Trusted Computer Solutions Announces Systems Administrator Survey Results

Streamlining processes, reducing budgets pose biggest challenges to systems administrators; 75 percent overwhelmed with responsibilities including information security

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Trusted Computer Solutions, Inc. (TCS), a developer of cross-domain and cyber-security solutions, released findings from its first systems administrator survey. The purpose of the survey was to gain perspectives from systems administrators on the challenges, opportunities, and trends they face. One hundred systems administrators were surveyed; 63 percent work for commercial organizations and 37 percent for government agencies. In addition to the survey, the company hosted a roundtable with ten systems administrators to obtain feedback on how they view their roles and responsibilities within an organization.

The survey asked respondents about their biggest challenges: “In the past 12 months, which of the following has your department experienced most?” Forty-three percent chose process streamlining followed by 26 percent selecting budget reductions.

Focusing on one particularly time-consuming process that system administrators face, the next question was “What is the primary method of system hardening you or your organization engage in today?” Sixty-six percent still spend hours, even days, manually locking down to company defined policies or industry standard policies while only 32 percent use automated tools. The other two percent outsourced this activity. Although organizations are working to streamline processes, most are still not aware that there are tools that can automate the process of hardening operating systems.

One of the goals of the survey was to better understand what systems administrators have to do on a day-to-day basis. Not surprising, 48 percent noted that they spend most of their day responding to problems; 32 percent said they spend most of their time installing, maintaining and upgrading servers. Three-fourths (75 percent) of the systems administrators surveyed had some level of information security responsibilities.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Forty-three percent stated that the biggest challenge they face is the integration of new technologies within an existing infrastructure; 32 percent struggle with having a broad enough skill set to embrace new technologies. Cost (12 percent) and risk tolerance for trying new technologies (13 percent) rounded out the responses.

  • Although new technologies are constantly being introduced, the survey asked, “In 2010, what technology investment is your organization’s highest priority?” An overwhelming 73 percent selected virtualization, followed by cloud computing (14 percent), security (11 percent) and Green IT (at only 2 percent).

  • Ninety-five percent of the respondents plan to further invest in Linux.

Full survey results are available at

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