Benefits of outsourcing your network operations center

| By:
Walter Clarke

Growth possibilities are exciting. But there’s a lot to consider as you work to scale your managed service provider (MSP) business, from expanding sales and marketing to developing a compelling suite of services to hiring the right technicians.

Scaling up means taking on more clients. With more clients come more endpoints to monitor, patches to deploy, tickets to close, and other logistical challenges that may impinge upon the time and resources of a rapidly growing MSP.

To manage these and other tasks, MSPs sometimes opt to partner with an outsourced network operations center (NOC)

Outsourced NOC services are an extension of an MSP’s in-house team — one that complements your existing technicians’ skills, empowers your business to hire intelligently, allows for focus on priority issues and clients, and, ultimately, grants room to grow smartly. 

What is an outsourced NOC?

NOC stands for network operations center, a centralized location from which third-party IT professionals monitor, manage, and maintain a company's network infrastructure, including: 

  • Servers 
  • Routers
  • Switches
  • Other networking equipment

In addition to 24/7 network infrastructure monitoring, a NOC is responsible for: 

  • Responding to alerts and incidents
  • Managing and updating network devices
  • Performing regular maintenance tasks

By outsourcing NOC operations, MSPs can reduce the costs associated with maintaining an in-house NOC. Furthermore, outsourced NOC monitoring provides access to a team of experienced IT professionals with specialized knowledge and expertise in managing complex network environments amid internal talent droughts. 

However, it's important to carefully evaluate potential outsourcing partners to ensure that they have the necessary expertise and resources needed to effectively manage your client’s network infrastructure. 

Benefits of an outsourced NOC

The benefits of outsourcing your network operations center are many: 

Manage more client endpoints

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools and the smart use of automation help technicians manage clients’ networks more easily. But the rise of remote work means more endpoints that require monitoring, which means more work for a smaller or busy MSP team.

And to be clear, day-to-day endpoint monitoring is no small job. It involves a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Responding to client tickets for routine matters, such as password resets
  • Updating and patching software 
  • Responding to and triaging alerts
  • Removing viruses and other malware
  • Scanning networks for IT asset discovery
  • Installing agents on new devices as they join the network
  • Checking configurations
  • Reviving downed servers or other IT infrastructure

An outsourced NOC can more easily conduct these endpoint monitoring and management activities than the average MSP can alone. A strong NOC will integrate with your RMM to ensure all activity is captured and tracked. And, with 24x7 support, they ensure that endpoints are monitored at all times. This is hugely important in today’s digital landscape, as unmonitored endpoints — which proliferate lately — present security gaps hackers can slip through.

Take care of routine tasks quickly

MSPs can handle the above tasks for clients. But if you spend too much time on such manual tasks rather than on high value, high paying work, it eventually eats into your margins. NOCs offer a bit of financial elbow room without sacrificing top-tier client services. 

In fact, outsourcing is as good for your client as it is for you. Outsourcing routine tasks — such as responding to tickets — to a good NOC reduces the time it takes to resolve client requests. ConnectWise RMM’s NOC feature reduces resolution times by 40 percent and brings MSP workloads down by 30 percent. With the ability to handle 90% of commonly issued tickets, you’re operating at peak efficiency, and clients notice things like that.

Less client downtime

For many client organizations, even the slightest period of downtime can have serious ramifications for their operations. NOCs help in this regard by handling the following dimensions of network security: 

  • 24/7 monitoring
  • Early detection
  • Rapid response
  • Preventive maintenance

By partnering with a NOC, an MSP delegates the above to dedicated professionals, granting the ability to respond faster in a downtime scenario. This means that threats are caught sooner, issues resolved more quickly, and network security measures modulated as the ever-evolving world of cybercrime demands. All of these factors reduce client downtime in the aftermath of theft or system corruption. 

Another essential component of minimizing downtime is having a strong fundamental backup and disaster recovery strategy. Outsourced NOC services can support here as well. Check out our webinar to see how NOC services can be a backup game changer

Overcome gaps in skills and staffing

Every MSP can speak to the challenges of hiring and training a team. It can be difficult to find and retain the right employees. And even with a great team in place, technology evolves quickly — sometimes too quickly for employees to catch up. 

While training and investing in technicians is an excellent way for MSPs to build a great culture and scale successfully, it’s impossible for everyone to know everything.

A NOC helps MSPs overcome these challenges. The right partner can take over routine, tedious tasks and close the skills gap by bringing in outsourced experts who can complement your team’s expertise. 

An outsourced network operations center can provide expert service around:

  • Complex network management tasks
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Advanced scripting and sequencing capabilities
  • Support for L1 and L2 services
  • Experienced agility in an unpredictable market

With a NOC on your side, you can expand access to the right skills, fill shortages in staffing, and ensure your clients get the best service, no matter what issues arise.

Invest where it has impact

Building an in-house NOC can be costly and time-consuming, both in terms of resources and training time. MSPs may want instead to invest their resources in other areas with higher business impact, rather than spending money developing a department they could pay less to outsource. 

By integrating an outsourced NOC with their RMM, MSPs can ensure high-quality service without the high price tag that comes with internal development. With the right pricing structure, a NOC becomes a predictable (and scalable) monthly cost.

Embracing an external network operations center for growth

A growth mindset is a key part of any successful MSP. Outsourcing NOC services is just one way to keep up with increased client demands without stretching your resources too thin. MSPs that join forces with an outsourced network operations center tap into efficiencies, free up in-house technician time, and expand their knowledge and expertise. Think about it like this: A NOC gives you access to experts who aren’t impeded by housekeeping tasks that take time away from what they do best. 

And with a NOC taking basic tasks off your plate, you have room for growth that you wouldn’t have otherwise, whether that’s using your bigger hiring budget or having your existing teams invest more time into professional development.

How to choose an outsourced NOC provider

Choosing the right NOC is an important decision that impacts your performance — and your client’s success. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an outsourced NOC provider:

  • Experience and expertise: Look for a NOC with a proven track record of managing complex network infrastructures and a team of experienced and certified engineers. Make sure they have experience working with your specific type of network infrastructure and that they have a deep understanding of your business needs.
  • Availability and response time: A NOC provider should be available 24/7/365 to provide support and rapid response to any issues that may arise. Look for a provider that has a guaranteed response time and service level agreement (SLA) that meets your clients’ needs.
  • Advanced monitoring tools and processes: A best-in-class NOC provider uses advanced monitoring tools and processes to proactively identify and resolve issues before they cause downtime. Look for a provider that uses the latest technologies and best practices in network monitoring and management.
  • Customization and flexibility: Look for a NOC provider that can customize its services to meet your needs. They should be flexible enough to adapt to changes in your clients’ network infrastructure and provide a personalized level of service that meets your unique requirements.
  • Cost-effective: Look for a NOC provider that offers cost-effective services that fit within your budget. They should be transparent about their pricing and provide a clear understanding of the services that are included in their fees.
  • Security: Ensure the NOC provider has robust security protocols in place to protect your client’s network infrastructure and data. They should have strict access controls, and secure data storage and transmission protocols.

Want to learn more about scaling your business with outsourced NOC? At ConnectWise, our combination MSP/NOC services can keep your network infrastructure safe and efficient. Watch a demo today to learn how intelligent RMM and NOC solutions can be a game-changer for your MSP.