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SysAdmin Day 2016: Celebrating tech's unsung heroes

Today (29 July) marks the 17th annual SysAdmin Day, celebrating those who keep our businesses up and running by securing our networks and fighting IT fires left, right and centre.

To mark the occasion, several industry professionals have come forward to offer their thanks to the heroes that are SysAdmins.

Michael Hack, SVP of EMEA Operations at Ipswitch:

“IT teams are struggling to control the increasing complexity of today’s hybrid environment. In the run up to this year’s SysAdmin Day, we asked hundreds of IT professionals how they felt about the job they do building, administering and protecting the network. The results show that looking after a corporate IT network isn’t an easy job and requires diplomacy, patience and a lot of hard work.

“Over a quarter of IT professionals said they’d like a little more recognition for the job they do and over a third said they’d feel more empowered if they had the ability to just say ‘no’. They also wish they had the right tools, with over half saying they wished they had the budget available to buy the tools they need the most.

“When asked what could users do to make an IT professional’s job a bit easier, 43 per cent said simply ‘adhering to the IT security policy’ would make a big impact and over a third simply said ‘rebooting their machine before calling the helpdesk’.“

Peter Godden, VP of EMEA at Zerto:

“We feel the pain of system administrators everyday, but today, specifically, we salute you. You have to deal with frustrated users making all kinds of demands and assuming that no matter what mistake they have made you can fix it. One question sysadmins are constantly plagued with is - “Can you restore my deleted/corrupted or infect file?”. Traditionally this is easier said than done, which is why we ensured, this year, that they could actually say ‘yes’ - even if Ransomware has hit.”

Wieland Alge, VP & GM EMEA at Barracuda Networks:

“Hats off to the SysAdmins, they really are the unsung heroes of the digital age. Users break things and they repair it. Technology fails and they repair it. The SysAdmin must be best friends with their systems and networks, but also be able to interact with ever-complaining users. It’s no easy job. They must smile on at ignorant users, knowing that they are, more often than not, vastly overestimating their knowledge. That requires a lot of patience.

“If there was one thing that I could do for SysAdmin Appreciation Day, it would be to use a time machine to send SysAdmins back to 2006. A decade ago, users were ignorant, but at least they would admit to it. Soon after this point, the majority of people became equipped with smartphones, which deluded them into thinking that somehow owning a smartphone made them smart. Essentially, employees started to perceive themselves as admins, because they could download an app or buy a cloud-based service. And so dawned the age of Shadow IT – every SysAdmin’s worst nightmare.

That said, most SysAdmins I know have battled through this disruptive change, and today, they continue to make the corporate world go round. Happy SysAdmin Day!”

Martin Hill, Director of Education Services at Commvault:

"This year, SysAdmin day made us think stop and think about all the hard work that well trained, specialist IT teams deliver daily. Its a sad fact that for a lot of businesses, when IT works, it’s not recognised. But like all of us, IT teams also need support and validation all year round, not on one day.

"Validating skill sets post training through accreditation proves SysAdmin's value to your company and demonstrates your investment in their individual professional growth. Employees who feel invested in are proven to feel more motivated and committed to their personal goals and team objectives. In our survey of 620 SysAdmins, 8 out of 10 said that formal training made them more loyal and committed to their employers. Put them on a development and accreditation workout plan and see how they will continue to reach new levels of productivity and add value to your business."

Luke Brown, VP and GM EMEA, India and LatAm at Digital Guardian:

“In today’s threat landscape, SysAdmins have a tough job attempting to protect every single employee from social engineering attacks, ransomware and other malware infections. Added to that is the job of making sure sensitive data is encrypted, traceable and kept securely within the four walls of the business at all times. It’s a formidable task. SysAdmins are the squires keeping their company’s armour shining, and so businesses certainly need to promote a culture of SysAdmin appreciation.

“On the side of cyber security, instead of waiting for the damage to be done, employees can help their SysAdmins by flagging suspicious emails and other activity on their devices, letting them know about coworkers who are pulling data at unusual times, and advising colleagues on how to handle sensitive data. Having an open and communicative structure can really help SysAdmins to deal with potential threats as they arise, and keep up the good work.”

Mark Young, Director of Systems Engineering at Tintri:

"System administrators (sysadmins) never have enough hours in the day, they face constant requests and are under tremendous pressure to keep IT environments up and running 24/7. Keeping mission critical systems online at the best of times is tough, but sysadmins are facing a continuous battle as IT environments evolve and virtual workloads expand.

"So today we salute you, the unsung heroes of IT, for everything you do. And we promise to continue to partner with you to make storage simple, effective and manageable.”

Hubert Da Costa, Vice President, EMEA for Cradlepoint:

“System Administrators are the heroes of corporate connectivity. A couple of hours of Internet downtime can be devastating for a business, large or small. Staff sit around twiddling thumbs, transactions are unable to be processed and customer service agents aren’t able to operate.

"SysAdmins with a failover plan in place to bridge the gap with an alternative option, such as a wireless WAN, regularly spare the business a loss of productivity, damage to brand credibility and lost revenues.”

Photo Credit: Ollyy/Shutterstock