A day in the life of a SOC technician gives the false impression that there is some sort of normalcy and regularity to our ever-evolving world. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said “Change is the only constant.” This is never more apparent than in the Security Operations Center (SOC). There are people in this world that spend their time imagining new ways to attack our network and our customers. New attacks are showing up every day. As a SOC technician, evolution is the only way to remain relevant.
To give an outsider a peak in to what is considered a closely guarded area of Level 3 Communications all that must be shared is the culture. That culture is a culture of collaborative learning and knowledge sharing. On any given day a buzz will start to grow as a senior level engineer has discovered a new exploit making its way through the public Internet. The engineer approaches the white board armed with a rainbow of markers and a sense of pride that he will be imparting some never before seen knowledge on the rest of the SOC.
A flurry of words derived from some new language that combines English, bad English, Ebonics, Geek Speak and something made up on Reddit, the engineer’s energy drink-driven presentation is consumed by the rest of the department. His words and “white board session” are broadcast across the Internet to counterparts in other parts of the world through a web cam. Techs chime in with supporting information and questions. Every question is absorbed and considered before answered properly. Excitement grows as the SOC devours the teachings.
The energy that grows during these impromptu training sessions is akin to a playoff game. These knowledge sharing moments have ended in applause.
Just writing this text stirs a sense of pride that this is what we built. This department, this attitude, everything was conceptualized and created by everyone in the SOC. We look in to the future and see new challenges and threats as opportunities to gain more knowledge.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend I had not seen in many years. I asked him how he was doing. He told me that his band had just gotten home from touring to France where they opened for Joe Cocker in front of thousands at a music festival. He asked me what I had been up to. I told him about my job in the SOC and how exciting it was. His eyes grew big and he asked me how he could get a job doing what I do. It is great to think that rock stars find what we do exciting.
I’m sure you have some great stories of your own. I want to hear from you and your story as a security professional in the IT world. Send me your story, your experience, your team’s innovation – how do YOU do it? We’ll reach out to you and we’ll publish the best stories here on the beyond bandwidth blog.
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