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Celebrate System Administrators on #SysAdminDay 2021


As you may already know, the 22nd annual System Administrator Appreciation Day takes place today, Friday, July 30, 2021.

As we look back over 2020, few would argue that it is not a year we will soon forget.  Yet through it all, we were able to depend upon our System Administrators.

There is a saying that not all heroes wear a cape. This is certainly true of SysAdmins over the past year, who saw to all the essentials, such as maintaining operating systems, business applications and communications, as well as so much more, especially after things quickly moved from a controlled environment like the office to folks working at home, in the wild west.

As evidenced below, industry experts understand the vital role SysAdmins play in the tech sector and further explain the need to acknowledge and express gratitude to SysAdmins every day of the year. 


Leon Adato, Head Geek™, SolarWinds

"A year ago, in July of 2020, I started my SysAdmin Day post with the words, “I’m not going to even try to pretend SysAdmin Day arrives this year under conditions anyone would call ‘business as usual.’” Here we are 12 months later. A lot has changed, but life (and tech) continues to be extraordinarily not-normal. The challenges we face as IT pros in general and SysAdmins in particular push us to our limits every day, and there’s no hiding or sugar-coating it. In the face of all this, I’d like to offer some new thoughts for my SysAdmin family to help them process this last year and navigate the challenges to come.

First, be kind with yourself. Eighteen months ago, you didn’t know what you didn’t know. You made the best choices you could with the information and resources you had, but those choices may nevertheless have been less than perfect. Today, you may be fixing some of the mistakes you stumbled into. This doesn’t make you bad, it makes you human. But the fact you’re still here today fixing and improving is what makes you a hero. Second, be open to change - the next few months are going to have a lot of it, both within your organization and in the world around you. Remember, we’ll get through the next 18 months the same way we got through the last 18: by recognizing how changes - in tech, responsibilities, teams, and even company missions - are to be more than just endured. They can be used as engines of growth. It may feel uncomfortable, but in the end, it can be positive if we let it. Finally, as my shop teacher would constantly remind me, “let the tools do the work.” Whether it’s a handsaw, an automation orchestrator, or a monitoring solution, make sure to use (and have) the right tool for the work in front of you and let it do the heavy lifting."


Subbiah Sundaram, VP Products, HYCU, Inc.

"If there is anything the past fifteen plus months have taught us, it’s that more and more companies are embracing cloud-native technologies to drive down costs, support remote working and protect and manage modern applications and workloads. Coupled with the rise in ransomware attacks, and you have a near perfect storm of significant IT developments. The one role that is a constant throughout this unparalleled evolution in IT is the System Administrator. This role is significant as they are the ones that are knee deep in executing flawlessly throughout. Whether that be supporting data protection, cloud migration, access for remote workers or supporting containers, the SysAdmin deserves not only today’s recognition but our gratitude for always being on the frontline of significant IT initiatives.

Make sure you take the time to say “Thank You.” Not just for #SysAdmin Appreciation Day, but each and every day. So much of what we take for granted about IT wouldn’t be possible without the SysAdmin’s tireless energy and effort. To all the SysAdmins, or those that fill in as SysAdmins, enjoy the day. You all deserve it."


Brian Knudtson, Director of Cloud Intelligence, iland 

"Never has the job of a sys admin been more treacherous. With continually increasing demands for digital transformation being balanced against an increasing number of vulnerabilities, more sophisticated attacks, and more difficult recoveries, the job of protecting the IT infrastructure is becoming a more constant focus. My hat is off for those still in the trenches fighting the good fight every day (and many nights, too).”


Paul Campaniello, CMO, Login VSI

"Where would we be without SysAdmins? Well, at first glance, we would probably not have internet access. Peeling back the onion a bit further, we would most assuredly not have antivirus or malware protection software. Additionally, we would not have firewalls or corporate intranets. Can you see where I'm going with it? I could go on and on, but essentially it would be IT Armageddon! Thanks for all you do, SysAdmins!"


Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, director, product management, Zerto

"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."


Andy Syrewicze, Tech Evangelist, Altaro

"It’s certainly an interesting time to be a system admin. If 2020 was the year that we learned a good chunk of the workforce can effectively work remotely, 2021 is the year we found out that a large part of the workforce was going to perpetually be hybrid. Increasingly, today’s modern workforce has become accustomed to doing work WHENever and WHEREver they are. This could be the office in the morning, the coffee shop at lunch, the home office in the late evening, or anywhere in between.

Today’s System Admin will heavily leverage the cloud-native capabilities of services such as Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory. Both services lend themselves well to servicing hybrid workers, but the management and architectural skills needed are quite different from the skills needed to manage legacy on-premises environments. Seeing this hybrid trend finally begin to settle into the industry, many IT Pros will need to skill up on cloud technologies if they haven’t already. This includes not only core capabilities but also the skills needed to secure cloud workloads, like those hosted in Office 365, as well.  

Security has always gone alongside IT services, but with the increased use of Hybrid computing, security is more important than ever. Just as the lines blurred between system admin and developer with the DevOps movement, so to will the lines blur (even more) between IT Pro and SecOps."


Ken Barth, CEO Catalogic Software

"From our desks to our home offices, SysAdmins are key to maintaining the technology that integrates into our daily work routines. All day and night, we are downloading our email, accessing the latest Zoom call, using our mobile apps for our next appointment, or settling down in the evening with the family to watch our favorite movie. Our SysAdmins are behind the scenes keeping our systems humming along.

I stress every day to our team here at Catalogic that our job is to give these hardworking folks peace of mind by providing them a reliable data protection solution that is affordable, reliable, and easy to use. Whether keeping the data onsite, in the cloud, physical or virtual, including containers, a SysAdmin can depend on Catalogic’s family of data protection solutions to help do their job quickly and efficiently as they work their way through their hectic days and nights."


Randy Richard, VP of Enterprise Sales for Kaspersky

"Given the significance of their role, it is only fitting that we take a day to recognize and appreciate SysAdmins. They have a challenging job that may feel thankless at times since they most often hear from end-users when something isn’t working. Upon reflection, they are incredibly important to the health and wellbeing of any organization, and I appreciate their efforts to make sure myself and my team are able to be productive while maintaining a safe and secure environment."


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. 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!"


JG Heithcock, GM, Retrospect, a StorCentric Company

"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 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."


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 realise 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."


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."


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."


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. 

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."


Jon Clemenson, Director of Information Security, TokenEx

"System administrators are vital to the function of any organization's IT and business systems. They do all of the extra activities -- including a great deal of research, testing, documentation, and user education -- to ensure that a given system is running at peak performance and being operated securely," said Jon Clemenson, director of Information Security, TokenEx. "SysAdmins are at the front lines of maintaining a solid, baseline security posture against malicious actors looking for low-hanging fruit. We should all thank our SysAdmins today -- not for helping with our laptops, recovering files or setting up a VPN -- but for all the tasks they do that may fly below the radar, but are absolutely crucial for keeping our organizations safe."


Published Friday, July 30, 2021 7:44 AM by David Marshall
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