Devo Recognizes Top-Performing SOC Analysts

SOC analysts are the unsung heroes of their organizations. That’s why Devo is celebrating the first-ever SOC Analyst Appreciation Day™ to pay some long-overdue kudos to these individuals. As part of giving SOC analysts the recognition they deserve, we also established an inaugural SOC Analyst Awards program.

The awards recognize analysts who go far beyond the call of duty and handle their pressure-packed jobs exceptionally well. We presented awards to analysts in four categories:

  1. Continuous Learners
  2. Knowledge Sharers
  3. Best Collaborators
  4. Unflappable Analysts

Let’s dive into what each of these categories entails and introduce our winners!

Continuous Learners
SOC analysts must stay up to date on the latest trends, technologies and certifications. However, it can be challenging to carve out time for continuous learning in such a demanding, time-consuming role. The recipients of this award are SOC analysts with a thirst for knowledge and curious minds. They’re people who take time to proactively learn new skills and stay current on the latest industry trends. Our winners are:

  1. Zachary Blandford, Senior Information Security Analyst, OneMain Financial: Zachary embodies what it means to be a continuous learner. According to his managers and peers, he is constantly looking for ways to learn new skills and improve the organization’s security operations.
  2. Nathan Weatherford, Information Security Analyst, Momentive: Nathan’s wide range of security skills makes him a unique asset to the Momentive security team. Entirely self-taught, Nathan clearly exhibits what it means to be a true continuous learner.
  3. Fabian Moreno, Security Analyst, IAC: Before Fabian joined the SOC at IAC, he studied psychology. Now working on an advanced degree in cybersecurity, he brings tremendous value to IAC’s SOC every day.
  4. Mitch Brandone, Tier 3 Security Analyst, AT&T: Mitch has a reputation at AT&T for quickly becoming an expert on new topics and tools. He is a very well respected, popular colleague.
  5. Jasneet Dhingra, Senior IT Security Analyst, Mater: Jas is consistently knowledgeable and keeps up with current security issues. He spends a considerable amount of his personal time working to better understand and improve the systems he is responsible for and then shares this knowledge with his colleagues.
  6. Chris Phillips, Senior Engineer, IT Threat Intelligence, Ulta Beauty: Chris is known for his training and mentoring capabilities. He leads the Ulta Beauty red team effortlessly.

Knowledge Sharers
This award is for SOC analysts who dedicate time to sharing knowledge across business borders and look to help the broader SOC analyst community. They invest time in industry communities and thought leadership opportunities and are always willing to share what they’ve learned. The winners are individuals who have gained a deeper level of industry knowledge and apply it in their SOCs. Winners in this category are:

  1. Akhil Kumar, Senior SOC Analyst, IAC: Akhil is well-educated in all things cybersecurity, and he’s happy to share that knowledge with the rest of his team.
  2. Jeff Schmidt, Engineer, IT Threat Intelligence, Ulta Beauty: Jeff recently joined the Ulta team and has made an immediate impact on its SOC. He was nominated for quickly coming up to speed on new tools and also for his willingness to grab onto new responsibilities.
  3. Billy Kajos, Security Analyst, FanDuel: Not only is Billy always willing to share his security knowledge with his FanDuel SOC teammates, but he’s also full of interesting facts and information. He embodies what it means to be a knowledge sharer.
  4. Josh Copeland, SOC Director, AT&T: Josh is a lifelong learner. He has been a guest on or contributor to numerous podcasts, a presenter at local cybersecurity conferences and meetings, and is even published in industry journals. Josh works hard to build up the cybersecurity and SOC communities on platforms such as LinkedIn, sharing both his technical and career-growth knowledge with his peers.
  5. Art Rebultan, Principal DFIR and Counterintelligence, Envision Digital: Art is known for being very proactive and self-sufficient. Since he joined Envision Digital, the team has made strides in improving their cyber readiness because of how well he’s mitigated security gaps. 

Best Collaborators
Collaboration is a critical skill for all SOC analysts. This award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond in their roles to ensure the group’s success. These professionals prioritize the success of their SOC team by ensuring everyone works together effectively. Our winners are:

  1. Pedro de Jesus, Information Security Analyst, IAC: Pedro is known for going above and beyond, even working during off-hours and when he isn’t on call. According to his peers, he has an amazing work ethic!
  2. Saurabh Jangid, Information Security Analyst II, Momentive: Saurabh understands the phrase, “teamwork makes the dream work.” While he’s only been at Momentive for a short time, he’s made an immediate impact.
  3. AB, SOC Analyst II, AMEX GBT: Relentless is a good word to describe AB According to his peers, he works tirelessly to make sure the entire team is operating at peak performance.
  4. Clay Weeks, Tier 3 Security Analyst, AT&T: Clay is the master of information sharing. He makes sure more than 30 analysts have what they need to do their jobs. Anyone working in a SOC knows that’s quite a tall order!
  5. Alex Moore, Senior IT Engineer, Threat Intelligence, Ulta Beauty: Alex is known for his ability to achieve success and drive interdepartmental collaboration. It’s people like Alex who help SOC teams achieve greatness!
  6. Riduan Gan, Cyber Incident and Forensics Specialist, AMP Limited: Riduan navigates this complex landscape without breaking a sweat. He exhibits foresight and continually works on improving AMP Limited’s cyber detection use cases and response playbooks.

Unflappable Analysts
The role of a SOC analyst is — to state the obvious — highly demanding and stressful. It often seems there are not enough hours in the day to complete all of the necessary tasks of the role. SOC analysts are under pressure to perform their important work of defending their organizations. This award recognizes analysts who keep calm in the face of chaos and thrive in their role — despite the daily pressures. Winners in this category are:

  1. Janice Chen, Information Security Analyst III, Momentive: Janice is known for being an unshakable force in her SOC and has handled many high-impact security incidents. If you need a calm force in stressful times, you want Janice on your SOC team.
  2. Mark Willis, Tier 3 Security Analyst, AT&T: Mark’s peers know they can count on him — no matter what. Whether it’s a tough task or a challenging customer, Mark is the man.
  3. Chris Gurney, Security Analyst, FanDuel: Chris paved the way for other analysts to join FanDuel’s SOC, which is why he’s being recognized in this category.
  4. Selene Gonzalez, IT Engineer — Threat Intelligence, Ulta Beauty: Despite facing a constant barrage of security alerts, Selene is known for staying steady and calm. Her peers applaud her incredible strength.
  5. Helen Bell, Security Analyst, Verizon: Helen has been a SOC analyst for the better part of a decade. This kind of long-term dedication to the profession makes her a valuable asset to any SOC she works in.

All of these analysts personify the skills needed to excel in the SOC pressure cooker. While these awards are just a small token of our appreciation for all they do to keep their organizations safe from malicious actors, we hope that by establishing the first-ever SOC Analyst Appreciation Day™, we can start to shift the tide and make life in the SOC much less stressful for everyone!