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A network operations center, or NOC (pronounced “knock”), is a centralized location where IT technicians directly support the efforts of remote monitoring and management (RMM) software. NOC teams are heavily utilized in the managed IT services space, and a tremendous driver of service delivery for many managed services providers (MSPs).
These technical teams keep a watchful eye over the endpoints that they monitor and manage, independently resolving issues are they arise and taking preventative steps to ensure many issues do not occur. NOC teams are also heavily involved in high-level security actions and backup and disaster recovery (BDR) efforts, ensuring 24x7x365 uptime for an MSP’s customers.
WHAT ARE THE ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES OF A NOC TECHNICIAN?
NOC engineers and technicians are responsible for monitoring infrastructure health, security and capacity on a clients’ environment. They make decisions and adjustments to ensure optimal network performance and organizational productivity.
When any action or intervention from the MSP is required, NOC technicians can create alerts (or “tickets”) that identify and categorize the issue based on severity, alert type and other criteria. Depending on the relationship between the NOC and the MSP, technical teams can then work together to resolve the problem (and identify its root cause to prevent future issues).
Technicians are categorized based on “levels,” which indicate the severity and difficulty of issues they handle. Levels are numbered from 1 (easier problems to solve, minor issues) and increase in their ability the most complicated of IT issues. For example, in the case of a hardware failure, an alert may be assigned to a Level 1 technician at first. However, upon further inspection, if the problem goes beyond the failed hardware, the ticket may be escalated to a Level 2 or Level 3 technician.
NOC techs constantly research anomalous activities on the network, make technical adjustments, and can marshal extensive resources—some that would only be used rarely by an in-house IT services provider—to respond to emergency situations.
Additional NOC capabilities include:
Application software installations, troubleshooting, and updating
Email management services
Backup and storage management
Network discovery and assessments
Firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS) monitoring and management
Antivirus scanning and remediation
Patch management and whitelisting
Shared threat analysis
Optimization and quality of service reporting
Voice and video traffic management
Performance reporting and improvement recommendations