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Security Analyst vs. SOC Analyst: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

In the world of cybersecurity, there are many different job titles and roles. Two of the most common are security analyst and SOC analyst. Though these positions share some similarities, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between a security analyst and a SOC analyst, and we provide additional information on other related cybersecurity positions.

What is a Security Analyst?

Security Analysts are responsible for the safety and security of an organization’s computer systems and networks. They work with other members of the IT team to identify and resolve security issues. They also develop and implement security policies and procedures. Security Analysts also monitor the network for suspicious activity and investigate breaches. They may also provide training to employees on security best practices.

What is a SOC Analyst?

A SOC Analyst is a security professional who works in a company’s Security Operations Center (SOC). SOC Analysts are responsible for monitoring and responding to security incidents. They use a variety of security tools to detect and investigate incidents. SOC Analysts also work with other security professionals to coordinate responses to incidents and to develop and implement security policies and procedures. SOC Analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They also must have experience with a variety of security tools and technologies.

Security Analyst vs. SOC Analyst

Here are the main differences between a security analyst and a SOC analyst.

Job Duties

Security analysts use their knowledge of security policies and procedures to identify potential threats. They then develop strategies for addressing these threats by developing policies, identifying vulnerabilities and assessing the risks associated with particular situations. These professionals also evaluate existing security measures and recommend improvements.

Security analysts typically focus on external threats, such as cyberattacks from hackers or intrusions from malicious software. They may also investigate insider threats, such as employees who misuse company data or violate security protocols.

In contrast, SOC analysts conduct network monitoring and threat detection. They analyze incoming information about potential security incidents and determine how best to respond. While security analysts often work independently to assess situations, SOC analysts usually collaborate with other cybersecurity professionals to devise responses.

Job Requirements

Security analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or another related field. They might also pursue certifications to show employers that they have the skills needed to excel in the role. Some common certifications for security analysts include the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).

SOC analysts often need a similar educational background as security analysts. Many SOC analysts start their careers as entry-level security analysts before being promoted to SOC analyst roles. Aspiring SOC analysts can also pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity to help them stand out from other job candidates.

Work Environment

Security analysts typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to different locations. They often spend time at the workplace of their clients and meet with them regularly to discuss security concerns. Some security analysts work for private companies that provide services to other businesses or individuals.

Sociologists usually work in a research environment, such as a university or government agency. They may also work in an office setting, depending on where they’re employed. Sociologists who work in academia may have more flexibility in their schedules than those who work in other settings.


Both security analysts and SOC analysts use analytical skills to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities in systems. They also need to have an understanding of common cyberattack methods so they can develop plans to prevent or mitigate these attacks.

Security analysts typically work more on the proactive side, trying to anticipate future threats and put in place measures to stop them before they happen. SOC analysts are more reactive, responding to incidents as they occur and investigating the root cause of these incidents.

Both roles require excellent communication skills so that they can effectively share information with colleagues and management. Security analysts may need to present their findings to upper management or board members, while SOC analysts may need to provide updates to their team during an active incident. Both roles also require strong documentation skills so that they can maintain accurate records of their findings and recommendations.


Security analysts earn an average salary of $90,543 per year, while SOC analysts earn an average salary of $91,636 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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