Systems administrators keep our digital world in motion and have for years, but as more devices are added to the cloud, and cybersecurity threats are as persistent as ever, administrators find themselves entering a new era of work. Now, systems administrators must uphold the level of work that they have always displayed while simultaneously demonstrating adaptability as the role changes and new technologies emerge.
Industry specific challenges
IT technology is becoming increasingly complex and interconnected. As the world shifts to keep up with changing IT technologies, management has come to expect that same shift from internal employees, specifically systems and network administrators.
The major shift in IT environments is the introduction of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Network automation can reduce operational costs as it eliminates the need for manual labor. Automation can also lower costs by reducing downtime and saving companies money on repair costs. While beneficial to investors and customers, automation may actually be making the lives of systems administrators harder.
Since automation reduces manual intervention, some businesses erroneously think that they no longer need to hire personnel to manage the network. While the workload of employees may be less, that does not mean that automation can replace human intervention when things go awry. Without the coordination, implementation and monitoring of automated tools by systems administrators, organizations are at risk of cybersecurity threats, data loss, network outages and more. One person can only handle so much information, and AI can only be as good as the information it has been fed.
The backbone of operations
Systems administrators are responsible for a multitude of essential tasks, including but not limited to software and hardware configuration, troubleshooting and monitoring performance. While these tasks are standard for systems administrators, as technology changes, so does the job description. Now, administrators are required to take on a slew of new challenges to meet IT business needs.
Because systems administrators take on so many different roles, they can help businesses maximize their spending and cut down on resource allocation costs. They also understand the back-end costs of IT projects, giving expert insight into the inner-workings of the company and prioritizing investments that make the most sense. Managing IT costs is about managing risk and optimizing resources, all of which can be done through the lens of a systems administrator.
The systems administrator’s tool kit
IT infrastructure is costly - from reliable hardware and software to proper network maintenance and skilled employees. As IT spending continues to increase year over year, many businesses are looking to cut down on costs. The right automation tools are critical to ensure high quality and consistent results. This is where systems administrators come in. Systems administrators have a bird’s-eye view of their business’s IT needs and can recommend a cutting-edge digital transformation solution that not only helps cut down on operational costs, but also benefit and improve the overall function of the company.
Guardians of the network
Systems administrators are also responsible for securing business environments and are essential to the safety of an organization. The telecom industry is a prime target for cyber-attackers. With customer information, sensitive data and interconnected networks, telecom hacks have the ability to produce far-reaching implications. It is projected that 83 percent of businesses experienced more than one data breach in 2022, which can often take days or even weeks to recover from.
As data breaches and cybersecurity hacks continue to skyrocket, they can lead to network downtime and cost thousands of dollars. What's more, network downtime and data loss open the door for numerous security errors. As downtime continues to put businesses in dangerous positions, systems administrators are the only employees who truly understand how to mend the issue behind the scenes. They are a crucial aspect of defending against attacks and keeping businesses afloat as cybersecurity obstacles continue to plague the industry.
Looking to the future
Data loss, security vulnerabilities and increased cloud usage are wreaking havoc on IT operations, and as the industry continues to evolve, so does the systems administrator job description.
So, what does that mean for the future of system and systems administrators moving forward?
Many organizations do not have the resources to manage and sustain these new technologies, and as systems administrators carry the load, they need to understand the current risks facing their organization as technology continues to grow and pave the way for more applications and more access points. To tackle these issues, systems administrators can streamline their workflows to create more agile business practices. The proof is in the pudding, and by securing and managing new technologies, systems administrators offer proven value in a way that other employees cannot.
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