To those in the know, the last Friday in July is System Administrator Day. This is a day where sysadmins receive the accolades, gifts and praise for the time they spend keeping your business connected and secure. Your workplace wouldn’t be the same without the tireless work of system administrators behind the scenes.
Let’s take a brief look at the many areas system administrators are involved in and imagine how the workplace would be – and how you would do your work – without their contributions.
1. The Network
Let’s start with the obvious: system administrators maintain servers, workstations and other connected devices. To prevent downtime during working hours, scheduled maintenance and upgrades generally take place in the evenings, late at night, or over the weekends. You may have seen the alert emails telling you ‘services will be unavailable during the following times’. In real terms, it translates to ‘IT are working when you are not’.
2. Active Support
You may have never met your system administrator but rest assured, they are familiar with all users, whether by responding to support requests on a ticketing system or when remotely installing required software on your system. Part of the system administrator’s role is to promptly resolve support requests, whether it is recovering that accidentally deleted email, virus removal or resolving network performance issues.
3. Network Monitoring
In addition to setting up and configuring the network, system administrators proactively monitor your network to identify problems before they impact users. In user terms, this leads to increased productivity, allowing you to complete your assigned tasks on or ahead of schedule. Any bonuses, promotions or employee awards received would not be possible without a stable network.
In addition to internal communication, such as an intranet, system administrators set up telephone systems, wireless networks for BYOD, conference or meeting room audiovisual solutions, email, internet access and security, logistics and product tracking solutions and warehouse systems. This allows each company department to have access to all they need, which again allows users to perform tasks without worrying about technology setup. Use it and it works. Simple.
5. Time Management Systems & On-premise Security
Time management systems (TMS) are commonly used to track employee attendance and punctuality. Without them, salary payments cannot be processed by finance departments. Thanks to system administrators, your hours are tracked and you receive your salary on schedule. This system also aids premises security, as you cannot enter the building or designated areas without a swipe card. In an emergency, this system helps ensure that all employees have evacuated the building by generating a list of employees that are signed in and confirming by manual head count. In some cases, the addition of an RFID chip to the card allows employees to be tracked in the building, which is invaluable to emergency services in the event of a fire or other unexpected event.
6. Assumption of Responsibility
In the event of a network issue, system administrators assume all responsibility and users are never blamed for viruses, hacks or misuse of company equipment. Even the most publicized of hacking incidents have never led to user censure or dismissal. This is certainly a good deal. Even if you make a mistake, intentionally or otherwise, it is IT that deals with the results, having to explain how it happened and taking the necessary steps to prevent re-occurrence.
Whether it is getting paid or having the technology available to chase down promising sales leads, IT does so much to improve the workplace. Always thank them for solving any problems you have. They will appreciate it.