Online LearningCareer Education4 Best SOC Analyst Training Courses for 2022 | Pros & Cons

4 Best SOC Analyst Training Courses for 2022 | Pros & Cons

Security Operations Center (SOC) is crucial for all corporate cybersecurity teams. The SOC team functions as a frontline defense against myriad types of cyber threats and shields systems, networks, and web applications from hackers and cybercriminals.

Since cyber security risks have heightened during recent years, companies need such specialists more than ever.

Unsurprisingly, SOC analyst has become an extremely lucrative career. According to Indeed, an average SOC analyst in the US earns as much as $81074 per year. This number can increase by many folds once you become more experienced.

Hence, pursuing a SOC analyst role is a promising idea if you are interested in cyber security.

To improve your chances of getting hired, you may want to take online courses or training programs to build or strengthen your job-ready skills beforehand. Hence, you will be able to impress your potential employers during the job interviews.

This article will feature the best SOC analyst training based on my observations. I will list its pros and cons, which will assist your decision-making process. You can then choose the one that suits your preferences and budget and save hours of research time in the process.

Affiliate Disclosure: This blog post from Victory Tale contains affiliate links. We will receive a small commission from the training provider if you purchase their course.

Nonetheless, we always value integrity and prioritize our audience’s interests. You can then rest assured that we will evaluate and present each course truthfully.

Things You Should Know

Duties of a SOC Analyst

Though the duties of SOC analysts can vary by company, the following are what all SOC analysts will be responsible for

  • Respond to security threats in a rapid and prudent manner
  • Provide quick (or even immediate) identification and analysis of cyber threats to managers
  • Identify and remediate vulnerabilities identified by tools or penetration testings
  • Conduct scanning and monitoring activities
  • Prepare disaster recovery or damage containment plans or strategies
  • Ensure that all software and systems are up-to-date
  • Collaborate with security professionals and other subject matters in all security-related tasks

Prerequisites

Almost all SOC analyst training options featured in this post are not for absolute beginners. You should have a solid foundation in the following:

Suppose you are a complete beginner but want to test the waters. I suggest taking the last course, which has no prerequisites.

Criteria

Below are the criteria for the best SOC analyst training:

  • Training must have no eligibility criteria. Everyone can enroll at will.
  • Taught by credible instructors with years of industry experience
  • Available on a user-friendly learning platform
  • Include high-quality course materials
  • Provide excellent value for money
  • Receive mostly positive reviews from actual students
  • My personal experience with the course, instructor, and platform (if any) must be positive.

1. Critical Knowledge: SOC Analyst Course

This course is available on the Cybervista platform. Cybervista is a training provider specializing in equipping the workforce with cybersecurity skills. Thus, you will learn all the skills you need to become a Tier I SOC analyst from the best.

Suppose you are determined to become a SOC analyst. This program is one of the best any training provider could offer.

Cybervista's SOC analyst training

Course Content

This program consists of six units as follows:

1. SOC Organizations and Processes – The first course will detail the role of SOC analysts within an organization. For instance, you will understand how the SOC tiers function and how the Security Operation Center team contributes to the organization.

The second part of the course will introduce you to security tools and processes that SOC experts use for different types of tasks based on various business scenarios.

2. Threats & Vulnerability Analysis – The second course will drill deep into the threat landscape. Given the scenario, you will identify and define vulnerabilities along with common attack techniques.

Later, you will establish and validate security baselines (known-good and known-bad).

3. Device Log Analysis – The third course will discuss device log mechanisms in detail. Subsequently, you will learn how to conduct log analysis and implement effective techniques to detect symptoms of cyber attacks and avoid false positives.

At the end of the course, you will create Python scripts to automate analytical tasks and correlate relevant data.

4. Comprehensive Org. Event Correlation – The fourth course will delve into SIEMS (Security Information and Event Management). You will learn about the purpose and application of SIEMS.

In the second part of the course, you will conduct a thorough analysis of SIEMS results and correlate events from various enterprise incidents. Finally, you will use Splunk to find evidence of post-attack strategies such as anti-forensic and APT.

5. PCAP Analysis – In this course, you will use protocol analyzers to capture live traffic. Subsequently, you will use multiple techniques with packet analyzers to identify cyber-attacks.

6. Incident Response – The final course will elucidate the incident response process. You will then explore various scenarios and determine the correct phase for each.

Subsequently, you will learn about IOC identification, the initial point of compromise identification, scoping methods, containment strategies, and many more.

Towards the end of the course, you will use multiple tools to detect indicators of compromise and apply appropriate methods to get rid of malware and malicious elements, and restore the integrity of your networks and systems.

