevant information to ascertain the severity and scope of the incident.

Lunch: A Brief Respite, but Always on Call

Lunchtime for a SOC analyst is often short-lived. The nature of their work means they are always on call, ready to respond to any urgent alerts that may arise.

While they might step away from their desks while others continue to monitor for potential cyber breaches, they will always remain alert and prepared to cut their break short if needed.

Afternoon: Incident Response and Mitigation

If a threat is confirmed, the SOC analyst’s role becomes even more critical and time sensitive.

They are responsible for coordinating the incident response, which includes using advanced tooling to isolate affected systems, preventing the spread of the threat, and working on containment strategies.

This phase often involves collaboration with other IT and cybersecurity teams to ensure a comprehensive response. It can also involve senior business stakeholders, depending on the severity rating of the threat.

Late Afternoon: Documentation and Reporting

Following the containment and mitigation of an incident, SOC analysts spend time documenting the event.

This documentation is crucial for several reasons: it aids in post-incident analysis, helps in refining future response strategies, and is often required for compliance and regulatory purposes.

SOC analysts will also prepare reports that detail the incident, the response actions taken, and recommendations for preventing similar occurrences in the future.

Evening: Handover and Knowledge Sharing

As their shift comes to a close, SOC analysts hand over any ongoing issues to the next team.

This handover process is vital to ensure continuity in monitoring and response.

Analysts also use this time to share insights and lessons learned from the day’s incidents with their colleagues, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the SOC.

Night: On-Call Duties and Continuous Learning

Even after their official shift ends, senior SOC analysts often remain on-call to deal with any critical incidents that might arise.

Additionally, all SOC security professionals dedicate time to continuous learning, staying abreast of the latest cyber threats, trends, and technologies – a necessary investment in threat intelligence – a field that never stays static.

A day in the life of a SOC analyst is a testament to the critical role these professionals play in the cybersecurity ecosystem. Their daily routine is a blend of vigilance, analysis, response, and continuous learning. It’s also rarely the same from one day to the next.

At DigitalXRAID, our CREST Accredited Security Operations Centre analysts embody the commitment and expertise necessary to combat the complex cyber threats of today, ensuring the digital safety of our clients around the clock.

If you’re looking for a SOC solution for your business, speak to an expert to learn more about how we can support you.

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