A Network Operations Center (NOC) is a central location where IT technicians directly support RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) software efforts. NOC teams are widely used in managed IT services and a great service delivery driver for many Managed Services Providers (MSPs).
These technical teams monitor the endpoints they monitor and manage, independently resolve problems that occur, and take preventative measures to ensure that many problems do not occur. NOC teams are also heavily involved in high-level security and backup and disaster recovery (BDR) measures to ensure the availability of an MSP client at all times.
What are Responsibilities and Roles of a NOC Technician?
NOC engineers and technicians are responsible for monitoring the integrity, security and capacity of the infrastructure in the customer’s environment. They make decisions and adjustments to ensure the optimal performance of the network/network technician and the productivity of the organisation.
When any MSP action or intervention is required, NOC technicians can create alerts (or “tickets”) that identify and categorise the problem according to severity, type of signal and other criteria. Depending on the relationship between NOC and MSP, technical teams can work together to solve the problem (and identify its root cause to avoid future issues).
Technicians are classified according to the “levels”, which indicate the severity and difficulty of the problems they face. The levels are numbered 1 (more comfortable to solve, minor issues) and increase the capacity of more complicated IT problems. For example, in the case of a hardware failure, you can first assign an alert to a Level 1 technician. However, after further inspection, if the problem exceeds the failed hardware, the ticket can be sent to a technician of Level 2 or Level 3.
Additional NOC features include:
- Application software installations, troubleshooting, and upgrade
- Email Management Services
- Backup and storage management
- Network Discovery and Assessments
- Policy Enforcement
- Firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS) monitoring and management
- Antivirus Scanning and Correction
- Patch Management and Whitelist
- Shared threat analysis
- Quality of Service Optimization and Reporting
- Voice and video traffic management
- Performance report and improvement recommendations
The silent association
By operating at peak efficiency with a managed IT service partner, an end-user does not even notice the presence of NOC. NOC technicians coordinate only with the MSP or solution provider they support, never directly with an end customer. This creates a user experience in which MSP can provide world-class support and troubleshooting without problems with seemingly unlimited capabilities.
At home vs Outsourced
The fixed labour and infrastructure costs of building an internal NOC, SOC, our helpdesk team are often too much to cover and maintain a profitable and growing business. Even with the entire team, it would not be possible to change to meet the peaks and valleys of demand while simultaneously preparing for the daily IT tasks that must be accomplished.
Instead, the MSP should consider partnering with an external NOC that can handle most of the technical work that must be done in a growing MSP practice. Instead of a difficult to manage the internal operation, NOC acts as an extension of the existing MSP workforce, leaving a core technical team focused on high-value projects and high return on investment.
Solve the skills gap and scale with a NOC
Given the shortage of skilled, skilled and experienced technicians capable of handling Level 1–3 (known as the IT skills gap), using a NOC is a more efficient and economical option than hiring climbing technicians. Given the skills gap, for many MSPs, it is extremely difficult or simply impossible to provide their technical staff with the right skills to grow their business profitably. And given the high demand from these technicians, the right technicians have a salary that has also risen proportionately, which makes it even harder to profit margins when trying to hire large-scale employees.
However, Externetworks NOC bridges the skill gap by offering all the features an MSP would need in its technical staff for a fixed fee each month. And as the MSP business grows, more features will be added to the scale, protecting MSP margins and delivering 24x7x365 results.