Iana and Anja, you are at a party and someone asks you what you do as a Tier 1 analyst. What do you answer?
“I usually try to explain the monitoring and impact of it”, says Anja. “Recently, I told someone about this and they compared it to being a security guard at a warehouse, patrolling and checking up on certain aspects, but then on the digital plane. I quite like the comparison.” Iana adds: “I would give the analogy that being an analyst is kind of like responding to 911 calls: some people make prank calls when there is no real threat, and some of them are real issues that need to be further investigated. Similar to that, we process alarms and figure out if they are false positives (like the example of a prank call) or they indeed need attention because something suspicious is going on.” Anja explains how they find these suspicious activities. She mentions “we have systems that show us what is going on and what is weird behavior that might need some further investigation. This is where I come in to see if the system was right or if it was a false alarm.”
What is the most exciting part of your job?
‘Since I am at the beginning of my career, I would say the most exciting part is learning new things every day, and constantly working on improving my skills’, tells Iana. Anja says there are two things that stand out for her. “What I find exciting and a bit terrifying at the same time is when customers call the SOC, because every phone call can range from a quick question to the suspicion that they’re being attacked.” She mentions that this unknowingness makes her feel a rush whenever the phone rings. “The other thing that can be really exciting is when I am investigating an event and it becomes bigger and bigger.”
What does a daily working day look like?
Iana’s working day normally starts by 9, “This gives me half an hour to read e-mails and messages and catch up on things, after this I join the daily standup meeting with the team”. Anja adds: “Usually there is a list of events that we work through. For each event we look at what happened, what this means, any suspicious behaviour and the (potential) impact. Based on that information we decide if it is something the customer should look into or if it has no risk”. Iana says that after the standup she moves on to the ‘training’ since she is new, this consists of processing alarms, getting feedback, and learning new things. Anja mentions some other tasks related to “the improvement of the work where possible” one day a week or when there is no queue.
What is the team like?
“As analysts, we are really dependent on teamwork. Hence, we try to facilitate this as much as possible now that we are working from home”, says Anja. Iana tells how they do this: “We have daily standup- and standdown meetings, which assures that we can work together as a team and we are all on the same page. I like that the approach in the team is of fixing and making things better, rather than getting used to how things are”. “The atmosphere is nice and everyone in the team is always happy to help. As everybody has a very different background, we benefit greatly from the ability to learn from each other. I hope we can do more team events after the COVID-19 pandemic is over”, says Anja.
“Despite working from home since I started, we organized some game nights for the SOC. It was fun and it allowed me to get to know my colleagues outside of work”, says Iana. “I’m really excited to visit the office more often at some point in the (hopefully near) future.” “And with regards to the team,” Iana continues “generally, the analyst team are mostly males. I think is a relatively normal ratio in the ICT field’. Anja agrees and mentions that the team “is growing quickly”.
Would you recommend others to work at Northwave, and why?
“I would! I was and still am constantly amazed by the culture in this company. Everyone is very open and friendly and besides that – smart”, says Iana. Anja agrees and tells: ‘Yes. I love the company, atmosphere and opportunities it gives every employee to grow. I like the company and the atmosphere and the effort that has been put in to still do some team building even though everyone is at home. However, I would also love to experience the fun activities I know Northwave likes to organize, unfortunately, due to COVID this has not been possible yet”. Iana mentions: “There are people here with very different backgrounds and knowledge, which makes an interesting mix”. Anja adds: “So far, everything is possible, you just have to ask, and we’ll see what can be done.”