Survey Solutions Server Administrator

January 20, 2021

Every Survey Solutions server has an administrator. This is the first user account created after Survey Solutions is installed, typically by the same person who performed the installation.


Administrator is a privileged account and can do important actions which may result in damage to data. Assign a responsible and informed person as an administrator! We recommend that the administrator has attended a comprehensive Survey Solutions training.

An administrator can do (almost) everything an HQ user can do plus some exclusive actions:

Note that a server administrator may not be designated responsible for assignments, while a headquarters user may be.

An administrator of the Survey Solutions data server must be familiar with the following procedures:

Actions before the survey starts
  1. If the password has been received via email, log in and change the password:

    • make sure you select a strong password!
    • do not share the administrator password with anyone;
    • do not forget the administrator password and store securely with important records, (but not in an open/visible place!);
    • do not mention the administrator password in emails;
    • do not use administrator account for day-to-day HQ operations.

    See more recommendations in the Password Best Practices.

  2. It is recommended to turn on the two factor authentication (2FA) for the administrator account.

  3. Check the admin server settings, adjust the logo, global message, bulk email providers, and other parameters as necessary.

  4. Create accounts for one or more headquarter users (including one for yourself).

  5. Log out from the administrator account. For your own safety do not use administrative account for day-to-day operations. Use administrative account exclusively to perform the tasks that HQ users can’t perform, such as adjusting the server’s admin settings or deleting a survey.

  6. Do communicate the credentials for the accounts you create on your server with the corresponding users (supervisors, interviewers, etc). These users do not receive their credentials per email, even if an email is specified at the time the user account is created.

Actions during the survey
  1. Monitor the functioning of the server. Analyze any crashes, faults, overloads or abnormal behavior.
  2. Address user requests, such as password reset for HQ users, and other tasks that can’t be performed by HQs.
  3. Collect and analyze user problem reports. Attempt to address them to the extent possible. Refer the users to the corresponding sections of the manuals. Elevate the problems requiring developers' attention to support.
  4. Preserve the copies of the uploaded sample files and split-key files.
  5. Periodically download, back up, and securely store the export data.
  6. Promptly respond to the notifications of the network administrator.
  7. Monitor the progress of the survey.
  8. Monitor and install the updates to the Survey Solutions software.
  9. Monitor and install updates to other software and OS installed on the server to maintain safe and secure environment.
Actions after the end of the survey At the end of your survey you need to secure the collected data, to avoid it being irreversibly lost.
  1. Instruct the interviewers to stop conducting interviews, mark them as completed.
  2. Synchronize all the interviews data from the tablets to the server. Make sure that the synchronizations complete successfully. (If a synchronization is finished with an error, the server may not have received the data from the tablet!)
  3. Do the final approvals/rejections of the submitted interviews.
  4. In HQ proceed to the data export screen.
  5. Download ALL data in all formats (tab-delimited and Stata and SPSS). Download data even in formats which you don’t immediately plan to use.
  6. Repeat for every version of the questionnaire (if the questionnaire was ever updated on the server).
  7. Repeat for other statuses (approved by headquarter, etc) as necessary.
  8. If you collected any multimedia data (images, audio,..) you need to download the binary files too. This can often be a lengthy download.
  9. Count the files and make sure you have downloaded all of them.
  10. Test every downloaded archive to make sure there is no data transfer error.
  11. Open every archive and visually inspect downloaded files. Do not delete the survey from the server if you notice any irregularities in the downloaded data.
  12. Store your downloads on a secure media
  13. Immediately make a secondary backup copy of the downloads, preferably on a non-eraseable media (CD/DVD).
  14. Clearly mark each backup copy. Indicate the user who created the backup, date, survey name, and other information. If you are uploading your backup to the file storage create an accompanying readme file.
  15. Do not transform, convert, or otherwise process the data downloaded from Survey Solutions server before securing the downloaded files.
  16. Review and save/print any reports you may need from the server. Reports are not part of data export.
  17. Only delete a survey or dispose of the server once you complete all the procedures in this list.