A network operations center, or NOC (pronounced like the word “knock”), helps keep your business’s valuable digital infrastructure online, functioning and secure.
A NOC is typically staffed around the clock by skilled technicians and staff members who supervise and manage things like:
- Transport service (wireline, 4G/5G networks and carrier routers)
- Network equipment (firewall, routers, switches and interfaces, AP devices, IP/SNMP connected equipment and servers)
- Network equipment health via SNMP related polling (API cloud controller access, CPU usage, bandwidth usage and hardware internal temperature)
What’s the Value of a NOC?
The primary value of a NOC is avoiding unplanned network downtime, which can be incredibly costly. More uptime typically means more business.
Here’s just one example: According to Gartner, network downtime costs can run up to $5,600 per minute. Consider the average cost of each transaction you lose when your network isn’t functioning—that’s only the beginning of the hard and soft costs associated with downtime.
Outages also require significant staff to resolve (often more than six full-time employees), which, in turn, increases labor costs.
On the contrary, a reliable NOC means you can rely on fewer internal IT staff to achieve the same high-quality network functions, decreasing longer-term business expenditures.
How Does a NOC Fit Into My Business?
While small businesses may not utilize a NOC, enterprise businesses usually rely on the services of a NOC through their managed services provider (MSP).
NOCs are vital to proactive health monitoring of large networks and are an important defense against threats. Any large or multi-site business without the massive internal IT resources needed to support an internet outage can benefit from a NOC’s services.
What Makes a Good NOC?
It’s important to understand the benefits a NOC offers your MSP. Below are some qualities representative of a high-quality NOC.
- Either internally managed by your MSP, or has a longstanding relationship with the MSP with which it’s associated.
- Fast response times.
- Proactive monitoring, not just reactive steps in the event of an emergency.
- 24/7 trained staff.
- A full suite of management protocols, including SNMP, ICMP and Radius / TACACS.
- PCI compliance.
- A robust and easy-to-use portal.
- A point of contact who truly cares about your business and adds value at every turn.
- Regular communication to discuss IT tickets and identify problematic trends, give account-related feedback, and provide business reviews.
Want to be sure you’re getting top-quality service from your NOC? Ask these questions when you’re vetting providers:
- Can you explain the SLA deliverables? How do they save us money?
- What are your availability targets and MTTR (mean time to recovery) targets?
- What kind of reporting is available to provide additional insight into our network?
- How often will you deliver and review reporting with me?
- Can you describe how user-friendly your portal is? Can I demo it?
- How does ticketing work within the portal? What can I expect in terms of responsiveness?
Ask Additional NOC-Related Questions Here
The experts at Vector Security Networks are standing by to answer your questions about NOCs. Our vast experience with enterprises across the country inform every helpful conversation we have with curious business owners and IT professionals like you.