Today is SysAdmin Day: An annual day of celebration for system administrators and their year long, smooth running of enterprise
SysAdmin Day is an opportunity to give thanks to the men and women who, come rain or shine, keep our IT systems secure and put out tech fires left and right. Sysadmins have faced rising pressures over the last eighteen months, managing IT infrastructure and databases remotely and navigating new hybrid work models. However, despite this, it is common to forget about these front line warriors, as they often remain in the background until something goes wrong.
“We’ve seen the phrase “not all heroes wear capes” pasted all over social media during the last 18 months – and for good reason,” says Dwain Stuart, Production Engineer at Content Guru. “COVID-19 caused huge disruption and key workers across the world have gone above-and-beyond to meet the associated challenges. Sysadmins are rarely noticed for their work behind the scenes, but they are undoubtedly the cornerstone of every organisation’s IT operations and have played a heroic part in keeping businesses operational throughout the pandemic.”
Even before the ‘new normal’ of face masks, lockdowns and remote working, sysadmins offered invaluable and irreplaceable services to businesses. However, when the pandemic hit, pressures were exacerbated.
“As many offices moved to remote working, and mobile workers became increasingly more dependent on technology to keep them up and running, the work of sysadmins has increased tenfold,” Chris Hornung, COO at Totalmobile explains.
“For those working in the public sector in particular, lockdowns and skeleton workforces have placed a renewed importance on suitable, reliable technology that allows people to carry out their work.
“Without sysadmins, remote workers would be more susceptible to detrimental problems, such as server failures, overloaded systems, and downtime, preventing them from maintaining high customer service levels. By keeping platforms such as scheduling software and mobile workforce management running, sysadmins have allowed mobile workers to carry out their day to day operations largely uninterrupted by the effects of COVID.”
“Balancing the needs of employees who have been based at home with those who continued to work in offices, schools, hospitals and on the road has been no mean feat, and it’s the IT managed by sysadmins that has enabled this to happen,” agrees Sascha Giese, Head Geek™ at SolarWinds.
“It’s been crucial for teams to collaborate from multiple locations, as well as access data necessary for their job from anywhere in the country – even if it was previously only accessible from inside the workplace. Sysadmins have had to handle this change in work practices quickly and efficiently, keeping systems running and preventing downtime so organisations could continue to provide important—and in some cases, life-saving—services to the general public.”
Hugh Scantlebury, Founder, Director & CEO of Aqilla, adds: “The pace of cloud and SaaS adoption has rocketed during the pandemic as businesses looked for a way to operate while most of their employees worked from home. You might imagine that both these factors diminished the role and importance of sysadmins, but nothing could be further from the truth. They still play a central role in maintaining applications, coordinating cloud services and environments, managing data storage and business continuity strategies, and supporting the broader IT infrastructure.”
“The rise of remote working at scale has certainly thrown up a new set of challenges when it comes to understanding and managing network and cloud security architectures,” Anurag Kahol, CTO at Bitglass explains. “When it comes to maintaining security, deploying a strategy that enables security sysadmins to understand where data is, where it is across the security stack, and what users are doing are all critical to ensuring threats that can be responded to in a timely and consistent manner.”
JG Heithcock, GM at Retrospect, a StorCentric Company, agrees: “In addition to their virtually countless traditional responsibilities, we saw and continue to see so many that have risen up to tirelessly fight the ever increasing ransomware threat with smart strategies designed not only to avoid, but to recover – quickly, efficiently, affordably and completely from successful attacks.
“For this and countless other reasons, we are reminded today why sysadmins have finally emerged from the shadows and taken their rightful place among the highly appreciated heroes of our IT departments.”
Understanding the valuable input of your sysadmins and IT teams is something business leaders should tune into more, urges Tim Bandos, CISO & VP of Managed Security Services, Digital Guardian. “They are your troops on the ground, who are supporting the entire organisation’s IT systems and protecting its precious data. They know the business, and when it comes to change, implementing new processes, or migration planning, they deserve to be a part of the conversation.”
He continues: “This SysAdmin day, acknowledge your sysadmin team, acknowledge what they have to say about the inner workings of your operations, and make sure they are feeling supported in what they do – the same way they continuously support your organisation.”
“Not only are sysadmins expected to offer support at a moment’s notice, but also assist with numerous technologies as digital transformation evolves – with a detailed knowledge of various technical programming languages under their belt,” adds Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA of Skillsoft.
“By increasing the amount of support and training they offer, employers can demonstrate that their support is valuable – and worth investing in. Providing opportunities for upskilling and learning new certifications will also help keep sysadmins more engaged and equipped to meet the demands of the modern workplace.”
Rishi Lodhia, EMEA Managing Director at Eagle Eye Networks agrees that there are duplicitous advantages of investing in technologies that make sysadmins’ lives easier. “Investing in solutions that make the most of the cloud can give your sysadmin new tools to do their job, and deliver insights for the business at the same time,” he describes. “For sysadmins, the higher levels of cybersecurity that come with today’s cloud systems means security is one less thing to worry about, particularly as firms begin to manage the gradual return of employees to offices.”
“On this year’s SysAdmin Day, I would like to acknowledge all of the ‘sysadmin heroes’ out there,” concludes Daniel Lizama, Team Manager System Administrator at Leaseweb.
“Sysadmins are behind every workstation, internal network, and office system at Leaseweb Global. Our company endlessly recognizes our employees for their countless contributions to ensure our internal systems and workstations are running as smoothly as possible. We hope that by celebrating SysAdmin Day, all other organisations will do the same.”