As data security grows more important across the cyber world, so too has the need for IT workers with security skills to work at data centers. Ellyne Phneah wrote on ZDNet that companies are now looking for employees with a more cross-functional skill set to help work in data centers, especially as IT operations become more central to business objectives. Specifically, there is an especially strong demand for IT workers with security and Linux know-how.
Ng Tock Hiong, CTO for Cisco Singapore, told Phneah that data centers were run differently and had specialized functions such as storage, networking and applications that were conducted independently. There was minimum collaboration and these areas were siloed, as not many companies had full collaboration across the organization.
"Virtualization, however, changed the dynamics of data center management by unifying applications, networks, storage, and servers," Phneah wrote. "The integration demands a holistic skill set as IT becomes embedded in business activities, he explained. For example, a person who is skilled in application development will now have to understand how the software is linked to the backend and the related implications."
CR Srinivasan, vice president of global product management for data center services at Tata Communications, told Phneah that when it comes to hiring a new data center employee these days they need to have an understanding of the technology around them, what kind of security is needed and specific areas of expertise. Employees also need to have a nose for the current issues, Srinivasan said, such as knowing how to deal with running out of space, cooling challenges and the management of the facility.
There are a number of new data center security technologies that are coming out now to help make the jobs of these workers easier, including smart cards, IP cameras and security control platforms, according to TechTarget. Corey Needles, data center manager at Latisys told the website that in terms of looking at new technology, companies should do this every year to 18 months, which means companies need to be hiring IT workers who are forward thinking and always looking to expand their knowledge base.
Linux an important skill to have
According to the 2012 Linux Job Survey and Report by Dice, 63 percent or recruiters are looking for those with Linux skills. About 85 percent of these managers said finding people with this skill is not easy, however, so there is certainly room for those in IT careers to learn more in an effort to get hired into these jobs. Phneah wrote on ZDNet that IDC reported that Linux will be one of the two primary operating systems in the cloud and open source technology will increase just how important it is, as one big reason why Linux is such an important skill to have right now.
Linux is only one of many skills that data center employees will need in the future, as Ng told Phneah that the challenge will now be to accelerate the time required to enhance the skill levels of workers, especially when it comes to being sure security is well in place.. Educational institutes working with IT departments is one way companies can help make things go a bit more smoothly when dealing with employee retention.
With all of these new skills needed, there are new expectations for the data center staff, according to what Adriaan Oosthoek, managing director at TelecityGroup UK, wrote on Data Center Dynamics.
"In the past ten years, the industry has enjoyed extraordinary growth," he wrote. "And as the world becomes ever more 'connected' the role of the highly-connected data center as the enabling environment for the digital economy becomes ever-more important. As a result, the roles and expectations of data center managers and engineers have evolved – reflecting the critical importance of our services to our customers' businesses."
It recently became clear, Oosthoek said, that greater efficiencies could be achieved by making sure data center employees can each specialize in a specific area. While he admitted that it's nice to have a jack-of-all-trade on staff, there are some people that are far more accustomed to working with one particular area or skill than others and companies should look to leverage such strengths. Some data center workers may be able to work well with their hands while others could be more adept at working in a customer-facing position.
The key to bringing the next generation of the data center staff is to work alongside educational institutes and make sure companies spell out what skills they demand so young workers can become specialized in the well-needed areas, according to Oosthoek.
"It is essential that this expertise is captured and fed more widely into university education as soon as possible to ensure the data center industry can utilize the appropriate skills to sustain growth in the future," he wrote on Data Center Dynamics. "Only through the on-going development of IT skills will we be able to continue to deliver the level of service our customers expect, reflecting the critical importance of the role of the data center manager and engineer in today's data center industry."
Data Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro.