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7 Things a SysAdmin Should Never Do

Updated on  29th July

6 Min Read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Reddit, also known as the front page of the internet, is considered one of the biggest social networking and news sharing sites on the World Wide Web. It’s a powerful network in the sense that people share their thoughts and opinions on topics ranging from literally anything to… everything. No matter what your topic of interest, you’ll find a subreddit to it.

If you happen to be in the field of IT, you can benefit immensely from joining one of their numerous discussions going on around the world. We found a highly valuable thread and thought it would be great for you. Here it is:

The absolute worst things a sysadmin could do with a brief explanation or example or personal experience?

What follows is a discussion spanning more than 300 comments. Since it would be too tedious for you to go through the entire thread, we took the liberty of filtering out the most important and useful comments and bring you the best of what people think a SysAdmin shouldn’t do, or the worst things they can possibly do.
So here’s the gist of the Reddit community’s discussion, and if you are a SysAdmin yourself, take note of what people think isn’t cool for you to do.

1. Failing to Document Activities

Reddit users voted failing to document their work as the biggest offense a SysAdmin can commit.

Apparently, failing to document or not sharing their work is not the best way to secure their job, shedding light on the fact that many senior IT staff try to guard their work so junior staff never gets the opportunity to outshine them in their own field. Senior members who do that, one user claims, are a pain in the [an animal like donkey] to work with.

But that is not the only reason why a SysAdmin may fail to document their work. Many IT workers expect someone else to carry out the virtual paperwork for them, which usually results in no documentation at all.
So please SysAdmin’s who are reading this, make sure you document your work and make other people’s life easier.

You don’t want your successor to spend a week figuring out how you have structured the company’s IT infrastructure.

2. Not Admitting They Made Changes When Something Broke

Voted as the second most important thing a SysAdmin should never do, many people noted that getting fired for making a mistake is probably for your own good since the company is not loyal to you.

Of course, we are not asking you to get fired.

If a SysAdmin really is horrible at his job, he will be fired eventually, but remember that no company does that if the problems caused are trivial.

So avoiding any kind of problem is the first step that should be taken, but sometimes they are imminent. And when that happens, not admitting one’s fault is not an ideal solution. Skipping troubleshoot can also lead to minor issues sometimes, so just owning up, and learning from the mistakes is the best thing one can do.

3. Read User Mails or Go Through User Files

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: reading mails and going through user files without cause is what a SysAdmin should never do.

Of course, there are situations when it is absolutely necessary to check the activities of an employee or workers, but the situation should demand it. Going through emails and files because you have access and just ain’t right.

Most times when a CEO is asking the IT to go through work emails, they’ve got a good reason.

And in any case, it’s mostly the company’s files they are going through. But despite that, if you want to go through emails and files for vested reasons, you are definitely not in the good books of people who find out.

Also keep in mind that doing that is illegal in many countries, so just go through the laws before you peep in!

4. Look at Someone Typing Their Password


This comment kind of took a hilarious turn as users started sharing their personal experiences.

While most people say they physically turn around in order to not snoop on other people’s passwords, most shamelessly admitted that they have a habit of spying on.

However, the responses quickly died after a small bantering, shedding light on the fact that this may not be the biggest offense a SysAdmin can commit, but they still should be wary of it.

There is, of course, Karma!

5. Wait Until Tomorrow

Tomorrow will never come. Because no matter what you do, you are always in the today.

Regardless, problems need to be fixed asap within a work environment. Problems left for the day after means piling a list of problems that you may never get to solve or at the least have a headache doing do.

Even more so, employees who face the problem at hand are the ones who feel the brunt of leaving it to be solved the next day. This is a serious issue SysAdmin’s, you don’t want someone to be stuck with a corrupt file that renders their browser useless and they can’t play Candy Crush for an entire day.

So, backup should never be left for tomorrow. If anything goes wrong, there won’t be a backup to save the day.

6. Start a Major Change on Friday

Everyone loves this one. OK fine, no one does. It’s almost like abandoning the ship after designing its control room and no one except you knows how to steer the ship.

While you as SysAdmin may not have to work on weekends, there are people who have to. Making changes that others haven’t fully grasped or understood yet can have a negative impact on their work. Even more frustrating than that can be leaving or a vacation after making those changes. Your crew doesn’t have anyone to look up to for the guidance for as long as you are enjoying the beach of Miami or Bahamas or wherever you chose to go.
So make sure that even if you do have to make some major changes before leaving on a vacation or a weekend, you have updated the other staff members and left behind enough knowledge to be ok without you!

The best solution:

¯ \ (ツ)/¯

7. Allow Someone Non-Technical to Access the Admin Account

Why would you ever let someone who doesn’t have the required knowledge access the admin account knowing fully well that a lot can be compromised?

If someone inexperienced gets access to admin account, something wrong is bound to happen. But if something does go wrong, it’s not entirely that person’s fault. It’s more of the SysAdmin’s fault since they’d be the one who granted access to someone who has absolutely no idea of what they are doing.

So people voted these 7 as the absolute worst things a SysAdmin could do, but by no means was the discussion limited to these points only.

However, you can easily say that these are the ones you must avoid at all costs if you are a SysAdmin yourself.

Some hilarious responses also included:

They resonate the concern people have for what their IT managers do, and give a clear indication that no day should start without coffee. So if you are a victim of your IT administrators doing any of these, forward this article to them. And if you are an Admin yourself, take a note!

By the way, Happy SysAdmin Day!

Share your opinion in the comment section. COMMENT NOW

Danial Khan

Danial is a Digital Content Producer at Cloudways - A Managed Cloud Hosting Platform. He primarily looks after the Brand related Content of Cloudways. He likes listening to music, is a foodie and loves to play cricket.

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