Cape Town - When emails are bouncing, connections dropping and programmes crashing – you call in a system administrator – sysadmin, for short. If everything is working, they’re invisible – but when the wheels come off, often that very moment just before you hit Save All, they’re likely to be the first person on the receiving end of your DROP EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW emergency call.
To celebrate the people who keep businesses operational, the people who work behind the screens, Sysadmin Appreciation Day, is celebrated around the world on the last Friday of July.
Sysadmins work in various roles, from the super specialised to the all-round techie; “They’re problem solvers and need to be highly flexible in order to adapt to the fast-paced tech world,” says Dane Miller, head of product development at local web hosting company 1-grid.com.
The past 10 years has seen a big shift in their role from network and systems maintenance to ‘managing the cloud’. As their primary goal is to improve organisational effectiveness and ensure business availability, their work often goes undetected – until it all goes toes up and they’ve got a hyperventilating co-worker breathing flames over their shoulder.
“A break in communications or your web presence can be very damaging for a company’s reputation and sales – it generally induces frustration, impatience and often panic,” says Miller. Essentially, sysadmins see us at our worst.
As more and more businesses get online and connect to the cloud, they require reliable, glitch-free systems for storing, sharing and securing their business information and correspondence. Sysadmins are all about getting that right, their work is core to customer satisfaction;
“Everything from shopping to finding and vetting service providers has moved into the online space. Businesses – no matter how small – need to build and maintain a strong, professional online presence,” says Miller.
For those who have had a sysadmin save the day by recovering a lost document or getting a server back up in lightning speed, there may already be a deep sense of appreciation, but Sysadmin Appreciation Day is about more than these heroics; “We also need to acknowledge that when everything runs smoothly and efficiently, there’s a dedicated uptime aficionado behind the curtains, holding it all together,” says Miller.
N ext time you’re asked to restart your glitchy laptop – take a deep breath, keep calm and try not to snap.