What Is An NOC?
The term “NOC” refers to a network operations center. As you might guess from the name, this is basically the heart and center of an IT management plan. The NOC is a place where the network can be monitored 24 hours a day and 7 days a week by qualified technicians. Apart from the obvious security benefits, a network operations center helps your network to stay updated at all times and offers assistance to anyone suffering technical difficulties.
Should I Outsource My NOC?
As with most other online services, there are third-party companies that offer off-site NOCs. These businesses seem to be more frequent than ever, which indicates that their services are in high demand. Of course, your in-house IT team (if you have one) has probably established a network operations center. Before you replace your in-house team with an outsourced one, there are a few things that you need to consider.
Costs And Scaling
As you might imagine, the creation and maintenance of an in-house NOC are pretty large. Apart from the obvious things like servers and routers, you will also need to provide your staff with all the tools and training to use it properly. Because of this, many smaller companies find that it is more cost-effective to go with an outsourced approach.
There is also something to be said for consistency. An in-house NOC might incur all sorts of unforeseen expenses. For instance, servers and other equipment will need to be updated from time to time. As your business grows, the scale of your NOC will also have to grow. This means that it is a little bit difficult to predict your monthly and yearly expenses from an in-house NOC setup. With an outsourced approach, on the other hand, you have roughly the same expenses every month.
It would be hard to underestimate the importance of network monitoring. Things like antivirus software, firewalls, and even encryption can all be circumvented by a capable attacker. Sure, these things do provide important barriers that keep out most threats, but the biggest threats will likely find ways to go through or around them. Because of this, the only way to fully secure any computer network is through constant and careful monitoring.
The internet consists entirely of information, and this information comes in a standard form. They exist as small files commonly called “packets.” These packets are constantly flying all over cyberspace, and are the main mechanism by which computers exchange data with one another. Obviously, a data thief can potentially intercept these packets and steal large amounts of information over time. Thankfully, network monitoring tools make it relatively easy to detect any packet loss and trace it to the source.
So, which is the more secure approach? To be honest, it depends on the IT team involved. If your NOC provider is competent, experienced, and attentive to detail, you can expect a high level of security. If not, you can expect a low level of security. The same is true of in-house teams, and so this one would seem like a draw. However, there are some inherent security advantages in an off-site model, so we would have to say that the outsourced model is probably more secure overall.
For many businesses, productivity is the bottom line. They want their products to be spread as widely as possible, and the internet has a lot to do with that. Right away, we can see that the outsourced model has one big advantage: It allows your IT workers to concentrate on more important matters.
When you go with an outsourced NOC approach, you don’t necessarily have to get rid of your in-house team. You will have the option to shed a few of your less essential IT staff, but you can keep your best people for disaster response and in-person support. Network monitoring is only truly effective when used on a 24/7 basis, so this kind of thing really should have a dedicated crew. Putting those responsibilities on your normal IT workers will just bog them down.
Compliance can be a huge pitfall, as there are lots of rules and regulations to be followed. As data privacy becomes a larger and larger concern, it is reasonable to assume that more laws and regulations will be put into place. It can be confusing to keep up with all of these things, and breaking these rules can result in some very expensive fines.
From a compliance standpoint, the outsourced approach has one big upside: It allows you to outsource some of the responsibility. If your NOC provider isn’t following all the appropriate rules, you are less likely to be held accountable. Your legal risks are not eliminated, but they should be reduced. Not only that, but the costs of compliance will also be put in the hands of someone else.
The Importance Of A Good SLA
If you choose to go with an outsourced NOC, you should follow the same common-sense precautions that you would normally follow when choosing a business partner. You want to make sure that the terms of service are firmly understood and that they meet your expectations. For a managed service provider offering NOC services, the best way to do that is a service-level agreement (SLA).
The main thing is to make sure that your SLA has mechanisms for accountability. Your NOC provider will make certain guarantees, and they should be penalized if those guarantees are not met. For instance, if you experience more downtime than that which is allowed in the SLA contract, you might receive a reduced rate.
In the end, this is a choice that will need careful evaluation. You don’t want to rush into anything, as that is an easy way to get bad results. We hope that this short article has given you a better idea of how things work and that it has prepared you for the decision you must make. If so, we hope that you will fill out the contact form below to receive more of our work.