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SysAdmin Appreciation Day: Top Industry Leaders Share their Insights on IT and Data Ops

SysAdmin Appreciation Day: Top Industry Leaders Share their Insights on IT and Data Ops

This Friday, 30 July, we will observe the 22nd annual SysAdmin Appreciation Day. System Administrator Appreciation Day or SysAdmin Appreciation Day is an annual event celebrated to recognize the efforts of every sysadmin in the industry. A lot has changed in the last 12 months, and sysadmin around the world are working doubly-hard to keep IT systems secured and super-efficient, especially when more than 90% of the global digital companies have either fully-transitioned to remote working and “anywhere working” regimes owning to the pandemic or planning to do so in the coming months, knowing that they have a solid talent pool of sysadmin professionals.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the industry will add approximately 18,000 new jobs for system administrators between 2018 and 2028. Clearly, the report may not have predicted the disruptive forces like the rise of AI ML and Robotic Automation in IT and Cloud applications, apart from the obviously breaking point in the form of the COVID-19 and subsequent migration to remote working ecosystems. We definitely need more SysAdmins than what BLS projected.

We spoke to industry leaders to understand how sysadmin professionals influence their company culture and what plans they have to recognize this group of “mostly under-valued” employees ahead of the SysAdmin Appreciation Day 2021.

Here you go:

Sysadmins Help Organizations Manage Heavy Workloads (Referring to the Kubernetes Economy)

Alex Chircop, Founder and CEO, StorageOS

Alex Chircop
Alex Chircop, Founder and CEO, StorageOS

Companies need their services to be available to their customers at any given moment. The role of the sysadmin has been to support the infrastructure by ensuring that its applications are properly maintained. Transitioning to a cloud-native solution can make the life of a sysadmin much more comfortable. Kubernetes offers fast failover, scalability, a platform-agnostic approach, and resource efficiency to sysadmins and provides them fewer issues to deal with. With Kubernetes rising, sysadmins can make sure a business’s infrastructure is managing heavy workloads at a faster pace than before.

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SysAdmin day exists as a reminder to appreciate one of the hardest working professionals behind a workstation. They are the backbone of any company. At StorageOS, we try to ensure that sysadmins go from being known as unsung heroes in the tech industry to being thanked daily.

SysAdmins Are the Core of Every Organization

Samantha Humphries, Head of security strategy EMEA, Exabeam

Samantha Humphries, Head of security strategy EMEA, Exabeam
Samantha Humphries, Head of security strategy EMEA, Exabeam

“SysAdmins are expected to wear multiple hats and be the first point of contact when things go wrong but often go without any thanks. The go-to for all things analytical, they are responsible for so many aspects of a company’s IT systems, including designing and building technical controls for the visibility and security of sensitive data, maintaining an array of technology systems governing the handling of data, and compliance with GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and other privacy legislation. And that’s just for starters.

Whether you realize it or not, sysAdmins are the core of every organization. They are the ones that support the company’s IT operations and network, keeping the lights on. Without them, it would be disarray.

We mustn’t overlook their efforts and should be empowering them with the tools and resources they need and deserve. Particularly over the last year and a half, our IT teams have been in overdrive working to ensure our systems and data are safe amid the rapid shift to remote and hybrid working. Organisations need to make sure they are investing in the right technology – but more than that, they need to make sure they’re investing in their SysAdmins.”

Every Sysadmin Is Available on 24-Hour Call in Our Organization

Daniel Lizama, Team Manager system administration, Leaseweb

Daniel Alejandro Lizama Ramírez
Daniel Lizama, Team Manager system administration, Leaseweb

“Sysadmins are the backbone of organizations. These professionals maintain, upgrade, and troubleshoot office systems, internal networks, firewalls, and routers, to guarantee quality for end-users.

The entire world shifted on its axis in the past year and a half, yet our sysadmins still managed to produce the quality needed for customers. Despite constantly shifting conditions, Leaseweb Global’s sysadmin team managed to deliver splendidly.

Day after day, these professionals manage to produce solutions to problems. At Leaseweb Global, for two weeks each month, every sysadmin is available on 24-hour call. No matter the day or time, when an issue arises at Leaseweb Global, a skilled sysadmin is quickly available to deal with it.

