A network operations center (NOC) is critical for businesses to maintain optimal network performance. However, managing a NOC in-house requires extensive resources that most companies simply don't have – resulting in security and performance issues that bring operations to a halt. A 2023 survey revealed that 91% of CIOs experienced network downtime at least once per quarter last year.1 And with 45% of IT teams using between five and 15 network management tools,2 identifying and resolving incidents quickly is more challenging now than ever.

In this blog, we'll discuss the responsibilities of NOC teams and how outsourced NOC services help organizations streamline network monitoring and management.

What Is a NOC?

A network operations center is a centralized location where IT staff can monitor and manage an organization's networks and IT infrastructure. The typical NOC houses network monitoring tools and networking equipment, such as routers, switches, servers, databases, applications, and more. NOCs are essential for early detection of network performance issues, allowing for prompt resolution before they escalate into major disruptions.

How Does a Network Operations Center Work?

NOC teams use specialized software and tools to monitor networks and gain visibility across the IT infrastructure. This allows technicians to assess network health, optimize performance, and address problems before they cause disruptions. The primary functions of a network operations center include:

Installation, Updates, and Troubleshooting

NOC personnel are responsible for the deployment, configuration, and maintenance of the hardware and software that comprise the network environment. This includes installing software, servers, switches, and routers, as well as performing updates and patch management as needed. The NOC team troubleshoots any issues that arise with network system hardware or software to restore functionality quickly.

Data Backup and Recovery

NOCs ensure business continuity by keeping all critical data backed up and easily restorable in the event of data loss or corruption. They oversee the backup process across servers and databases, test restores, and configure offsite data storage for disaster recovery. If malicious network attacks or power outages occur, the NOC enables rapid recovery of data to minimize downtime.

Security Monitoring and Threat Detection

NOCs use specialized tools to monitor networks 24/7 for potential security incidents and anomalies proactively. This includes managing firewalls, VPNs, antivirus software, and intrusion prevention systems. The NOC serves as a first line of defense by identifying security threats in real time and responding quickly to mitigate the impact of breaches or cyber attacks.


Network Performance Optimization

By closely analyzing network traffic, resource utilization, and other metrics, the NOC can provide comprehensive visibility into overall performance and health. Reporting tools help identify optimization opportunities to enhance speed, reliability, and efficiency, enabling the NOC to fine-tune configurations for optimal network performance.

Communications and Incident Coordination

Smooth communications and coordination during an incident or outage are crucial for a fast resolution. NOC technicians facilitate communication between stakeholders and specialized teams to drive efficient problem-solving. They also coordinate across IT teams and provide status updates to keep leadership informed during issues.

Testing and Validation of Networks

Proactive testing helps NOC teams detect problems before they can disrupt operations. NOCs run simulations to validate the resiliency and recovery time during network outages. They also test new hardware, software, configurations, and procedures through staging environments before deployment to minimize risks.

Why Do Organizations Use Network Operations Centers?

Using a network operations center is essential for modern enterprises that rely on complex IT environments and can't afford the costs of prolonged downtime. A typical NOC focuses on maintaining continuous uptime and optimal performance of the network infrastructure and IT systems. NOC technicians monitor, manage, and respond to incidents to minimize disruptive network outages and ensure critical business systems are always accessible and operating efficiently.

In-House vs. Outsourced Network Operations Centers

There are two main NOC models for businesses – keeping operations internal or outsourcing to a managed NOC services provider. Each offers advantages and disadvantages:

  • In-House NOC - Operating an in-house NOC allows for maximum control and customization but also comes with substantial costs for infrastructure, staffing, and talent. Additionally, scaling an in-house NOC can be challenging and expensive during business growth.
  • Outsourced NOC - Partnering with a NOC services provider offers businesses access to specialized expertise and resources without large upfront investments. Outsourced NOCs can easily scale services on-demand to match evolving business needs, allowing internal IT staff to focus on core projects.



Managing an in-house NOC requires major upfront investment in infrastructure, tools, and staffing. Ongoing costs are also high for talent acquisition and maintenance expenses. An outsourced NOC eliminates these capital costs and provides network management services for a predictable monthly fee.


