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What is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?

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A Network Operations Center (NOC) is like a city’s traffic control center. Just like the traffic center oversees road conditions and the movement of vehicles, NOCs have a bird’s-eye view of different networks via a centralized location.  

As Wikipedia defines it,

“A network operations center (NOC) is a location(s) from which network systems are monitored, controlled, and managed. These systems can include a computer, telecommunication or satellite network.”

NOCs ensure all the components within the system work in sync and the end users get the most out of the network. These are rooms where multiple devices display visualizations of various networks under surveillance. 

It simplifies network troubleshooting and performance management along with other business-critical tasks.

Why should enterprises invest in dedicated NOCs?

The network management systems market has crossed $9.3 billion in 2022; by the end of 2027, it will reach over $14.6 billion. 

Plus, one hour of downtime can cost enterprises up to $5 million. This is the #1 reason enterprises need NOCs — to gain visibility on network components and their performance to keep track of potential issues. 

Besides, there are other benefits of NOCs. They are: 

  • full-cycle management of network software
  • antivirus support in sync with the enterprise’s security team
  • monitoring of network health 
  • network continuity during problem resolution
  • mitigation of security issues

How do NOCs work?

Two primary activities carried out in NOCs include:

  • monitoring, and 
  • event management

Other than this, NOCs also look after traffic analysis, fraud detection, network configuration, and diagnosis. 

While monitoring a network system, a NOC looks for configuration issues that need immediate attention. These issues are then presented to the concerned parties as detailed reports. 

These issues are usually changes in the state of the network system or “events”. These events are analyzed for applying corrective measures, and a response is then generated to rectify them.

The entire process is divided into a chunk of tasks that primarily involve:

  • installation, patching, and troubleshooting of network software
  • controlling, reporting, and assuring network quality
  • changes in infrastructure
  • network performance management
  • threat detection, analysis, and prevention 
  • storing and securing data for holistic accessibility
  • communication and email management

The working of NOCs also depends on the types of services rendered. 

Types of NOCs

You may avail of two types of NOCs based on your organization’s size or network requirements:

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  • In-house NOCs
  • Outsourced NOCs

If you’re establishing an in-house NOC, you’d need enormous resources to manage the center and the team behind its operations. Some critical tasks will include creating SOPs, training and skill development, collaboration with the staff, and evaluating their performance. So it’s worth it only if you’re an enterprise in the tech or communications sector. 

But an outsourced NOC is your best option if you want to save costs and some leg work. Ensure you’re working with a trusted vendor, though. This will also save you the stress of onboarding and managing an in-house team. In addition, the NOC will extend your current workforce so you can focus on the core operations while service providers look after your enterprise’s infrastructure. 

The different forms of NOC implementation

We will focus on three forms in this post. 

  1. Enterprise NOCs

The most common form of NOC implementation we’ve discussed so far is the Enterprise NOC. Here, NOCs are all about managing an enterprise’s internal infrastructure. 

So here, you’ll probably hire an in-house team to facilitate smooth network operations in your enterprise. The team will include dedicated NOC engineers responsible for ensuring high network availability and prompt issue resolution. 

  1. Internet Service Provider (ISP) NOCs

Another form of NOC is ISP implementation. These NOCs monitor network infrastructure for ISPs, removing hiccups in the working of various network devices like servers, routers, switches, etc. 

In addition, ISP NOCs will also integrate with your customer support operations keeping the network issues away from impacting the quality of customer service. 

  1. Managed Service Provider (MSP) NOCs

If your business revolves around providing managed IT services to your clients, MSP NOCs are your best bet. These NOCs enable smooth network operations for your clients, no matter if they are small or mid-sized businesses.  

Simply put, MSP NOCs manage your clients’ IT infrastructure — from securing networks and providing maintenance to troubleshooting and issue resolutions. 

Just like you ensure end-to-end management of IT services to your clients, MSP NOCs add their support to the network infrastructure. 

Invest in the right NOC to improve network infrastructure

Enterprise or not, every organization needs a full-fledged NOC to ensure the smooth functioning of its infrastructure. However, its fruitful utilization lies in determining if you need an in-house team or a third-party service provider. 

While both offer end-to-end network management functionalities, the resources required for successful implementation differ. And that’s where your company size, budget, and capabilities come into the picture. Choose your NOC wisely!

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