As a business grows, it organically accumulates a sprawling digital infrastructure. This can happen surprisingly quickly. Almost every company, even a small one, has more than one network, servers, apps, websites, and more.
Monitoring, protecting, and optimizing these separate but connected systems is challenging. Failure to look after your networks can result in security threats, lost data, system crashes, and lost revenue. This is where NOC services come in.
Read on to find out what NOC means and the business benefits of outsourcing NOC services.
What is NOC, and how does it work?
The acronym NOC stands for Network Operations Center. A NOC is a centralized team or outsourced management center that can monitor, provide support, and troubleshoot a business's interconnected networks.
The primary function of a NOC is to monitor and support the following:
Routers and Switches
Wireless Access Points
As well as monitoring and troubleshooting networks, a good NOC should provide comments and feedback on network connections and infrastructure maintenance. NOCs are often best placed to identify holes in a business's digital architecture and suggest new, up-to-date technology to futureproof the company.
What is an outsourced NOC?
NOCs can look different across industries and enterprises as each company has unique requirements. Some businesses may only require a single person to cover this role. Larger companies may invest in a large, internal team.
However, most companies outsource NOC services for many reasons, including cost-effectiveness, access to expertise, and better use of resources.
Outsourced NOC monitoring services mean a company works with a third party who can provide support services as needed. This means there is no need to invest in creating a full in-house NOC.
This external NOC will work across multiple different companies, providing expert services in a cost-effective way.
How do you run a NOC?
You might think that setting up and running a NOC is easy. Since the primary function of a NOC is supporting networks, NOCs are often created in response to current issues. However, this is an inefficient way of running a NOC.
Running an effective NOC should follow several established principles to tackle issues proactively. These include:
Continual infrastructure monitoring and recording
Prioritising incident response
Identify and mitigate future threats
Collect and analyse data
Frequent system testing
phased implementation of changes
Most importantly, running a NOC requires patience and realism. Technology doesn't always work the way you expect. An expert NOC support team should be prepared for unexpected problems. It should have the appropriate best practices and skills as a successful NOC to ensure optimal performance and provide ongoing support.
In house vs Outsourced NOC services
NOCs are often working hard in the background and require very in-depth knowledge. Investing in a fully-staffed expert NOC team that can be available 24/7 is a daunting and expensive prospect for most businesses. The result is that many companies do not see much benefit in having an in house NOC.
NOC teams require an intimate and in-depth knowledge of networks, servers, and various types of systems. But they also have to tackle plenty of mundane, less skill-based tasks. Hiring a whole team of these experts working full time is expensive.
Often, there are quiet periods in which experts may have less work to do, making a sizeable in house NOC team a waste of resources.
Furthermore, much of a NOC's monitoring and tedious response work can be demotivating for experts. Trained IT specialists can dedicate their time and skills to more meaningful and exciting projects if the NOC work is outsourced.
Benefits of outsourcing NOC services
Outsourcing NOC services are becoming increasingly popular for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and independent businesses. Outsourcing basic tasks to a NOC frees up other team members to focus on other areas of IT that can provide a greater return on investment.
Here are a few reasons why more people are looking to outsource NOC to professionals.
When you have an external NOC providing continuous monitoring and troubleshooting services, you will have fewer system crashes, and less costly downtime, and your operations will run more smoothly. Even system problems at inconvenient times can have a significant impact.
NOCs can identify and fix issues before they present a real threat to your business. Your IT doesn't have to deal with stressful emergencies, and your clients and customers won't notice anything wrong. This means more revenue, improved brand reputation, and no need to panic.
Detailed Incident Reporting and Handling
When you outsource NOC services, your chosen partner should record and create a log of their work. Fixes, updates, incidents, and averted threats will all be reported. With this massive influx of data on how your networks are functioning, your NOC will be able to help you identify repeated problems and make suggestions for an improved network. This can improve the future of your company, as well as the day-to-day.
While a NOC is not a security team, the around-the-clock availability often catches threats and potential security risks before they become an issue. Your NOC partner will be able to improve your overall security by helping ensure firewalls and other security features are functioning properly and keeping your network protected.
Operational Efficiency for Added Value
With time-consuming, low-value tasks outsourced to a NOC, IT experts can spend more time working on actively creating value for the business. Many NOC services are related to monitoring and reporting, which can take time and, although necessary, don't generate value.
With these tasks completed externally, your internal team or MSP can focus on other ways to make your digital assets work for your business. A NOC can help streamline operations and resolve issues, so other areas of IT can create tangible value without worrying about the monitoring and reporting elements.
Just as a NOC should be able to find loopholes and help futureproof your business, it also has access to the latest technology and best practices. An outsourced NOC can ensure your business has the best knowledge and experts on hand. A NOC will try, test, and recommend software, networks, and technology that suit your business. They can implement industry best practices and ensure that your future digital infrastructure is the best it can be.
NOC outsourcing for MSPs
The benefit of a company outsourcing NOC support services also applies to MSPs. With an outsourced NOC partner, an MSP can focus on providing other elements of IT support services.
Outsourcing NOC operations to an external company can allow an MSP access to the latest monitoring tools for better remote monitoring. A NOC provider can help an MSP deliver a seamless IT support package to clients without requiring in-house investment.
Outsourced NOC services gathering data and fixing minor issues means the MSPs team can look at more significant issues facing a company.
Furthermore, an MSP can reduce support costs by relying on a NOC that will only provide support when needed and won't waste expert skills and resources, as is the case with internal IT staff.
Start Outsourcing NOC Today
Get in touch today for information on what outsourcing your NOC can do for your business and to learn more about the services a NOC offers.
We can discuss your specific requirements and examine your current networks and servers to create a bespoke NOC support team, leaving you free to get on with business.
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