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Network Security Monitoring

What Do Cybersecurity Analysts Do? 

June 14, 2022

8 minutes

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Cybersecurity Analysts are responsible for a lot but many still wonder: what does a cybersecurity analyst do? From proactive threat management to network monitoring to responding to threats, analysts play a key role in a strong cybersecurity posture for businesses.

Read on to learn more about an analyst’s day-to-day tasks, how they stay ahead of the curve, and what it takes to be one at a managed security services provider (MSSP) like DOT Security.

Monitoring for Threats and Other Daily Tasks for Cybersecurity Analysts

Most of an analyst’s day involves scanning a client’s system for threats and responding to alerts sent by their security tools. This can mean doing a lot of things from investigating alerts, escalating a threat to response teams, and advising them as to the next steps in mitigating the threats.

Related: Why is Threat Monitoring Important in Modern Cybersecurity?

Whether it takes hours or all day, analysts must see an alert through to the end, ensuring the client’s vulnerability is taken care of, threats mitigated, and respond appropriately implemented.

An analyst’s goal is to watch client systems and monitor for vulnerabilities and threats so that the appropriate response can be used to mitigate threats. Here are some of the tasks that a Cybersecurity Analyst is responsible for and handles every day to accomplish this goal.

Tuning Security Tools

One of the most important aspects of a cybersecurity analyst’s job is fine-tuning their threat identification tools to better identify threats to a client’s system. This is done by inputting rules that show the tools what to look for so they can limit the number of unimportant alerts and focus more on larger threats to client systems.

When new vulnerabilities or cyberthreats surface, analysts can use the most up-to-date data on them to tune their tools to be able to identify these new, unprecedented threats by being able to spot indicators of potential compromises and vulnerabilities in their system.

This is where an analyst’s ability to stay up to date on the most current security trends and threats becomes so important. You can’t defend against attacks you’re unaware of, so analysts must always be reading current events, following blogs, and checking security community social media pages for the most up-to-date information.

Proactive Threat Hunting

Rather than responding to alerts, analysts also spend time proactively hunting for vulnerabilities in a client’s environment. This can defend against threats that might abuse that specific vulnerability in the future.

Responding to Zero-Day Threats and Vulnerabilities

Part of a Cybersecurity Analyst’s Day to day tasks is keeping a watch out for ‘zero-day vulnerabilities’ which are system vulnerabilities that have been found out but have not been patched.

When these new vulnerabilities around found, this information can be used by analysts to further tune their tools to identify threats aimed at abusing them.

Testing Security Devices

Analysts must also make sure all the monitoring and security devices are working properly and sending accurate data in order to effectively identify threats and send alerts. This means making sure nothing is getting in their way and affecting data and ensuring the devices are communicating quickly, accurately, and continuously.

Q&A With a DOT Security Cybersecurity Analyst

Q: What Challenges Does a Cybersecurity Analyst Face Every Day?

A: Alert fatigue is a common challenge. Analysts see a lot of alerts from many different tools and it can be tiring to always be responding to and prioritizing different alerts. We find great value in continuously tuning our tools to find the most important threats, but also must deal with brand new vulnerabilities that come up.

Q: What Other Cybersecurity Teams and Specialists Do You Work with Each Day?

A: I work with the Red Team (penetration testers), a client’s IT team quite often, and the compliance team occasionally. But, on a daily basis, I’m able to interact with many different people across the company in meetings or just walking around the SOC.

Q: Speaking of the SOC, How Has that Impacted How DOT Security Operates?

A: The SOC gives us a lot of great collaboration opportunities. The red and blue teams can get together to better do penetration testing and testing of current tools. Overall, we’re able to more easily get value from each other more often by being around each other and using the tools and spaces available in the SOC.

Related: Why a Security Operations Center (SOC) is Important

Q: What is Your Favorite Part of Being a Cybersecurity Analyst at DOT Security?

A: It’s a very rewarding job with a lot of growth opportunity, flexibility, and excitement on a daily basis. My favorite part of the job is being able to help clients handle attacks, especially when you can find something quickly to eliminate a threat before it has a large impact on a company. People are very appreciative of that kind of proactivity and it feels good to be able to help.

There’s always more to learn, too, which I like. It’s never boring with challenges thrown at you all the time in the form of new threats, technologies, and trends.

Q: What Would You Say is the Most Important Trait an Analyst Needs to Have?

A: You need a passion for it and for helping people. Analysts also need to be able to prioritize quickly and stay up to date on all the important events and newest vulnerabilities to be able to appropriately respond when the time comes. It’s a fast-paced world and keeping up with it all is critical.

In Conclusion

Cybersecurity Analysts are a core part of cyber defense. They’re the ones constantly monitoring your system looking for vulnerabilities, responding to threats, and alerting those who need to know in order to mitigate the threats of a cyberattack.

Is there a Cybersecurity Analyst watching your business’ back? Explore the benefits of continuous monitoring and having experts on your side.