Do you know the value of your system administrators? If they do their job, you might not even realize they’re working. But if your hardware and software goes downhill, you will wish you had professionals at work that took care of the extensive amount of skill required to keep the systems running smoothly.
Fortunately, we are quickly approaching on a day that allows you to recognize the value these professionals provide to your business. Friday, July 29 is System Administrator Appreciation Day this year, giving businesses and their leadership the perfect opportunity to reach out and thank the individuals that keep the company going. Ahead of the celebration, now is a perfect time to learn a bit more about what system administrators do for your business, and the steps you can take to make sure they’re appreciated.
The Value of System Administrators
When your marketing and sales teams work to get new customers, or your product team researches and builds improved versions of your product, you notice a change and can appreciate the results. But when system administrators run through their daily checks to make sure the backend supports everyone else’s initiatives, you likely don’t even realize that you’re directly enjoying the fruit of this specialized labor. Every department expects their computer system to function properly, but hardly anyone recognizes the significant work that goes into making sure that actually happens.
The problem with appreciating this value is that system administrators are similar to offensive linemen in football: they only get noticed when something goes wrong. If your Customer Relationship Management platform, your website, or your reporting tool goes down, the Sysadmin needs to fix it as soon as possible.
The expectation that everything runs smoothly turns into an assumption that if something does go wrong, system administrators must have made a mistake that’s costing the company. But in reality, everything they do on a daily basis actively helps to keep your company running smoothly.
The Daily Life of a Sysadmin
The daily tasks of a system administrator can be broken down into four categories: routine checks, end user support, troubleshooting, and backups. Let’s discuss each of these in more detail.
Every morning, your Sysadmin will run through daily checks to make sure that the server is running smoothly, software performance is as expected, and whether error logs have any new entries. This activity may include anything from checking monitoring tools to making sure the server room is appropriately cooled.
In addition to these routine checks, Sysadmins also perform end user support to be as aware as possible about any potential problems. Most companies have a ticketing system set up that allows your various departments to submit questions or problems you might have with the company’s computer systems.
Based on their daily checks and end user support, Sysadmins spend most of their day troubleshooting any potential problems. Once they determine a common thread among complains and error logs, they work quickly to analyze and fix the problem to ensure smooth system performance.
Finally, your system administrators are also responsible for making sure that at the end of the day, your systems and data are backed up appropriately. In the unlikely event that something goes completely wrong, you need to have a fallback to make sure you don’t have to start from scratch. If your backup processes are automated, Sysadmins do regular QA checks to make sure the backups occur as planned.
Variations in Your Company
System administrators can come in a variety of forms and with very specific responsibilities based on your individual company and industry. Here are just a few professionals that fall into the category:
Database Administrators, who make sure that the data remains secure and accurate while maintaining system efficiency and performance.
Network Administrators, who are responsible for ensuring that all of your employees’ computers are connected with each others and to the Internet.
Security Administrators, in charge of firewalls and other protective mechanisms to keep your company data safe from breaches.
Web Administrators, responsible for the framework on which your website is built, and the server on which it lives.
Of course, these are only the most common types of system administrators. Anytime your business uses a computer system to perform its operations, chances are you have an individual in charge of maintaining and troubleshooting that system – your Sysadmin.
Appreciating Your System Administrators
Considering the above, the value of your system administrators to daily and long-term operations becomes increasingly clear. So just how do you go about appreciating their work in the background?
Ideally, you should be outspoken about the value your Sysadmins provide to your company for 365 days out of the year. But let’s face it; by August, you will be too consumed with your own department’s tasks and responsibilities to do so. So for July 29, consider throwing a reception for your system administrators that allows others in the company to learn about their value and show their appreciation.
This page has some great gift and food suggestions for your IT professionals, which can help you communicate just how valuable you find your system administrators. But ultimately, the day comes down to a single goal: respect.
More than anything, your system administrators want and need to know that their opinion is valued. They know more than anyone about your database, network, security set up, and website, and they’d love to share that information with others. So, next time you make a major decision concerning any of the above areas, why not involve them in the process? Not only will they feel appreciated, but they will also be able to give you valuable insights into the process of implementing or updating a new system.
System Administrator Appreciation Day is a great start to give your Sysadmins the respect and attention they deserve. But why stop there? Integrate them into your IT decision-making process, and your company will benefit as a result.
Business leaders, we’d love to hear what you’re doing to celebrate System Administrator Day this year. Tweet us at @HostGator with the hashtag #SysAdminDay.
Are you a SysAdmin? Happy System Administrator Day to you! Help our business readers by sharing in the comments how you’d like to be celebrated and appreciated for the critical work that you do every day.
Henry Green is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their online presence through marketing, social media, and website optimization.