The Crucial Role of Proof of Concept (POC) in Detection Engineering

Michael Haag
2 min readMar 18, 2024

This is an AI generated piece, reviewed for accuracy by humans.

In the fast-paced realm of cybersecurity, the conversation around the necessity of a Proof of Concept (POC) when developing detection content has garnered considerable attention. Drawing insights from a recent poll that engaged 214 cybersecurity professionals, the preference for the inclusion of POCs in detection workflows emerged strongly. This collective input underscores the critical need for a hands-on, evidence-based approach in detection engineering, highlighting a community-driven perspective on best practices.



The Non-Negotiable Need for POC

Utilizing a POC is fundamentally about validating the effectiveness of security detection mechanisms. It offers a concrete means to test detection rules against specific threats, providing essential insights into their performance. The absence of a POC means relying on guesswork and assumptions, which is a risky strategy in the nuanced field of cybersecurity.

  1. Enhanced Accuracy: The application of POCs in detection processes leads to the refinement of detection algorithms, minimizing false positives and negatives. Through simulated attack scenarios, engineers can directly assess the robustness of their detection strategies against real-world threats.
  2. Adaptability: Content developed with the aid of POCs is better positioned to evolve with the threat landscape. It’s been noted that while POCs are crucial, they could also lead to a false sense of security, highlighting the importance of continuous adaptation and vigilance.
  3. Confidence and Trust: The implementation of POCs fosters confidence among stakeholders that the deployed security measures are effective in practice, not just theory. However, it’s also recognized that it isn’t always possible to conduct a POC for every scenario, necessitating a balance between empirical testing and theoretical planning.
  4. Understanding Limitations: The discussion also brings to light the limitations inherent in detection engineering, such as the need for tailored approaches in detecting different types of threats, from web application vulnerabilities to anomalous user behaviors.
  5. Avoiding Pitfalls: The process underscores the reality that errors can occur, such as incorrect regular expressions, which can have significant repercussions. This reality serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of verification through POCs to prevent regrettable outcomes.


The overwhelming preference for POCs among detection engineers underscores their importance in creating effective, reliable detection mechanisms. POCs are not merely beneficial; they are essential tools for enhancing detection accuracy, fostering adaptability, and building confidence in cybersecurity measures. As the digital threat landscape continues to evolve, so too must our methodologies for identifying and mitigating potential threats. POCs stand out as a critical component of proactive cybersecurity strategy, affirmed by the contributions of over two hundred cybersecurity professionals.



Michael Haag

I write, sometimes, about InfoSec related topics and I love coffee.