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What is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?

A network operations center (NOC) is an important component of a company that allows it to monitor its computer network efficiently. NOCs can help companies evaluate the performance of their hardware and software and identify areas of their digital services that may benefit from revision or improvement. Understanding what an NOC is can help business leaders determine whether they want to establish one within their organization.

What is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?

A network operations center (NOC) is a centralized place from which enterprise information technology (IT) administrators — either internal or third party — supervise, monitor, and maintain a telecommunications network.

Large enterprises with extensive networks and commercial network service providers typically have a NOC (pronounced “knock”). It is usually a room equipped with devices that provide visualizations of the network or networks being monitored — workstations at which the detailed status of the network can be seen and software for network management.

For such organizations, the NOC acts as the nervous system to manage and optimize business-critical tasks, like network troubleshooting, software distribution and updating, router, and domain name management, performance monitoring, and coordination with affiliated networks.

network operations center

How does NOC work?​

Internet traffic logs and monitors are monitored and controlled by Network Operations Center (NOC) staff. They may also deal with customer service technologies such as invoicing, audio, etc. To overcome shortcomings in customer experience, the Network Operations Center may interface with clients’ internet protocols. As a result, the NOC is critical to enhancing the business’s customer focus and, as a result, increasing customer interaction.

The Network Operations Center serves as the company’s primary line of protection in addition to network protection, allowing it to analyze cyber security and notice and respond to any attacks or networking interruptions.

However, the Network Operations Center is crucial in ensuring continuous network connectivity and, as a result, financial and operating sustainability for the company.

Numerous organizations construct their Network Operations Center on-premises inside existing network infrastructure. Many companies may subcontract NOC operations to a third-party provider, particularly if they have a remote IT workforce, a basic communications infrastructure, or repeat IT optimization techniques. 3rd party NOCs are independent firms; usually, professional service operators provide technical assistance relating to IT equipment and traffic analysis, supervisory, and administration, sometimes as a remote server.

Why organizations use Network Operations Center

Industries like telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing, and the energy sector operate around the clock and need reliable, constant connectivity. Maintaining this modern state of 24-7 global operations requires continuous network monitoring. This can make network services challenging to manage within traditional IT services. NOCs do this monitoring for organizations, quickly dealing with issues that could impact network performance, such as identifying malware and managing the volume of users and website traffic. They also seek to optimize the network by performing updates and maintenance and improving network performance.

Ideally, an NOC team is operating behind the scenes without the end user ever being aware of the work they’re doing. If a NOC is functioning properly, the end user will have a seamless, continuously connected experience without issues such as prolonged downtime, malware infection, or poor network functionality.

What are NOC benefits?​

The Network Operations Center is the workhouse of any company related to telecommunication where they can see their network and bindings and take the initiative procedure. Through such activity, NOC plays excellent importance in the customer service of any company.

Here are some benefits of NOC:

  • NOC Saves Time and Effort: Organizations’ IT departments may concentrate on company growth operations. The majority of businesses would not fully utilize IT Security capabilities. They put effort into getting them to conduct procedures that can be delegated, allowing them to focus on more important responsibilities. Risk analysis, data storage, and application investigation can be transferred to an organization’s network.
  • Enhance Security Management Capability: The administration of a company’s network and security technology following current policies. Servers, ports, gateways, and filters are among the technologies supported. The Ethernet over Coax (EOC) manages security through issuing credentials, modifying rules, cyber security, and social threads, among other things.
  • Incident Management: Monitoring Network incidents that occur in the Network Operation Centers where the security professionals take action against incidents. Some automated network optimization tools help protect against hacking in many cases.
  • NOC Reduces Costs: A Network Operation Center reduces the cost of overall network security management. The equipment could be costly and non-optimized to the configuration without a dedicated place for security management. So, the Network Operations Center helps optimize the structure and reduces the cost of network management.

network operations center

NOC vs SOC

A SOC, or security operations center, is often designed and staffed very much like NOCs, but normally only concentrates on cybersecurity issues. Like an NOC, the IT staffers working at a SOC constantly monitor their network. But instead of troubleshooting typical computer problems, they look for threats. This might be something subtle like a hacker who has stolen credentials trying to elevate their access, or something more overt like a denial of service attack. Some of the most highly trained SOC workers even engage in threat hunting, where they go out into the network and look for threats or attacks that have not yet been discovered.

NOCs and SOCs can and often do work together. For example, sometimes it’s the NOC that detects unusual network activity and asks the SOC to help determine if a threat might be the cause. There was a time when NOCs and SOCs were often grouped together into a single facility with overlapping responsibilities. But the complexity of most networks today coupled with the extremely dangerous threat landscape makes having separate facilities and staff a much more effective approach.

Conclusion

The network operations center is one of the most important functional teams in IT. Every single day, you have internal and external customers relying on your IT services. You have SLAs (service level agreements) to meet, core business productivity to enable, and your customers’ entire digital experience to maintain.

It’s important to have a NOC capable of preventing catastrophic outages and maximizing the uptime of all IT services. Many organizations have an NOC but may struggle to keep it fully staffed, properly trained, and well-equipped with the best tools and automation. Organizations that cannot maintain an effective NOC may have more success with third-party service vendors, also known as managed service providers.

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