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Has Your NOC Let You Down?

Network Operations Centers face tough challenges in today’s business climate.

Chris Joseph
Post by Chris Joseph Aug 06, 2020

You are not alone. Your IT counterparts are scrambling to handle the constant issues hitting their networks. Sadly, it’s our new reality living in a COVID-induced world.

NOC technician

So what changed? Companies of all sizes immediately shifted to “remote work” mandates. Most were unprepared for the enormity of COVID’s impact on businesses. Facebook, Twitter, Nationwide Insurance, and even Walmart announced measures of allowing employees to work permanently from their homes.

As a result, employees are working outside the managed and secure confines of the corporate infrastructure. This has challenged existing networks and operations more than we first imagined. Time and resources are now spent on the day-to-day grind of monitoring data. Additionally, investigating issues originating from thousands of remote-employee locations can become a chore.

Under normal conditions (pre-COVID), the physical NOC operates as a finely tuned and integrated system. NOC engineers work together in central war-rooms filled with multiple monitors and solutions feeding network traffic. Critical incidents arise and engineers immediately investigate, triage, and remediate issues.

Read Blog | 13 Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Virtual NOC

A shift to remote work has teams working independently under a new model, the remote NOC. Engineers work from distributed locations facing challenges of limited tools and monitoring capabilities. Gaps occur due to the absence of backup personnel to actively monitor traffic, alerts, and incidents. Collaboration breaks down as traffic loads increase exponentially.

Based on internal analysis, 70% of enterprises are struggling with Remote NOC. Their top concerns focus in the following areas:

1. Lack of on-demand visibility

NOC teams lose sight of traffic from applications in the cloud or increased locations to track. This can result in blind spots where parts of the infrastructure are not being monitored.

2. Struggles with productivity and collaboration

Engineers struggle with insufficient or lack of tools to do their job. They miss the daily interaction and collaboration with their team.

3. Fear of unsecured access

Security concerns rise with the increase of a distributed workforce outside protected company walls. Employees access corporate networks from unsecured public areas or refrain from using VPN or two-factor authentication. Data protection is also at risk.

4. Reduction in NOC efficiencies and reliability

Lack of a scalable NOC solution when transitioning from Physical NOC to Remote NOC lends to operations inefficiencies.

5. Facing budget constraints

In order to meet the NOC demands, requests for additional tools and headcount increase despite spending freezes and budget reductions.

The reality is running today’s Enterprise has magnified IT operations challenges by 10X.

remote workers

As remote workers tap into company networks, the number of alerts increases significantly. The noise accelerates. Infrastructures with no AIOps or misconfigured AIOps send engineers pouring through multiple alerts of a similar nature to later discover common links. The manual process becomes tedious, time-consuming and errors crop up.

With the increase in alerts and triage, it takes longer to respond and remediate issues. A service or application incident creates a rush of service calls. Customers are impacted and relationships need to be rebuilt.

Know How to Setup a Virtual NOC

As enterprises maintain or scale their infrastructures, network operations tend to lag. Visibility into hybrid networks or cloud applications gets missed which can later be critical.

Trust and credibility of your network operations take a toll as customers and business users notify NOC teams of issues and outages. NOC engineers should be the first-to-know of major incidents and lead the notification process.

So how do network operations even begin to address these challenges? Many organizations find short-term fixes in order to manage their day-to-day work. We have seen band-aid approaches which has its limitations. Especially with companies planning or executing an IT overhaul or digital transformation.

In our next blog, we’ll provide alternative approaches to running efficient and resilient network operations. And to learn more, visit our Virtual NOC  page.

Chris Joseph

About the Author

Chris Joseph

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