Network vs Security Operation Centers

When you are running a large-scale network with a lot of users, it becomes necessary to coordinate that network from a central location. Such a central location is normally called an operation center, and there are two kinds of them. Some of them are focused on network performance while others are more security-minded. If you are planning to set up something like this, it is important to know the facts.

What Is A Network Operation Center?

A network operation center (or NOC) serves as a central hub where technicians and others can monitor and service the network. The NOC is not focused on any one particular area but is instead a general-purpose control center. From here, all aspects of the network are visible and conglomerated. This makes it a lot easier to make changes, do updates, and fix any problems that may be found.

As we said, any large multi-user network should have a NOC. Without one of these, you are completely dependent upon your internet service provider (and possibly other third-party companies) to detect and fix your network issues. Even if you do have a dedicated IT team, the lack of a centralized location will definitely hamper their efficiency. No matter what you are trying to do, it really is more convenient to control the network from a place like this.

Those who work in a network operation center will be focused mainly upon the task of keeping the network running. In a business setting, network outages can cripple operations for hours, days, or even weeks at a time. Needless to say, that represents a lot of lost revenue. The prevention of downtime and the maximization of uptime will be the first priority of a good NOC team.

What Is A Security Operation Center?

A security operation center (SOC) is very similar to a network operation center. It is used to monitor the network and to service/update that network when necessary. It also serves as a central access point from which security measures and features can be tweaked for maximum efficiency. Yes, a skilled group of technicians could do all of these things without a SOC, but why would you want them to work in a less efficient manner?

SOC rooms are not as universally preferred as their NOC counterparts. This is because not everyone needs to put that much emphasis on security. A network that isn’t really handling any sensitive data will not need a dedicated security outpost. Also, basic network security can be handled from the NOC room, allowing it to duplicate the functions of the SOC (to a certain extent). You will have to decide if your organization’s risk factor is high enough to warrant the use of a security-specific operation center.

The best thing about the SOC is its ability to provide constant network monitoring. Diligent and constant monitoring is one of the best ways to prevent network intrusion and data theft. By watching all the data that flows across the network, cybersecurity professionals can often see the telltale signs of a cyber-attack. For instance, an attacker who wishes to steal personal data will have to find a way to transfer that data from your network to another one. If your SOC people are paying attention, they should be able to detect that suspicious traffic and cut it off at the source.

Should You Be Using Both An NOC And An SOC?

Both of these things are used for network monitoring and control. The only real difference is the fact that one of them is focused on security while the other is focused on network performance. It is important that the people who work in both these operation centers understand that fact. You don’t want your NOC people to waste their time with security monitoring (for instance), just as you would not want your SOC people to deal with minor network outages.

To that end, it is important to distribute your people properly. Your best security people should be on the SOC team (of course), but not necessarily all of them. The NOC team needs at least one or two competent security analysts, even if their skills will be of secondary importance. If nothing else, this will help the NOC team to recognize security threats and pass those concerns on to the more security-focused team.

However, not all businesses can afford to run both a NOC and a SOC. The operating costs can add up quickly and the use of two operation centers will double those costs. Still, these costs are paltry when you consider just how much money you could lose as a result of a security breach or extended network outage.

Conclusion

As you can see, the difference between these two things is very simple. One of them is focused on performance while the other is focused strictly on matters of security. Obviously, there is some cross-over in the duties performed by both of these operation center types, but it should be very little. To do otherwise will create redundancy and that is never the efficient option. If you would like to know more, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.