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What to Look for in a NOC Service

Oct 10, 2016 | Milestone | Network Services
What to Look for in a NOC Service

Keeping pace with information traffic is no easy task, and operating your business’ IT infrastructure can often keep you from driving your core business strategies. When your business is hindered by significant technical issues, ticket rate volume, or IT operations issues, it’s time to consider leveraging a Network Operations Center (NOC) service to operate your business’ infrastructure. So, how do you find the right NOC for your business, and what criteria should businesses look for in a NOC service? While it’s important that every business honestly assess its budget and needs, the following three traits are crucial when it comes to selecting a NOC Service:

Integration

At its core, a NOC service employs an automated platform that includes integrated performance monitoring, alert management, service quality management, and service management systems. Several layers of engineers—supported by continuous monitoring—help your business acknowledge, respond, and implement solutions to technical issues. The combination reduces the impact of these technical issues to your infrastructure and customers. The structured, proactive monitoring and operations of your infrastructure is the cornerstone of any NOC service, and will ultimately help improve your business’ efficiency, reduce operational costs, and improve customer satisfaction. But for a NOC service to truly be an effective asset to your business, it must do more than just integrate with your data—it should also integrate with your business as a whole. A truly effective NOC is defined not only by its operation platforms, but also by a mutual investment in your business’ success.

The trust fostered by this partnership allows you to concentrate on your business’ core services while your NOC operates your infrastructure. Simply put: a NOC service should be vested in your business’ goals by being devoted to your infrastructure’s health.

Proactive Focus

Imagine your business is a pipeline through which all of your data moves. As more and more traffic passes through this pipeline, it becomes clogged. When you attempt to clear the clog, you encounter an overwhelming amount of content to sift through. How do you begin prioritizing issues? How do you reduce the amount of traffic going through the pipeline? The key to solving these issues—and a key facet of an effective NOC—is proactive monitoring.

An effective NOC service challenges the break/fix model by focusing on Root Cause Analytics (RCA). In other words, a NOC should do more than simply respond to infrastructure alerts. By monitoring and analyzing your data in real-time, NOC engineers can begin to locate patterns in your data that potentially identify the sources of reoccurring issues, reducing their impact on your infrastructure and customers. A NOC using RCA can implement solutions that affect the problem, instead of responding to each symptom individually. As problems are identified and resolved, new operational baselines are established. This approach continually reduces the problem set and allows for faster identification and resolution of the next set of issues. A strong NOC service strives to be proactive at ensuring smooth operations and allowing your business to focus on growth.

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Scalability

Finally, consider how a potential NOC’s structure might grow with your business. An effective NOC should utilize a tiered-response system to distribute workloads efficiently in order to address your business’ fluctuating system needs. By stratifying the workload, an efficient NOC service allows each tier of its engineers to concentrate on managing specific portions of your infrastructure. For example, while one tier manages incidents, another analyzes the state of your network, and yet another implements change. This layered structure streamlines a NOC service’s workflow, and bolsters its ability to integrate and proactively manage your infrastructure.

Finding the Right Fit

Every business has unique requirements for a healthy infrastructure, so it’s important to consider the specific needs of your company when selecting your NOC provider. Ultimately, the role of a NOC service is to help your company run more efficiently while you concentrate on driving your core business strategies. If your company needs support that moves beyond the break/fix model, look for a NOC service that is able to integrate with your network, establish healthy operational baselines, proactively monitor for abnormalities, and grow in conjunction with your business. For more information on the benefits of NOC services, visit our NOC webpage.

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