How to Get More Value from Your Junior Security Analysts

By Walker Banerd September 14, 2017 incident-response, security-orchestration-automation-response

There’s nothing better for your incident response program than an experienced security analyst. But these days, you’re lucky if you have more than one or two on your team, and with such high demand for their skills, it might not be feasible budget-wise to hire as many as you’d like.

So if an all-star team of senior analysts isn’t possible, the question becomes how can you get the best possible value from your less experienced analysts? One option is to make sure you have the right tools in place to maximize contributions from your entire team, and from our perspective, the most important tool is your incident response platform (IRP). Here are a few key IRP features that can help you get more from your junior analysts.

Strong Playbooks

The IRP feature that can have the most impact on your junior analysts is a solid foundation of incident response playbooks. Turnkey incident-specific playbooks based on industry-standard frameworks like NIST and SANS set a reliable path for your analysts to follow. Even if they have minimal experience, you’ll know that they are following an acceptable baseline procedure, which should eliminate most major errors.

Having dynamic, configurable playbooks is also beneficial. When your senior analysts adjust playbooks to tailor them to your company’s needs, they’re infusing them with their accumulated experience. These configurations can become highly instructive resources for junior analysts.

Automation

Automation saves time, which allows for better allocation of resources within your security team. Incident response automation often takes the form of gathering contextual data, executing simple actions, and other normally time-consuming tasks. Automating these tasks frees your analysts to focus on combatting real threats to the company instead of doing repetitive busywork. This accelerates the learning curve of your junior analysts by letting them take on challenging incidents that will quickly build their experience.

Coordination & Collaboration

Tools that support communication, collaboration, and coordination within the incident response program help junior analysts benefit from the experience of their senior colleagues. For example, a centralized platform with automatic task assignments and notifications, internal instant messaging, and contextual dashboards make it easy for junior analysts to receive clear direction, view real-time data, and communicate with their supervisors. This type of beneficial collaboration is also supported by case management tools, such as the ability to group incidents together in order for analysts to share notes and work together on larger investigations.

Metrics

In order for junior analysts to improve their performance over time, their supervisors need to be able to track what they’re doing well, and where there is room for improvement. That’s why strong metrics and reporting tools are so valuable. Having the right metrics provides insight into employee performance (such as the number of open cases for each analyst), procedural bottlenecks (such as specific response phases that are consistently slower than others), and overall response times. These metrics can be compared against predetermined benchmarks or historical averages to assess how your junior analysts are progressing, and where they might benefit from additional training.

Conclusion

How do junior analysts become senior analysts? It isn’t just a matter of hours logged in the SOC, and it definitely doesn’t result from grinding away at menial tasks, siloed off from the expertise of more experienced colleagues. Employee development requires an incident response program with clear guidance, collaboration, and communication. That’s why D3’s Incident Response Platform is a holistic system that supports your team through the entire incident lifecycle, not just the initial detection and remediation. Our platform provides a centralized hub for your analysts, leveraging automation, orchestration, case management, and more to ensure that you maximize the potential of every member of your security team.

To learn more about how D3 can make your security team more efficient, read our recent briefing on Saving Valuable Time with Incident Response Automation or schedule a demo today.

Walker Banerd

Walker Banerd

Walker is the Communications Manager at D3. He leads the writing of D3's blog, as well as white papers, industry briefings, and other thought leadership. Walker's expertise is translating technical concepts into easily understandable content, with a focus on software, cybersecurity, and compliance solutions.


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