Outsourced NOC Services Advantages and Disadvantages
In this day and age, nearly every business depends on IT infrastructure to deliver the products and services their revenue depends on. That makes the availability and performance of IT infrastructure a high-stakes game as even a minor disruption can have a huge impact on the bottom line.
Benefits of Outsourced Managed NOC Services
When it comes to maintaining high availability and top performance, your network operations center (NOC) plays a key role. NOCs ensure stability, security and functionality by continuously monitoring and maintaining your IT infrastructure. A capable and well-equipped NOC is absolutely essential to ensure a successful business outcome.
So why would you even think of outsourcing such an important and essential operational function? Let’s take a look at outsourced NOC services advantages and disadvantages and you’ll see that the benefits of engaging with a managed NOC service provider far outweigh the potential pitfalls.
Outsourced NOC Services Advantage #1: Financial Factors
For starters, it just makes financial sense. Running a NOC effectively means having to constantly keep up with the technology curve. NOC costs can increase exponentially when we’re talking about tools, processes and personnel. Monitoring tools, for example, need to be upgraded as newer technologies are deployed. And that’s accompanied by the need to constantly train technicians on the skills needed to understand and operate these systems.
For a small or midsize service provider or IT organization, setting up and operating an effective NOC is an expensive – and daunting – proposition. Establishing a NOC involves large financial outlays at the onset. Outsourcing NOC services has the benefit of making the NOC an ongoing OPEX expense, which conserves capital budget and lowers upfront cost impositions.
Running an in-house NOC involves hiring and maintaining specialists to provide the expertise needed. This detracts from the focus on your core business by tying up resources and funding that could instead be used to help you meet your strategic objectives.
Outsourced NOC Services Advantage #2: Business Focus
Another advantages to outsourcing your NOC services is that doing so allows you to focus on what you do best while still getting the high availability infrastructure that you need. It frees up your valuable IT resources to work on projects relevant to your business goals rather than spending their time chasing infrastructure issues. It also reduces administrative overhead and HR costs.
Managed service providers that provide NOC services are dedicated to the task at hand. They have the expertise, the toolset and the capabilities to deliver already in place. High availability NOC services are the focus of their business model. It’s what they do.
All this adds up to better response times and proactive support when it comes to dealing with infrastructure issues. The net result is a significant reduction in downtime and the revenue losses that can result.
Outsourced NOC Services Advantage #3: Scalability
Another big advantage of outsourcing your NOC is the ability to scale rapidly. As your business grows, your infrastructure needs evolve. An outsourced NOC can rapidly respond to your changing needs to accommodate growth spurts and support new business initiatives. Thanks to their experience and tech focus, they can be a lot more dynamic than in-house NOC support. They can speed your time-to-market as you bring new services and products to customers.
Potential Disadvantages of Outsourced NOC Services
On the flip side, there are also some disadvantages to outsourcing your NOC operations. For example. you are now dependent on a third party to exercise a key business function involving the upkeep of your core delivery infrastructure.
Finding the Right Outsourced NOC Service Provider
Most of the risk surrounding outsourced NOC services is based around finding the right service provider to work with. Since your NOC plays a key role in your ability to execute on a daily basis, the provider you choose is more of a business partner than just another service vendor.
It is absolutely essential that the service provider you partner with has the capability, the experience and the expertise to deliver on your needs. They must have a demonstrable track record. In addition to resolving your needs of the moment, make sure that they can support your strategic roadmap for the coming years.
Crafting a Comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA)
None of these partnership risks are trivial. In addition to the diligence and care with which you select your NOC managed service provider, a well-crafted service level agreement (SLA) can go a long way to mitigate potential issues. SLAs provide the basis for mutual understanding and set the expectations right up front. They define the scope of the services that are to be provided, what the performance of the services should be, how this performance can be measured and what the response time should be when issues arise. They are there to protect you.
Maintaining the Proper Level of Control
Another key factor is the level of control and participation you are willing to cede in the running of the NOC. It all comes down to the deployment models your outsourced NOC service provider can provide. The best providers are flexible and offer a range of responsibility sharing. Many service provider models will allow you to co-manage the NOC so that you have some level of visibility and control over their activities.
Make sure your prospective NOC service provider understands your needs – and don’t commit unless they have the ideal model for you.