Killer SecOps Skills: Soft Is the New Hard

Killer SecOps Skills: Soft Is the New Hard
The sooner we give mindsets and tool sets equal bearing, the better. We must put SOC team members through rigorous training for emergency situations.

I spend a lot of time with security operations center (SOC) and incident response teams — functions that have been hit particularly hard by the cybersecurity talent shortage. As I witness my colleagues struggling to fill open SOC positions, I can't help but notice their tendency to value technical skills and specific product knowledge over all other criteria. Now that breaches are the new normal, so-called "soft skills" — such as communication and teamwork skills — are just as important as technical skills but are almost always overlooked when hiring.


Don't get me wrong — technical skills and product knowledge are essential, but when a breach is discovered, SOC staff flip from being the last line of defense against an attack to the first ones responding to it. SOC analysts have evolved into cybersecurity first responders, but they're not evaluated and trained the way first responders in other domains are, and they should be. Think about it — when a cyberattack occurs, an analyst with 10 years of experience with Windows Sysinternals and Wireshark won't be much of an asset if he or she doesn't perform well under pressure.


No reputable EMT provider would hire paramedics only because of their experience with a certain kind of defibrillator, yet that's how we hire in cybersecurity. Even in SOC analyst job descriptions where soft skills are given lip service, rarely are those traits vetted with any rigor during the interview process.


● Excellent communication skills: At jus ..