Enterprises are taking into consideration not only how important cybersecurity is for their business, but also how necessary it is to hire team members who prioritize building and maintaining secure data storage systems and protecting data upfront.
Because the storage market manages enormous volumes of enterprise and customer data, cybersecurity is one of its greatest needs. Data, which recent research suggests is the most high-value commodity in the world market, is sought by criminals, including highly experienced hackers and ransomware gangs. For years, storage systems and security platforms remained somewhat separate, but storage specialists and administrators need baked-in security to protect their systems.
IT and human resources professionals have pinpointed five key trends in the job market for storage and security roles:
Trends in the Storage Cybersecurity Job Market
- Certifications Matter, But So Does Mindset
- Curating Teams with Blended Skill Sets
- Experience With New Storage and Data Center Technologies
- Hiring for Specific Technical Focus
- Protecting Systems When Security Innovations Can’t Keep Up
1. Certifications Matter, But So Does Mindset
Certifications, particularly cloud-based, are trending, according to Brent Skalicky, the chief human resources officer at the data protection company Arcserve. Security-focused employees in data services organizations need a variety of skills too.
“The Arcserve security team serves a complex and varied customer environment, which demands agility and accessibility,” Skalicky said. “Our personnel possess CEH, CISSP, and CCSP certifications. Moreover, adaptability and the ability to take a holistic approach with their evaluations is also required. This approach includes a blend of organization, human factors, and process as well as tools.”
Evaluating systems through a cybersecurity lens, while also considering every other factor — people, processes, software — is a valuable skill for security-minded professionals. Certifications are highly valuable to storage companies, but so are flexibility and diversity of perspective, especially when storage and security systems involve many moving parts.
2. Curating Teams with Blended Skill Sets
Organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the need to build storage teams that can also secure their data, according to Jonathan Halstuch, the CTO and co-founder of Racktop Systems, a storage vendor that combines cybersecurity with data protection .
“Infrastructure operations jobs are requiring more advanced security training, like CompTIA Security+ to provide a foundational background,” Halstuch said. “Storage vendors are scrambling to weave a security or ransomware protection message into their product with varying degrees of success, but I don’t see them really hiring a team of traditional cybersecurity practitioners.”
However, he said, businesses need diverse IT employees who have a range of technical skills.
“Customer organizations that are doing the best are hiring teams that have blended responsibility where each person is responsible for delivering a service or capability end to end versus having a separate network person, storage person, compute person, and cybersecurity person,” Halstuch said. “In short, people are hiring IT professionals with a more rounded set of IT skills and background, and one of those skills needs to be cybersecurity.”
Although developing a wider range of IT experience takes time and work, it’s necessary for enterprises that need to protect their data and applications to find employees who exhibit broad skill sets and can see a data service through its life cycle.
3. Experience With New Storage and Data Center Technologies
Employees should be experienced in the latest storage and security technologies that the market has widely implemented, including technologies that are driving the future of storage.
Jamie Girouard, chief human resources officer at the storage and protection company Quantum, explained some of the skills that Quantum looks for in its storage candidates, highlighting many current forces in the storage industry.
“We source individuals with experience in developing cloud-native applications, advanced data analytics, AI/ML, NVMe fabric and high-performance Ethernet networking, object (S3) and networked and local file storage design and management experience,” Girouard said.
“High-performance and efficient design for solid-state storage systems is an area of deep investment for Quantum. Background in efficient algorithms for data compression and deduplication and the ability to design efficient migration protocols over a wide area network is highly desired.”
Technologies such as solid-state drives (SSD), cloud-native applications, and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) are major components in modern data centers. Hiring employees who are familiar with the technologies that are driving the storage industry sets up enterprises to develop more quickly.
Security is not forgotten in this list of skills; in fact, it’s a priority.
”Security is a thread running through all aspects of our product design,” Girouard said. “Experience in cryptographic algorithms and designing secure, multi-tenant platforms is highly valued.”
Employees who can implement secure storage processes throughout product development are valuable to enterprises that require increased cybersecurity.
Also read: Why NVMe is now poised for enterprise growth
4. Hiring for Specific Technical Focus
The team at storage company Backblaze understands the importance of hiring employees with specific abilities and for specific tasks, particularly technical ones.
Mark Potter, Backblaze’s chief information security officer, shared some of the company’s security-focused plans.
“InfoSec hiring trends in cloud storage are largely the same as those every industry is experiencing today, but at Backblaze specifically, we are seeking candidates with more hands-on technical skills,” Potter said.
He said Blackblaze will be hiring incident response specialist personnel and considering an information security engineer role.
The ability to rapidly respond to an incident can make the difference in data recovery times, system outages, and amount of data lost. Employees trained to respond to security breaches are critical for storage teams.
Cloud implementation and management is another process that requires experienced technicians; it’s one of the top cybersecurity skills for job candidates, according to Indeed. As more enterprises migrate to cloud storage, the quick shift of stored data and applications to a new environment has emphasized some gaping vulnerabilities.
Misconfigurations are one of the biggest threats to cloud environments. They often come from a lack of automation in cloud security, according to TechRepublic. Cloud engineers who have experience in designing automated systems can help enterprises not only get up to speed on their migrations, but also better protect the data being migrated.
Also read: Data Storage Job Market Trends
5. Protecting Systems When Security Innovations Can’t Keep Up
Storage systems have undergone considerable innovation, and while they may provide better flexibility for data and apps, sometimes their security slips.
Technologies such as container-native storage, artificial intelligence (AI), and composable infrastructure help companies manage their growing data volumes, but sometimes enterprises pay for the sudden new speed or greater storage capacity with unaddressed security. The storage and security industries have not had enough time to develop sufficient data protection protocols.
Hiring employees who have the drive to innovate and design security solutions for storage systems may pay major dividends for enterprises. These employees are responsible for protecting stored data, even when security isn’t as good as they might hope for in those storage systems.
The ability to innovate — to quickly map intrusions, code programs, or deploy software — in the midst of many technical unknowns is a trend the storage market is seeing, as enterprises recognize the need for proactive security.
Learn more about security: Top Cloud Security Companies & Tools