On this year’s Sysadmin Day, I would like to acknowledge all of the ‘Sysadmin Heroes’ out there. Sysadmins are behind every workstation, internal network, and office system at Leaseweb Global. Our company endlessly recognizes our employees for their countless contributions to ensure our internal systems and workstations are running as smoothly as possible. We hope that by celebrating Sysadmin Day, all other organizations will do the same.”

Role of SysAdmins in the Ransomware Era

JG Heithcock, GM, Retrospect, a StorCentric Company

JG Heithcock, GM, Retrospect
JG Heithcock, GM, Retrospect

“We were reminded time and again over this past year just how much we should appreciate our SysAdmins. In addition to their virtually countless traditional responsibilities, we saw and continue to see so many that have risen up to tirelessly fight the ever increasing ransomware threat with smart strategies designed not only to avoid, but to recover – quickly, efficiently, affordably and completely from successful attacks.

Indeed, ransomware continues to evolve and become increasingly intelligent and ruthless, employing such capabilities as watching for cloud account credentials, deleting backups and cloud storage, and then encrypting everything and demanding a ransom. So many SysAdmins know however, that the right backup can be an organization’s ransomware recovery panacea.

For instance, many of today’s major cloud providers now offer object locking (i.e., WORM or immutable storage). SysAdmins can mark objects as locked for a designated time period, preventing them from being deleted or altered. They can then layer on a backup solution that has been engineered to integrate seamlessly with this new object lock feature to create immutable backups. And, with powerful policy-based scheduling to predict when those backups will leave the retention, they know their organization will always have point-in-time backups that  ensure business continuity — while avoiding the necessity of paying a single penny in ransom.

For this and countless other reasons, we are reminded today why SysAdmins have finally emerged from the shadows and taken their rightful place among the highly appreciated heroes of our IT departments.”

SysAdmins Are the True Stars in Their Organizations

Surya Varanasi, CTO, StorCentric 

“Over this past year, the criticality and immeasurable value of SysAdmins took center stage as the world was sent home to work, learn, shop, and do virtually everything else. And while many of us know it was far easier said than done, SysAdmins were tasked with ensuring secure and ongoing access to information, applications and communication. Successfully accomplishing this alone rightly earned SysAdmins star status in their organizations.

However, we know their responsibilities didn’t stop there. On their exponentially growing to-do list, was another key challenge — remaining vigilant and prepared to defend against the growing number of cybercriminals and attacks from ransomware and other malware. It was impressive to see the number of SysAdmins that elevated their backup strategy from basic to unbreakable. In other words, they knew that for today’s ransomware they needed to protect backed up data by making it immutable and by eliminating any way that data could be deleted or corrupted.

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Unbreakable Backup helped them to do just that by creating an immutable, secure format that also stores the admin keys in another location for added protection. With these capabilities in-hand, these savvy SysAdmins alleviated their worry about their ability to recover — and redirected their time and attention to activities that more directly impacted their organization’s bottom-line objectives. And that is indeed something to appreciate!”

SysAdmins Are the Gatekeepers of IT Resilience

Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, director, product management, Zerto

Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn

“The sysadmin’s role is arguably one the most important in any business. They are directly responsible for the uptime, performance, and security of the systems they manage, all of which the entire business relies upon. It’s no mean feat, but the best thing a sysadmin can do for your business is keep you online – and prevent outages. In some ways, they are the gatekeepers of IT resilience, so it’s important to recognize the role they play.

It’s a tough job and, when things are going right, it is easy to overlook the critical work they do. Most systems administrators are all too familiar with the middle-of-the-night call to come in and fix things when the systems mysteriously go down. Organizations looking to support their sysadmins should ensure that they are spending and investing enough on resilient infrastructure – across backup, disaster recovery and cloud mobility. This will allow your sysadmins to focus on building and managing systems for always-on and agile services, rather than constantly fighting to get the systems back online.”

Adding Value and Security to Every Code

David Miller, SVP, technology, Fluent Commerce

David Miller, SVP, technology, Fluent Commerce
David Miller, SVP, technology, Fluent Commerce

“In the Cloud era, SysAdmins have transformed into DevOps, Cloud and Site Reliability Engineers. These unsung heroes make sure shipping software is cost effective, reliable, secure and performant. They make sure users have what they need to get the job done whilst making sure it’s secure—turning commited code into value shipped to customers. The buck stops with them to ensure performance and availability on a global scale is constantly improving. We are really proud to recognize their hard work and efforts on SysAdmin Day.”

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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