Developing NOC team expertise in-house can be very difficult, requiring recruitment and retention of specialized technical talent. Outsourced NOCs provide access to this expertise without the HR demands.


Scaling an in-house network operations center requires adding staff and resources, which can be time-consuming and costly. Outsourced NOCs provide seamless flexibility to scale up or down as business needs change.


In-house NOCs allow for full control and customization over tools, staffing, and processes. By outsourcing network management services to a third party, organizations surrender some control in exchange for added expertise and resources.


In-house NOCs are limited to staff availability during normal business hours, leaving the network environment vulnerable to performance and security issues. Outsourced NOCs provide 24/7 network monitoring and support for maximized uptime.


What Are the Benefits of Using an Outsourced NOC?

Using a network operations center provides many advantages for enterprise businesses, including:

Fewer Business Disruptions

Keeping mission-critical systems and network devices available 24/7 is essential for most enterprises. Managed NOC services help minimize costly outages and downtime through proactive network monitoring, quick incident resolution, and business continuity strategies.

Enhanced Security

NOCs implement best practices and advanced tools to protect the organization's network infrastructure against evolving cyber threats. This includes managing firewalls, threat detection, vulnerability assessments, and compliance.

Increased Efficiency

The majority (92%) of network operations professionals say there are too many network updates needed to keep up with, and 68% of large organizations only update their network devices quarterly (or less).3 Leveraging outsourced NOC services enables an enterprise business's internal IT staff to focus their time and energy on strategic initiatives rather than day-to-day network operations.

Cost Savings

Outsourced NOCs eliminate the high capital and operating expenses of maintaining specialized staff and infrastructure in-house. A predictable monthly service fee is cheaper than hiring, onboarding, and maintaining the costs of full-time NOC technicians.

Faster Incident Response

NOC engineers use advanced remote monitoring and automation to identify and resolve security issues and inefficiencies, impacting the client network faster than internal staff.

Greater Flexibility

With outsourced NOCs, businesses gain flexible scaling of services and capacity as their network operation needs change. This scalability makes it easier to manage growth, seasonal traffic variations, and mergers and acquisitions.


AI and the Network Operations Center

Modern advances like 5G, edge computing, and the Internet of Things have exponentially increased the complexity of enterprise networks. Computer networks now have millions of endpoints that make oversight difficult for human NOC technicians, as the massive volumes of data and alarms generated can overwhelm response capabilities.

Artificial intelligence and automation tools help enhance NOC capabilities for these complex, large-scale networks. AI can analyze billions of data points across the company's network in real time to detect anomalies and predict potential issues before they occur. Machine learning algorithms draw insights from historical datasets to fine-tune predictive models and recommend solutions to optimize the network's performance. This gives AI-enabled NOCs greater foresight compared to relying on reactive troubleshooting by technicians.

Automation also allows NOCs to resolve repetitive issues and make configuration changes at scale across all network devices. Bots can execute routine tasks like adding new devices, patching vulnerabilities, adjusting capacity, and troubleshooting common problems automatically.

Together, advanced AI analytics and automated solutions transform business operations from reactive firefighting to a more proactive, streamlined process. Along with improved system management, NOC technicians can focus their expertise on higher-level network optimization projects rather than repetitive maintenance tasks. A whopping 98% of network operations professionals agree that automation will allow their team to focus on more impactful work.3

Upgrade Your Network Operations Center With TailWind

Staying ahead of network issues is crucial for today's data-driven businesses. However, implementing and managing an in-house network operations center requires substantial resources, staffing, and expertise – particularly for multi-location enterprises.

TailWind helps businesses optimize network operations across complex IT environments with our complete NOC as a service (NOCaaS) solution. Our U.S.-based technical support experts become an extension of your team, and we can quickly scale services up or down so you can focus on key business goals while relying on continuous uptime and network resilience. Ready to get started with a NOCaaS solution tailored for multi-location enterprises? Reach out to TailWind today.


  1. https://www.digi.com/company/press-releases/2023/only-9-percent-of-organizations-avoid-outages
  2. https://www.techtarget.com/searchnetworking/feature/Network-management-tool-sprawl-plagues-IT-organizations
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/92-of-network-operations-and-security-professionals-say-there-are-more-network-updates-needed-than-they-can-keep-up-with-301782564.html