There’s still a lot of misconceptions about outsourcing. It’s mostly linked to the idea of offshoring, which is very different. Offshoring involves sending work from specific areas of your business to another country; for example, you could use an offshore operator to do design, content, accounting, or customer service. This model can work for many businesses, but it's not what we're examining here.
Outsourcing, in most cases, means giving remote third-party responsibility over things like your accounting, cleaning, or technical support. That company is in the same region as you; they're just not working out of your physical office. It's very likely that you already outsource for some services and network monitoring doesn't need to be any different. In partnering with a Network Operations Center (NOC), you are choosing to hire experts to take care of one specific need within your organization: network monitoring. Outsourcing can solve a variety of issues, and you can expect cost savings, increased productivity, assurance that software and technology are up-to-date, and a skilled NOC team dedicated to your success.
Despite the proven benefits of outsourcing NOC services, some skepticism remains. We’re debunking ten myths you might believe and could be limiting your IT department.
Myth #1 — Outsourcing Is Expensive
When it comes to the IT needs of your company, the scenarios in which doing it in-house is cheaper are rare. You will have to purchase equipment, buy software licenses and maintenance subscriptions, and pay for installation of this infrastructure. Then, you will need to hire and pay the salaries of a skilled IT team. That’s a lot of initial investment and time for something a third-party NOC offers as a baseline service.
Outsourcing is no longer the domain of just mid- to large-sized companies. More and more, operations of all sizes are outsourcing their IT needs to dedicated experts who will be committed to this one facet of your business and allow you to continue growing the rest.
Myth #2 — All NOCs Are the Same
This idea is not true at all. NOCs differ based on their company’s history and offerings. Some NOCs have developed as services offered by MSPs and ISPs, meaning that while they offer many different services, they may not be as specialized or focused specifically on NOC services. They may also be restricted to specific types of systems or manufacturers. Other NOCs are fully independent businesses that have specialized in this one area. Customization options will be readily available from these providers, allowing them to meet the unique needs and challenges of your business.
Either way, your NOC partner will be able to identify the inefficiencies of your current setup and offer solutions, keeping you in the loop along the way with frequent updates, a clear path of communication (such as email, text messaging, or phone calls), and transparency.
Myth #3 — I Can’t Trust a Third-Party with My Data
Data security is a legitimate concern for companies storing sensitive information, client records, and financial data. Security is the starting point for any company to which you will be outsourcing. An experienced NOC service wouldn't still be in business if they failed to provide a secure environment for data.
Your NOC partner built their business around procedures that safeguard your information against security breaches or hacking. And if you're worried about all the data they are monitoring, yours will be kept entirely separate from that of any other clients they have. If you're still not convinced, ask your NOC provider how you can protect your network. They’ll make it easy for you to share only the data they need to serve you best.
Myth #4 — Having a Remote Team Means Giving Up Control
Do you insist on managing the day-to-day activities of your outsourced cleaning team? No. You did some thorough research, analyzed which companies performed the services you require, interviewed them, and settled on the best fit. You'll use the same process for your NOC partner. Go over all of their offerings, see if they can be flexible to meet your needs, check how long they've been in business, and give them a call. They'll be glad to discuss what you're looking for and make suggestions about how they can help.
You won’t need to manage your NOC day-to-day, but you can demand 100% transparency and regular communication keeping you updated, especially when issues arise. You’ll set up a runbook listing proper protocols for every issue, and they can even offer you an internet portal to check up on your network’s status at any time.
Myth #5 — All NOCs Are Offshore
Though many NOC service providers are based offshore, some are not. If this is a deal-breaker for your business, then don’t worry because you have options. You can find the best NOCs right here in the United States. These NOCs will be working in your country, maybe even in your time zone, providing you with the peace of mind that your company is in skilled hands that are familiar with your country’s regulations, and that you can communicate with them easily anytime.
Myth #6 — NOCs Will Take the Jobs of Your IT Techs
NOCs are not coming for anyone’s job; you’ll still need your engineers. Your NOC Services Partner is just that: a partner. They act as an extension of your IT department and are capable of doing both more complex monitoring work as well as the tedious jobs that are wasting the valuable time of your staff. Working alongside a NOC, your staff can focus on the higher value projects you want to get accomplished. Consider partnering with a NOC as the delegation of responsibility, which is what any effective leadership team does.
Myth #7 — We Can Do It Better
When you started your business, your IT team was responsible for building and managing the network, troubleshooting problems, installing and maintaining your software, handling customer support, and acting as the expert in all things related to your network infrastructure. That worked for a while, but now your business is much larger and growing.
Your staff is skilled and necessary for daily operations, but they might not have the bandwidth to take your network monitoring where it needs to go. IT is a complicated part of your business, and it's continually evolving. Outsourcing to a NOC partner will be a more efficient use of your company's budget and skillset. Keep your team on the projects suited to them and let your NOC partner, with their years of in-depth, multi-industry expertise, focus on developing the network monitoring you need and deserve.
Myth #8 — NOCs Only Offer Ping and SNMP
While this myth is partially true because NOCs do provide these services, it's not wholly accurate. In addition to Ping and SNMP, a NOC partner gives you access to technicians and software that have far more capabilities. Experienced NOCs work with vendor APIs, JSON, REST, WMI, XML, SQL, CLI scripts, and much more.
A NOC can expand the possibilities of your IT department with log file monitoring, application monitoring, tier-1 remediation, synthetic transactions, and other more complex capabilities. By doing just a bit of research, you'll find an approachable and professional NOC partner that is more than capable of handling your unique technical needs.
Myth #9 — Outsourced NOC Staff Have Minimum Wage Skill Sets
This myth may be rooted in the misconception that offshoring and outsourcing are one and the same. But it also stems from the nature of your outsourcing itself. If all you are handing over is mundane or repetitive tasks, you might assume that this level of work would be assigned to someone at the lowest pay grade. That’s not true.
Rest assured that your NOC partner hires individuals who have the educational background and field experience to handle jobs anywhere on the scale from basic monitoring to incredibly complex. NOC personnel can monitor your network, websites, applications, and more in order to authenticate alerts, remediate outages, and tend to countless other tasks. Trust them to assign skilled technicians to your business.
Myth #10 — Having IT Staff On-Call Works Fine
Scheduling members of your IT department to be on-call weeknights, weekends, and holidays is not the way to go about getting 24x7 coverage. First, it puts a lot of stress on your employees. They'll be less responsive to alerts and outages because they're tired, and their performance in the following days will suffer. Neither they nor their families will be pleased with their work/life balance. It’s inefficient, results in delayed response time and can even result in missed outages.
Second, fatigue due to on-call shifts may result in projects falling behind that are critical to your business and your customers. By outsourcing monitoring, your staff can give their maximum attention and effort to their jobs while a NOC partner ensures every alert and outage is addressed swiftly and appropriately and that you are notified when necessary. Nothing compares to having eyes-on-glass 24x7.
Now that we’ve debunked these myths, it’s worth considering how outsourcing might fit with your business needs and growth plans. Make sure your potential NOC partner understands your needs, can quickly become familiar with your workflows and processes, and will provide an exceptional standard of service both day and night.