The IT world is full of acronyms, one of which is NOC. We have already written about SOC, Security Operations Center, (read the blog text here), and NOC (Network Operations Center) is closely related to it.
The Network Operations Center, or control room, monitors the functionality of communication links, network devices, servers, workstations and customer systems. In practice, it ensures that everything is running as it should be. Whereas SOC monitors users and events, NOC ensures that nothing breaks or is about to break. NOC is used to ensure that the customer’s IT environment remains functional 24/7.
“I like to compare us to the fire brigade,” says Leo Milanovic, Network Operations Manager at Itaito. “Our team constantly monitors the alarm systems, and if there is an alarm, we do not hesitate to jump into the flames.” For example, if a server or system crashes, it will send an alarm to the NOC service centre, which immediately begins to investigate the cause of the failure and correct it, or transfers it to the right team of experts within the company.
We currently monitor thousands of systems, devices and servers and the number is constantly growing. It is clear that no team could carry out this kind of surveillance manually just with the help of the human eye. The alarms are filtered automatically and problems are also addressed automatically wherever possible. Our systems are capable of solving basic problems independently, and we are constantly developing our automation. Only the most demanding issues are solved with human resources. “This is definitely in the customer’s best interest. A computer works 24/7 and acts immediately, so the user may not even notice that there was a problem or that one was emerging. Having people conduct routine procedures also increases the possibility of human error – whereas the computer is precise and tireless,” Milanovic says.
Who could benefit from the NOC service? Practically anyone with network devices, communication links, servers, workstations or other IT systems – that is, anyone, regardless of the size or type of organisation. Companies with a work force of only a few people may also have extensive IT entities that need monitoring and maintaining. Companies may, of course, choose to monitor their systems and networks themselves or to set up a separate IT monitoring service through various partners and hope that all parts work together. However, this often means that some aspects of IT environment monitoring are neglected and only addressed when a problem emerges. In the worst-case scenario, it is then realised that the problem has existed for a long time and that the failure could have been prevented, but in the absence or lack of monitoring, it has gone undetected. Your IT environment is always monitored most efficiently when it is supervised by just one IT partner.
Monitoring systems constantly observe up to millions of individual targets: components, power supplies, fans, batteries, software running on virtual servers, databases and their content, network devices, online applications, cloud services… There is a lot to monitor and automation helps a lot. Itaito’s NOC service does the monitoring on behalf of the customer to ensure that IT systems run smoothly and can even proactively correct potential failure situations. “Our team works hard to improve the functionality of our customers’ IT environments and to optimise them in advance without the customer necessarily noticing anything. For example, we work to continuously improve the data security of workstations by ensuring that our antivirus products are as comprehensive as possible. We try to anticipate all potential threats before they emerge, whether it is a data security issue, component breakage or system failure,” says Milanovic.
Statistics, which are constantly being analysed in NOC, also help in this anticipation. The NOC centre collects a lot of data from various systems and their functioning in different situations. Based on this information, we can often solve our customers’ problems proactively instead of waiting for the same problem to emerge with one customer after another in a similar situation.
And if a customer wants to carry out the monitoring themselves, that too is possible. In this case, Itaito will provide the customer with its own monitoring tools and give the customer IDs for the system. The customer will then monitor its own network and submit separate service requests to Itaito when necessary.
“It may be difficult for the customer to see all the work done at the NOC centre when no problems emerge. Upon request, we give the customer IDs for the system, and they can go and view all the alarms generated by the system and monitor the way they are resolved. The data produced by the system is also reviewed in service meetings with the customer, which increases transparency. For example, we can easily check from the system whether the resources used by the server are at an appropriate level or if additional resources are needed. Transparency is an important value to us anyway, we always want to make sure we act in a way that is worthy of our customer’s trust,” Milanovic says.
The Itaito NOC Centre employs four experts whose job it is to ensure that all networks and systems function on behalf of our customers. If you have any questions about the functionality of your communication links, network devices, servers, workstations or IT systems, please contact us.