Overcoming the stigma of a lousy job title

The negative stigma that companies tend to attach to data protection has much to do with how it is perceived: a low-tech, career limiting move. But what is 'high-tech' has changed over the past few years.

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Anyone entering the field of information technology generally aspires to attain a position of something more glamorous than that of a backup administrator. Chief information officer (CIO), IT manager and networking guru are common aspirations that people have.

So I was less than enthused when I was assigned the task of backup administration as part of my initial job responsibilities. At the time, I didn't see much of a future in backup administration so my main focus was getting promoted. Eventually I took a position as an IT manager for a midsize police department and then, wouldn't you know it, backup administration was still part of my responsibilities.

At that point I stopped fighting this whole backup thing and learned to become proficient in data protection. However, I doubt my aversion to backup administration and data protection is by any means unique among end-users. The negative stigma that companies tend to attach to data protection has much to do with how it is perceived: a low-tech, career limiting move.

However, over the last few years high-tech has moved into this traditionally low tech field. Chain of custody, de-duplication, disk-to-disk-to-tape, electronic data discovery, encryption, legal holds and tiered data management are all high tech data protection issues that companies now grapple with on a daily basis. Yet the stigma that data protection is a low tech field persists even though these new requirements dictate that it should be given the same status as other IT professions.

Data protection now requires career-minded individuals who do more than just ensure backups complete successfully. However, attracting these individuals to this profession means companies need to do more than just changing a title from "Backup Administrator" to "Recovery Manager," they need to make these individuals an integral part of the corporate IT decision-making process.

Jerome Wendt is the president and lead analyst at DCIG Inc. You may read his blogs at www.dciginc.com.

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