If you work in a school, TAFE or university, today's the day to thank your IT support team. 27th July is the official global 'System Administrator Appreciation Day'. They are the people that got your network up and running in the first place – and then keep it running. They keep you connected to, and protected from, the Internet.
And they do all kinds of things you don't notice until they aren't there – like making backups of your important data; or blocking tens of thousands of spam emails from reaching your inbox. Or stopping somebody stealing your confidential data. Oh, and they make sure you printers can print out the worksheets, and order the new toner and printer ink. And the millions of sheets of paper to go with it. As the website poetically describes it:
A sysadmin unpacked the server for this website from its box, installed an operating system, patched it for security, made sure the power and air conditioning was working in the server room, monitored it for stability, set up the software, and kept backups in case anything went wrong. All to serve this webpage.
A sysadmin installed the routers, laid the cables, configured the networks, set up the firewalls, and watched and guided the traffic for each hop of the network that runs over copper, fiber optic glass, and even the air itself to bring the Internet to your computer. All to make sure the webpage found its way from the server to your computer.
A sysadmin makes sure your network connection is safe, secure, open, and working. A sysadmin makes sure your computer is working in a healthy way on a healthy network. A sysadmin takes backups to guard against disaster both human and otherwise, holds the gates against security threats and crackers, and keeps the printers going no matter how many copies of the tax code someone from Accounting prints out.
A sysadmin worries about spam, viruses, spyware, but also power outages, fires and floods.
When the email server goes down at 2 AM on a Sunday, your sysadmin is paged, wakes up, and goes to work.
A sysadmin is a professional, who plans, worries, hacks, fixes, pushes, advocates, protects and creates good computer networks, to get you your data, to help you do work — to bring the potential of computing ever closer to reality.
Go on – buy them a cupcake and make them a cup of tea before you go home