By Dan DeMichele, VP of Product Management at LastPass by LogMeIn
IT admins play a vital role in the day-to-day running of a business. However, because IT admins work behind the scenes, you may not realise everything they do to make your job easier. From keeping software up-to-date to protecting the company from cyber threats, IT admins often juggle many responsibilities while also fixing tech problems for company users every day.
A day in the life of an IT admin
An IT admin’s day is a constant balance between the urgent and the important. They’ll first check email and company chat to see if any new and critical issues have cropped up. They’ll also review the to-do’s for the long-term IT projects in the works – whether maintenance, upgrades, or rollouts of new hardware and software. But there are inevitably fire drills, sometimes multiple times a day. Unexpected tasks can include anything from a senior executive having trouble with a login to a DDOS attack taking the company’s website offline.
As the day unfolds, IT admins prioritise any urgent issues alongside their meetings and longer-term priorities. An organised, efficient, and proactive IT team that leverages technology with centralised administration and proactive alerts can more easily stay ahead of issues before they become significant problems. For example, software like centralised password managers can enable admins to put safeguards in place to protect company accounts, standardise company password policies, and significantly reduce helpdesk tickets from password and login issues. This saves IT time and reduces employee issues that suck up valuable IT resources.
Inevitably, the end of the day comes too soon. Time-sensitive tasks often can’t wait until the next day, meaning late nights for IT admins. Plus, routine system maintenance frequently requires overnight installs when the IT team can minimise disruption to employees and customers. In other words, an IT admin’s day is never really done!
An IT admin’s top priorities
Of course, every company is different, so the particulars of an IT admin’s role can vary. However, there are still some universal priorities for IT admins. For example, keeping the company’s hardware and software running smoothly while protecting the company from threats both internally and externally. Not only this, but the team are also constantly training and helping employees to use the necessary technology to do their jobs and fix any problems that arise, which requires them to quickly become experts on the company’s choice of tech. As well as being the everyday heroes for teams within organisations, IT teams are expected to work with tech vendors to maintain and upgrade company systems, so they are always researching and implementing new and up-to-date tech. It’s their role to stay on top of general trends in their specific industry and the IT world at large. It’s a lot to juggle.
In summary, an IT admin has a lot on their plate. They juggle the tech needs of everyone in the organisation while also determining what most needs their attention on any given day. Senior IT admins may need to delegate specific tasks to helpdesk admins, which helps balance the daily workload. Of course, security is a top priority, so when delegating tasks, IT admins must ensure the proper permissions are given with the appropriate level of access to do those tasks. That also means understanding and using advanced features, so admins can get the most out of the technology and save themselves as much time as possible.
How to be a partner to your IT admin
IT admins love helping employees and will happily explain how something works or why they do something a certain way. But there are a few ways employees can make their jobs easier and show that they appreciate all they do. One of the most important things to help them out is completing cybersecurity training and learning from it, for instance, by using good password hygiene and two-factor-authentication. It’s extremely important to report any suspicious activity, such as phishing or unrequested login links – it might just save your company. A simple but impactful tip is to be patient and remember that IT admins are human, too!
An IT admin’s job can certainly be demanding and stressful. Unfortunately, they more often hear about what’s wrong than about what’s going well. It’s why it must become a priority to be more cyber aware and follow the IT admin’s recommendations, including using a password manager. Not only will this make their job easier but will also help the company to be more secure and more productive. It’s a win-win for everyone!