What is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?
Posted: Jul 10, 2018
Network Operations Center – Definition
A network operations center (NOC) houses the equipment and personnel for monitoring a network of computers, servers, mobile devices and Internet of Things devices, aka smart devices from a centralized location. The NOC has the high-functional infrastructure with automatic alerts that notify technicians about the issues across the network. The overall function of a NOC is to maintain the network uptime with smooth & uninterrupted operations.
What do people monitor in a typical NOC?
NOC Engineer or NOC Technicians are accountable for maintaining 100% network uptime by monitoring network 24/7/365. They ensure the connectivity of an IT system is glitch-free so that the productivity& profitability of the business is not compromised. They are also responsible for monitoring every net flow, hop, server and endpoint attached to a Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) client networks.
- They keep a close eye on network’s infrastructure to ensure the system’s uptime is not compromised due to malware, network errors or other network related issues.
- They deal with the complex networks and troubleshoot if required by following the standard procedures.
- The high functional NOC help technicians in identifying problems across the network before it occurs.
Network Operations Center (NOC) Design: Best Practices
Below mentioned best practices are recommended by ExterNetworks to improve the overall effectiveness of the NOC design and to alleviate monitoring risks.
- Vendor Ticket Management: A Vendor ticketing system showcases all the information related to the open tickets such as priority task, urgent issues, the person who is handling the task, and the pending issues. It eases the daily routine work & also help in providing the best services to the customers.
- Incident Management: Identify the incident, find the underlying problem and fix it immediately to ensure the operation is running smoothly & the business is not affected.
- Standard Monitoring Policy: Define and implement standard monitoring policy & procedures for performance forecasting and capacity monitoring for Telecom network infrastructure.
- Root Cause Analysis: Use Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to identify root problems for performance improvement & easy connectivity.
- Documentation & Reporting: Track & document each and every issue to maintain a healthy knowledge base.
- Escalation: The roles & responsibilities with the appropriate designation is required for every employee working in a NOC. Sometimes the problems are too complex to be resolved by level-1 or level-2 engineers & thus the same need to be escalated to the higher management for assistance.
Managing a Network Operations Center (NOC) –
A typical Network Operations Center (NOC) employs NOC engineers & NOC technicians to monitor large computers & servers from a centralized location. Their duties include:
- Net flow, server, & endpoint monitoring
- Hardware & Software installation
- Network Analysis & Troubleshooting
- Monitor common threats, viruses & DOS attacks.
- Alarms handling & performance improvement
- Monitor power failures & system backups.
Many issues may arise that get in the way of optimal network function, dealing with these problems quickly and efficiently is the duty of the network engineer. Examples of these common issues include DDoS attacks, power outages, network crashes, and black-holes in routing.
A network operations center (NOC) may have personnel who install routers or software like firewalls, but they don’t function as a help desk. The IT help desk & NOC team are different and the terms cannot be used interchangeably. The Helpdesk deals directly with clients whereas the NOC team ensures the client’s uptime is maintained.
Business Services for Network Operations Centers (NOC’s)
In the 21st century, rather than hire an in-house team to monitor network performance, many companies outsource. They rely on managed service provider to monitor and respond to issues with their networks. These service providers may provide full life cycle support including design, deployment, and monitoring. These service providers still provide 24/7 network monitoring and local response. If you choose a business service, look no other than ExterNetworks – one destination for managed services with 15+ years of experience, with a history of happy clients and client list growth.
While they don’t sit at physical desks in your offices, a NOC service does provide real-time network management using the same performance monitoring by NOC engineers with monitors on their desk. Their desks just aren’t in your office. They provide a sensible solution for large networks to keep up an optimal performance of networks. These management services often contract with local professionals throughout the country to provide quick response to network failures, communication, line alarms and other performance issues that may affect regular operations. They save you money by working from a centralized location to handle monitoring and management of ongoing incidents and general network performance using their own equipment.
The duties of a Network Operations Center (NOC) remain the same regardless of its location. Some centers may observe larger networks, and some may include satellites or telecommunications equipment. Whether in-house or a business service, it provides a key piece in business continuity and security that successful businesses should not ignore.
Another money-saving item, their service plans, let you purchase only the services you need. The service plans are flexible and are available at per device per month plans as well.
Shravani Reddy is a IT Analyst and Staff Author at Fieldengineer.com which is an On-Demand Marketplace which connects businesses and freelance field engineers in telecom industry.