Unlike most other training that focuses on the basics, this program will delve into advanced technicals and provide you with guide labs. Thus, you will learn all the necessary stuff and have opportunities to put them into use and obtain hands-on experience.

Upon completion, you will grasp all key processes and become a skilled SOC analyst.

Course Format, Resources, and Pricing

You can choose from one of the two course formats: Live Online and Video-on-Demand. The former will allow you to communicate with other classmates and ask questions, while the latter will grant complete flexibility.

No matter which option you opt for, you will be able to access the following learning resources in the LMS. All of which are available online. Thus, you can access them anywhere, anytime.

  • 90+ Video lessons
  • 10 hours of guide labs
  • Knowledge Check questions
  • Kali Linux and Security Onion Virtual Machines
  • Diagnostic/Final Assessments
  • Cheat Sheet & Video Transcripts
  • Performance Analytics
  • CompTIA CySA+ Practice Exam

Regarding pricing, the price tag is $2500 for a video-on-demand option. Cybervista does not provide details on the live online alternative. You will need to contact support to request pricing. However, I assume that it is significantly higher than the video-on-demand program.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Learn from industry experts at a leading cybersecurity workforce development company
  • Comprehensive curriculum, featuring all in-demand technical skills and security technologies that a SOC analyst should be familiar with
  • Informative, in-depth video lessons
  • Provide excellent sets of learning resources, especially guided labs, to help you obtain hands-on experience
  • A live online option is available.

Cons

  • Far more expensive than other alternatives

2. Become an Information Security Analyst

If you are looking for a bootcamp-like training course, this Nanodegree program from Udacity is a solid choice to consider.

Throughout the program, you will learn all the skills to protect enterprise networks and systems and have opportunities to gain crucial hands-on experience.

Udacity offers one of the best SOC analyst training

Course Content

This program consists of four minor courses as follows:

1. Fundamentals of Defending Systems – The first course will introduce you to fundamental principles and frameworks. You will then learn about the physical, logical, and administrative controls required to secure IT assets such as networks, systems, and applications.

Subsequently, you will explore defensible network infrastructure. You will delve into using a layered security approach to deploy security controls and incorporate techniques to enhance them.

2. Analyzing Security Threats – The second course will dive into security threats. You will explore the current threat landscape, including OWASP Top 10, threat actors, and relevant TTPs.

Later, you will learn about mitigation strategies and plans. You will perceive which specific strategies are optimal for internal and external threats. Finally, you will develop a prudent mitigation plan for OWASP Top 10.

3. Assessing Vulnerabilities and Reducing Risk – The third course will mainly address system vulnerabilities. You will learn about the vulnerability lifecycle and grasp critical steps to assess and analyze them.

In the second part of the course, you will use industry frameworks to analyze the risk and business impact if a specific vulnerability is compromised.

Finally, you will learn how to manage such risks and communicate and provide valuable guidance to managers, executives, and stakeholders.

4. Monitoring, Logging, and Responding to Incidents – The final course will guide you through all the steps to identify threats and categorize alerts through the IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems).

Subsequently, you will learn about centralized logging and the SIEM tools. You will then correlate network alerts, host log data, capture traffic, and create Splunk dashboards and reports.

The second part of the course will be all about incident response. The instructor will go through the vital phases of incident handling and explain factors that potentially increase the severity of security incidents.

Finally, you will learn how to implement an effective remediation plan for your organization.

In addition to video lectures, Udacity will supply you with various learning resources, such as quizzes and assignments.

However, the most important one is real-world projects. All of which are available at the end of each minor course (thus, the program has four in total.)

For example, you will perform threat hunting and generate threat intelligence insights for a popular juice shop. Later, you will identify the vulnerabilities and build a mitigation plan for the owners.

Regarding the pace, Udacity suggests spending 10 hours per week on the course, and you will complete the program in four months.

Still, since the program is self-paced, you can select your own study schedule. Keep in mind that you will pay more fees if you spend more time on the program (more details on the pricing section below).

Student Support

Udacity is a training platform that offers full-fledged support to all students who enroll in Nanodegree programs as follows:

Technical Mentor Support – Students who participate in IT training courses or programs are likely to get stuck in coding assignments due to technical issues or numerous other reasons. However, this is not the case with Udacity.

This is because Udacity mentors are available 24/7 to answer all your questions and resolve any existing issues. You can use the chat interface on Student Hub to submit inquiries to them.

Most students receive a response within an hour, which is far quicker than regular online courses.

Project Reviews – You can submit your project for expert review. Experts will provide feedback, tips, techniques, and best practices to help you become a skilled SOC analyst.

You can submit unlimited requests and receive an informative response within 1-3 hours. Hence, you can request a review at any time to ensure that your project is on the right track.

