Defending Data and the Future of Storage with Steve Watts, Ep #3 

In this episode of Tech Talent Today, I’m excited to be joined by Steve Watts. Steve is a manager of storage, data protection, and automation services for a super-regional insurance carrier. He rose through the ranks from network engineer to storage engineer to storage & data protection architect to manager. With the increased prevalence of ransomware attacks, data protection, storage, and backup are essential topics. Listen to Steve’s perspective to learn what companies can do to protect sensitive information.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • What can you do about ransomware? [02:53]
  • How did Steve gain an interest in computers? [10:47]
  • Automation’s influence on storage [12:53]
  • Desirable attributes for new team members [15:32]
  • The pandemic’s effect on hiring [20:30]
  • Managing work/life balance while working from home [27:15]

Defending against ransomware

There was a point when the main concern for an enterprise was if they would get a computer virus. Nowadays, companies have to look at ransomware as “when” rather than “if” it will happen. Ransomware threatens the potential of having intellectual property locked up without the ability to access it. After an attack, the company is faced with paying the ransom. Some companies who deliver the ransom never recover their data. So, the best option is to have a plan in motion before an attack begins.

There are several approaches to defending data. A lot of companies have taken to using air-gapped solutions. They move their regular backups to a secondary, or sometimes tertiary, storage device that’s not on the network. That adds a whole new level of cost and complexity because there has to be a temporary storage device to connect to the backup. Then that backup has to be isolated, so it can’t be accessible in the event of an attack, except by the company.

How has automation influenced storage?

IT is ripe for automation. The days of building servers by hand are gone. Rather than manually building equipment, we have processes that will build repeatedly. The storage space is in the same position. There can be some complex processes that have to be repeated each time storage is brought online. Rather than needing to put the document in someone’s hands, hoping they get it right, it’s a lot easier to automate those processes.

Automation certainly won’t eliminate the workforce. There still need to be people who specialize in automation. Those people make the processes more repeatable and actionable, then they couple that with the cloud. Even with utilizing the cloud, the same work has to be done. Engineers need to be employed to work with all the automation because of the scale the cloud allows. A business needs to be able to scale up and scale down to continue to meet demands. Automation is the solution to managing business fluctuation. 

Staying informed and prepared

If you’re in the IT industry and working in storage, think about the people writing malware. Spend some time with your management team and vendors so you can understand the capabilities of the platform you’re currently using. If the platforms don’t have any suitable mitigations, then do some research. Find out where the gaps are in your environment and what you can do. Storage and backup are the bedrock upon which the rest of the organization is built, whether people know it or not. Backup can be thankless work. But if you have a good plan, the day the organization is under threat, you’ll know you’ve done your job well. 


Companies have to look at ransomware as “when” rather than “if” it will happen. #Ransomware #Storage Share on X


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Watts

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