A server administrator is perhaps one of the most important members of your business. This is especially true if you store your data on local servers within the premises of your brick-and-mortar establishment, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need one if you own an online business and store your data on your web hosting provider’s cloud servers.
A server administrator is responsible for:
- The smooth performance of your servers
- Making sure you and your clients are able to connect to the servers to store and retrieve data
- Securing the servers so that hacks and malicious software won’t steal your data or play havoc with your business’s processes
Whether your server administrator physically accesses the server locally or remotely, you’ll need to make sure you have the right person for the position. The responsibility that falls on them is immense — and you should make sure they can carry it before you hire them.
What should you look for?
Like any hiring process, the first thing you’ll look at is your prospective hire’s qualifications. However, unlike the old days where a degree or certification was the deciding factor in landing a job, in today’s tech-savvy generation it’s the practical skills you should focus on.
If there are two candidates applying for the position, the one with an advanced degree shouldn’t automatically be considered better for the job. Spend some time with the other, less-qualified candidate to see why they believe they’re a good fit, despite the lack of qualifications.
Here are the things you should be looking out for:
When it comes to taking care of a server and its data, nothing beats actual hands-on experience. An administrator who has worked with your type of server will be able to perform their duties with minimal supervision and training. They already know the ins and outs of the technology and can even make suggestions for improvements.
The will to learn and improve
Even if they aren’t highly qualified, don’t immediately dismiss them or opt for the candidate with all the bells and whistles.
Better to have a lesser-qualified server administrator who is willing to keep learning and improving their technical skills with each passing day than one who thinks they know it all. In fact, the former could actually be much more of a critical thinker.
Wider knowledge and expertise
Another point you shouldn’t overlook is a candidate’s set of skills, as opposed to his or her specialization. Way back, no one would take a risk on a “Jack of all trades; master of none.” Today, with technology being so integrated and interwoven, the person who knows a little about how it all works together could be a better investment than the expert who rules in one domain.
Part of the responsibilities of a server administrator involve interacting with your other staff members. Your new administrator should be patient and understanding with colleagues’ requests as they work to resolve potential issues.
There is no point hiring an administrator who locks the server down and denies access to staff, or refuses to look for a win-win solution. Nothing will erode your staff’s morale faster than a power-tripping administrator who refuses to consider alternative solutions.
At the very least, your administrator should be capable of politely turning down users’ demands.
A sense of responsibility
A responsible administrator will keep looking for ways to improve your servers’ performance and security — as a matter of principle.
In this instance, you should opt for a lesser-qualified administrator who can abide by the security guidelines you set out, rather than the “genius” who thinks you are over-reacting with all your policies and instruction manuals.
Good communication skills
When people think of server administrators, a common image that comes to mind is that of a hermit who rarely ventures out of the server room or barely peeks out from behind a row of monitors.
On the contrary, a great administrator should be able to send out reports, updates, and recommendations for improvement to managers and colleagues alike. They should be considered experts, and they should be capable of sharing their knowledge and findings with everyone.
Time to hire your server administrator?
If you come across a server administrator with these traits, you may want to consider hiring them now. An all-rounded, patient, and inquisitive administrator will always be an asset to you and your business.