7 Common Mistakes SysAdmins Make

(Last updated on February 6, 2020)

Mistakes, we all make them. Even the guys and gals that work to keep the organization running smoothly. The responsibility of protecting the network, combined with the complexity of the work, and pressure from users, brings forth unexpected challenges. Sometimes such challenges get the best of us, leading to mistakes we would not have otherwise made.

We asked the IT pros on Spiceworks to help us identify such mistakes. This is what we learned:

  1. Trusting users with password security: Users have a way of getting around security controls. For example, when forced to create complex passwords, users will write them down to save them the memorization trouble. A good password policy will balance security with convenience and usability. Enabling passphrases can strengthen security and improve the user experience.
  2. Not testing: The quickest way to land in hot water is implementing a change without knowing the possible outcomes. Test everything from patches to backups, and always have a backup plan in case disaster strikes.
  3. Being afraid to ask for help: The only stupid question, is the one not asked. You may be embarrassed to ask for help, but putting aside your ego is worth the hours of agony you’ll be saving. Join an IT network, such as Spiceworks, to get great advice from pros who have experienced it all.
  4. Not creating any form of documentation (process, change, resolution, etc): The configuration applied today that fixed a pesky problem will be long forgotten in a few months. Avoid going through the fix all over again by documenting it once. Use a good note-taking tool. We recommend OneNote, EverNote, and Wikis.
  5. Running unknown scripts: Copying and pasting code from the internet without verifying what it actually does – Yikes! Any script downloaded of the internet has the ability to harm your network.
  6. Staying on legacy software: The daunting cost and time involved in testing a new system is why outdated platforms continue to exist. Is this any more daunting than getting stuck in an unsupported configuration. or even worse a disastrous security breach? Cue in the “cloud” – promising flexibility, and simplicity, cloud adoption is changing the role of IT.
  7. Not terminating stale accounts: Anything in the system that can be an attractive target for attackers is considered a liability. Since dormant accounts can be leveraged to access resources without being noticed, they should be automatically deleted. Specops Active Directory Janitor allows you to easily identify and manage unused computer and user accounts, security risks and any questionable resources.

Want more? Check out the discussion on Spiceworks! We also created a visual memorandum to help you dodge the inevitable bloopers.

System Administrator mistakes

Common mistakes SysAdmins make

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