Career Services – The career services team will review your resume, Github portfolio, and LinkedIn profile and provide suggestions to optimize them.

Thus, you can be confident that all your job application materials are polished and up to the professional standard, increasing the opportunity to receive interview invitations from leading companies.

Pricing

Udacity has a subscription-based pricing model. This Nanodegree program costs $399 per month (billed monthly.)

Alternatively, you can opt for a 4-month bundle, which costs $1356 (or $339 per month on average).

If you have not taken any Nanodegree program before, you can also create a free account to access personalized discounts (like I did below.)

Such discounts can be as high as 75% off, and you can use them with the bundle to minimize course fees. Therefore, you can enroll in this program by paying $100 or even lower.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Learn from a team of veteran security analysts and security engineers
  • Well-structured curriculum, covering all essential stuff that a SOC analyst should master
  • Self-paced learning
  • Provide challenging real-world projects that are excellent for students to accumulate hands-on experience and strengthen skills required for a SOC analyst career
  • Timely mentor support + unlimited project reviews
  • Free access to career services
  • Flexible payment options

Cons

  • Expensive, especially if you complete the program after the bundle expires.

3. Cybrary’s SOC Analyst Career Path

Cybrary is a big name in cybersecurity education. If you want to develop your Cybersecurity skills from the very beginning, Cybrary is a platform you cannot simply ignore.

However, the platform does not offer an exclusive program for SOC analyst training. You will need to take pre-recorded courses based on a specific career path.

Cybrary's SOC analyst career path

Course Content

As of February 2022, Cybrary has a single career path for a SOC analyst. However, the career path is separated into three levels (Level 1, 2, 3).

All Cybrary video lessons are tailored to minor concepts. Unfortunately, Cybrary does not group them into major categories for students. This organization makes the career path disorganized and difficult to follow.

Based on my observations, this career path generally covers the same topics as Cybervista and Udacity programs above.

Specifically, the first level will discuss threat intelligence and log analysis. The second will delve into SIEM, Splunk, and incident response, while the third will go over cyber attack analytics, forensic analysis, and remediation activities.

In addition to video lectures, the curriculum comprises hands-on virtual labs and assessments. Hence, you will have sufficient learning resources to kickstart your training.

Pricing

Cybrary subscription starts at $24 per month (billed annually). Once you subscribe, you can access all learning resources on the platform.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Learn from a team of professional cybersecurity analysts
  • Informative, in-depth video lessons
  • Offer numerous hands-on labs to work on
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • The career path is pretty difficult to follow.
  • Some students believe Cybrary’s courses are a bit “vague” or “too abstract.”

4. Security Analyst Fundamentals Specialization

This Coursera specialization from IBM is a reliable and affordable option if you want to learn about security analyst fundamentals, which are foundational for a SOC analyst career.

Course Content

The specialization comprises three minor courses as follows:

1. Penetration Testing, Incident Response, and Forensics – The course will first introduce you to Penetration Testing. You will learn how to gather data for the test and use the most popular tools.

The second part will discuss the incident response and forensic process. You will perceive which documentation you need to collect and discover each component of the policy and team.

IBM course on security analyst fundamentals

2. Cyber Threat Intelligence – The second course will delve into threat intelligence. You will learn about network defense tactics, monitoring tools, and various scanning technologies

3. Breach Response Case Studies – The final course will explore multiple case studies related to security breaches. You will learn about incident response methodologies and relevant security models and understand steps to recognize critical vulnerabilities.

Later, the course will discuss the costs and impact of each data breach on an organization and explain how to mitigate such risks.

Overall, this program offers an excellent overview of a SOC analyst’s real-life tasks. Thus, beginners can assess whether this career is right for them.

However, the program is not as comprehensive as other training options featured in this article. You will need other courses to strengthen your skills.

Regarding the pace, IBM suggests spending five hours per week on the program, and you will complete it in four months.

You can audit every minor course for free. However, if you want to access graded assignments and a digital certificate, you will need to subscribe to the full course, which starts at $39 per month.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly curriculum
  • Straightforward explanations
  • Affordable pricing
  • Free auditing

Cons

  • The curriculum is not as comprehensive or informative as other training options.
  • Some students encountered technical issues (mainly with the audio on Course 1.)

Related Courses

Ethical Hacking – Coming Soon

CompTIA CySA+ – Coming Soon

Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) – Coming Soon

Network Security – Coming Soon

Enterprise Security – Coming Soon

Pun Anansakunwat
Founder of Victory Tale, a multipotentialite who has a particular interest in technology. He loves to spend time testing new products and learning interesting topics to broaden his insights. After graduating from Columbia University in 2014, he makes a living by being a stock market investor, a private tutor, a writer of three published books, and finally a website owner.

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