I remember the days when IT teams were seen largely as computer fixers—they were there to manage the dreaded blue screens, accidentally deleted files, and the occasional software installations. But today’s IT teams face a much larger mission. Not only do they need to keep business tech running—and advancing—they need to know how it keep it all safe while they’re at it. No sweat, right?

The truth is, building a top-notch IT cybersecurity team requires hiring and recruiting with a specific set of qualities in mind—and not just tech skills. Today’s cybersecurity teams need to communicate, anticipate, and analyze security threats, and they need to be agile enough to keep expanding their knowledge—and changing focus—as new technology emerges. Now more than ever, the team you build can determine how safe your company remains. The following are just a few of the skills companies should be looking for as they move ever forward in digital transformation.

DevOps Mindset

As I shared earlier this month, more and more, IT teams need to work with a DevOps mindset, tearing down silos and thinking holistically about security issues. They need to be ready and willing to talk to other departments, learn about their software needs, and determine how those needs fit in with the existing security structure. They need to think constantly about improving efficiencies for the good of all departments—not just the IT umbrella. This takes a strong set of soft skills like communication and leadership, rather than security knowledge alone.

Security Tools—and Scripting—Expertise

Ok, this sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many companies are still set identifying their IT departments as computer fixers, rather than company protectors. IT teams need to know security tech inside and out to ensure it’s working right for your company. They need to understand how to script and alter off-the-shelf (or on-the-cloud) software to fit their company’s specific security needs—and how to keep changing it as new threats arise. In fact, they should be passionate about it! This is critical to keeping company and customer data safe in today’s marketplace.

Analytic Mindset

Today’s move toward big data means security teams need to have an eye for analytics—specifically predictive analytics, which allows you to identify threats before they even happen and divert them in real-time. Some companies separate out this kind of “threat intelligence” or forensics from other cyber-security measures. Whether that’s right for your company or not, you need to have team members in place with intelligent analytics on the brain, finding new and better ways to process threat data, find patterns, and make improvements based on it.

Incident Response

Those “old school” issues like viruses, fix-it tickets and software installation aren’t going away. They’re just taking a backseat to other more pressing issues in the workplace environment. Many companies are finding that using contract or contingent workers to support their regular IT teams is a good way to improve efficiencies and save money. This model allows you to scale incident response personnel with your company’s growth—and to limit it when you can.

A Focus on Efficiencies—and How to Create Them

Today’s companies are constantly finding themselves drowning in a disparate web of as-a-Service apps, cloud services, mobile BYOD devices, cloud and data center storage, and a vast array of security protecting it all. But as I’ve said before, complex and fragmented systems are a huge enemy when it comes to security. As noted in the first point, your IT teams need to be able to think proactively in identifying efficiencies and working across department lines to consolidate software services. The simpler, the safer in today’s IT environment.

Seem overwhelming? It can be. But it can also be boiled down to this: today’s IT teams are changing. They need to be agile and passionate about finding ways to better your company’s security efforts. This takes a willingness to keep learning and growing right along with the tech industry—and a desire to help your company grow right along with it.

Additional Resources on This Topic
Complex and Fragmented Systems are the Enemy of Security
DevOps and Security—They Can Work Together
Improving Cyber Security Protections with Predictive Analytics

This article was first published on Converge.

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