Being a system administrator in a small company not from the IT sphere is a real adventure. The head considers you as a parasite, employees in bad times – as god of the network and hardware, in good times – as a lover of beer and tanks, accounting – as an application for PC’S, and the whole company as a driver for the successful operation of printers. While you are dreaming about a good Cisco, and not about a whistle-box of Iota for organizing a corporate access point, they are already methodically preparing a new dirty trick: a virus from the home collection, hands wound on a wire, a game on a working server, unlicensed Photoshop and downloading of the whole new series to watch on the way to work in traffic. Oh yes, they also asked to fix the electric kettle. It’s not about Kubernetes and DevOps, but about how to survive and get out of this. Oh, yeah, also do KPI and don’t die. Allegorical? No, that’s the way it is.

Non-IT Companies: Guys at Risk

Small and medium-sized businesses not from the IT sphere sometimes use the achievements of the IT sphere carefully, casually and with a great deal of skepticism – … And, that’s why, relations with system administrators are very different, and they determine how effective the company is, how it approaches customer management and whether it survives in the market in general. We list the possible combinations of how it can be.

The company doesn’t have a system administrator; all work is carried out by employees or somebody, who receives a call. In this case, the threats are obvious: unexpected stops in work processes, excessive costs due to the randomness and often urgency of service, security holes, lack of IT infrastructure. In fact, the principle of “every admin is working for himself” works, and the only thing that makes you think about technology is a failure in telephony or the Internet.

The company has its own specialist with salary – a student, a novice system administrator or a very unfortunate developer. In this case, a lot depends on the diligence and interest of the responsible, but most often it is limited to solving basic tasks and minimal life support of IT processes in the company. Infrastructure is out of the question.

The company has a programmer : he is a programmer and a system administrator at the same time. The option is slightly better than the previous one, at least because the programmer easily copes with setting up, configuring and even finalizing corporate software, and, as a developer, automates its activities with the help of scripts, cmdlets, etc. The main problem in this situation is the employee overload, the second problem is the superficial fulfillment of the duties of the system administrator (relatively speaking, why would he love to build the topology of a small network for the company when he is responsible  for heaps of requests for uploading data or finalizing the next business software? It works, doesn’t fail – okay, let them say thanks to me.).

The company doesn’t have a system administrator, but works with an outsourcing company. This is a good option for small and medium-sized businesses: experienced guys are responsible for IT infrastructure, and you have a subscription and breathe freely (well, or have one-time hourly fees and breathe not so free anymore). There are many pluses: efficiency, experience, best tools, responsibility. There are no fewer minuses: expensive, strictly regulated scope of work (a little more – pay), the imposition of services and software, extra charges for urgency in force majeure and complexity in case of major changes in the company.

The company has a good, experienced CIO-level system administrator – the person who is responsible for the development of the entire IT infrastructure. This is logical, convenient, but quite rare. He is always available, the entire infrastructure is in the same hands, he is responsible for physical and information security, is actively involved in business processes and from the inside knows how to optimize costs and what the business really needs. However, for some reason, the leadership of small companies believes that it is unprofitable to maintain such an administrator, while forgetting that they not only give money, but at the same time pay for the stability of equipment and software, security, the availability of quick solutions to incidents, qualified communication with vendors, and the absence of problems with licensing and so on. In the IT sector, this is known much better (but to be fair- not always).

At the same time, in such companies there is a number of problems that should be solved, otherwise you can get into unplanned costs, fines or inefficient work.

  • Difficulties with the organization of infrastructure – you need to make a balance between requirements, quality, economy and convenience. At the same time, management can even consider IT a fashionable feature, but not an essential tool.
  • High equipment costs. Indeed, the purchase of equipment, a server, updating of working machines is a tangible waste for a small company.
  • Difficulties with the implementation and support of business software. We need an internal expertise that will help to do this correctly, in accordance with the requirements and business processes.
  • Low speed of fixing problems: either the outsourcer requires money for urgency, or the admin is overloaded with tasks, or problems are identified late. And if you also need to find some resource, let’s say everything stuck.

Sysadmin or outsourcing – which is better?

A question that makes worried many companies. We tried to analyze prices and create some conclusions.

We went to the websites of Moscow IT outsourcers* of the standard category (not large system integrators and not famous offices), calculated on their website calculators the average price for admin duties based on the configuration of 15 people and 1 server. The difference turned out to be colossal, from 99 $ to “wohoo, seems we should try to make it too,” but the average cost per month was 300 $ with 2 planned visits. The median salary of the system administrator according to the My Circle service is 1000 $ , according to Trud.com – 500-700 $, according to our data for the indicated sphere – 700-800 $. Let us stop on optimistic 800$. In the normal mont are 176  working hours, what means 5$/ hour. If the basic package of services dramatically ceases to solve the company’s problems, outsourcers have an average price of 20 $ per hour for basic services and 30 $ per hour for server services (almost all with a reservation of at least 2 hours).

But here we have to mentioned,  that now every outsourcer will:

  • collect requirements and communicate with the vendor by implementing enterprise software;
  • work with peripherals, consumables and every flash drive;
  • solve various cloud problems and deal with the provider for compliance with SLA;
  • help with personal questions to employees and, most importantly, management;
  • not just make backups, but also test them;
  • solve security problems if they arise due to the human factor or are a fact of incorrect behavior of employees.

Your system administrator in the state is a professional who will know the entire infrastructure, ensure security, work with users and you can ask him always anything you want, because he is professionally responsible. But this does not mean that outsourcing is not a valuable solutions. Think about main needs of your business and carefully decide – or contact us right now for any further information.

*Prices are for Russian segment only.