There are many things in business we take for granted because they are invisible to us. The reason they go unseen? Well, you can thank your System Administrators for that. Let me put it into perspective. Each morning I get up, stretch, have my coffee, and go through my morning routine. I glance at the clock, and then I head to my computer to start work. I check my email, check my tasks for the day, and settle in. When I need documents, I connect to the network and I pull them from a server somewhere. It all just happens.
If something goes wrong? I send in a support ticket and lo and behold it stops being a problem. Someone calls me, or I get an email that says, “Should be fixed!” and my world goes back to its usual clockwork precision. If I, let’s say, accidentally do something dumb—like not pay attention to what I’m typing as I sip my morning coffee and lock myself out of my computer—I just make a call, get in touch with someone in IT, my computer is quickly unlocked, and I can get back to my day.
It just happens. I don’t think about it. All this stuff is as innate as breathing. I access the network without struggle, my password can be reset if something (read me screwing up) goes wrong, my computer will be updated, and everything just happens. But someone has to make sure this magical “just happens”, well, happens. There is a person (or persons) behind the scenes who is making sure that my experience is as flawless—and smooth—as can be.
It’s the job of a System Administrator to make sure that I can do my job. And the more I realized how much of what I get done is contingent on them doing their job so well I don’t even notice, the more I appreciated their existence.
“They are just doing their job,” someone might say. Yet, without them, I couldn’t do mine. But what exactly do they do? And how many of the things that “just happen” do they handle? Well, here is a list of 10 of the ways that a System Admin keeps your business running and help us keep doing our jobs.
We’re all guilty of messing up our passwords from time to time, especially after a mandatory change. If your company is practicing good security, they probably require you to change your password on a regular schedule. A System Admin is the person who makes sure the system reminds you to do it and makes the rules for how secure your password needs to be.
They are also the people who, when you mess up and get locked out of your PC, will unlock it, or send you a new password to use to get back in. Without them, our accidental key slips, or downright forgetfulness, would leave us stranded. So next time you call in to get your computer unlocked, remember, that person just saved you from losing hours of your day to a minor mistake.
Another big thing System Admins do is help manage file structure. They set the policies and procedures to make sure you can find what you’re looking for. Usually, that structure is straight forward and helps everyone. Without their guidance, your file structure could become the wild, wild west, which would make it easier to breach by bad actors, and harder to access the things you need to do your job.
Monitor and Alert
Storage is at the heart of any company, and servers are where that happens. System Admins make sure that the servers are running at peak performance and set up alerts to let them know when something goes wrong. Without this monitoring, a server could go down and you could lose access to all the files you need. While most companies have backups, it’s important to know when something isn’t working right and to fix it before it breaks completely. Think of a System Admin like Batman watching over Gotham. If they aren’t there to protect the servers, a lot can go wrong.
Create Backup and Recovery Procedures
Backups are another thing System Admins handle. They create the cadence, and make sure all the company’s data is safely backed up. If a server goes offline—or ransomware gets into one of your systems—the Sys Admin can isolate the problem and use the backup to give everyone access to the things they need.
Maintain the Cloud
Moving away from servers and into the cloud? System Admins keep track of that too. They treat them with the same care they treated the servers that came before them. Whether you’re migrating or have been in the cloud for a while, System Admins make sure you can see what’s going on and continue to operate at the speed you’re used to. From making sure applications are working to monitoring usage, they manage the cloud and do what they can to keep costs down.
Create System Policies and Procedures
The truth is, without procedures we’d be lost. Sure, it can all get a bit bureaucratic, but it protects us from accidents and from people trying to steal information or harm our workplace. By carefully designing how the network is handled, System Admins keep it safe. Knowing who to let in and when is a huge part of this. Making sure you can get to your files, but maybe not to another department’s records, is important. This also helps keep security tight.
Install Software and updates
This may sound boring, but it’s incredibly important. When a big update comes out you need to get that out to everyone as fast as you can, or you could be exposed to a major security flaw or other vulnerability. Updates improve the way our computers work and keep them safe. System Admins make sure updates are ready to roll out and that everything works correctly.
As you might have noticed with all of the above, security is sort of a big deal for System Admins. They set up the network and make sure it’s secure. They create processes, from passwords to access, that protect our companies. Their work shields us from attacks. While it may seem kind of boring from an outside perspective, they make sure that if someone does try to sneak in, they won’t get far.
Create Recovery Plans
System Admins don’t look at just the now. They look at the possible futures too. They think about “What could go wrong” and they plan for it. They figure out what to do if the unthinkable happens. From natural disasters to security breaches, they run the situation and they figure out what the next steps are. It’s one of those things you hope never happens, but it helps knowing someone has a plan to fix it if it does.
Respond to Incidents
And if that thing you hoped would never happen does? Well, the System Admin implements their recovery plans and fixes it. They repair the damage, fix problems, and then stop it from happening again. It’s like a superhero swooping in to fight the bad guys. They make sure the bad actors are stopped and the information is protected.
Thank Your System Admin
Much like superheroes, System Admins aren’t thought about unless you need their help. But they do so much of the “just happens” things we take for granted in our companies. So, take a moment to reach out and say thank you. They are the unseen force that keeps us running at full speed. I can’t imagine a world where the things I take for granted don’t happen—and that means there are System Admins who are very good at their jobs here.
And if your IT team, especially your System Admins, needs a little bit of help. Check out the services that Connection can provide to be their back up. We’re happy to play sidekick to the real heroes to help them focus on all of this big important stuff. We’re here to help your IT team shine.