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What is a Network Operations Center?

By Troy Holmes
Updated May 17, 2024
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Most large computer networks are managed by specialized monitoring organizations. These groups perform the network monitoring tasks from a centralized location known as a network operations center (NOC). The NOC is responsible for managing all network traffic that flows in and out of a computer system. This is typically a sophisticated operation center that is tied to multiple telecommunication network providers.

A computer network is a group of telecommunication devices that is connected to other networks. This requires a complex switchboard of network traffic controlling the routing of data. The network operations center is responsible for monitoring and routing all network traffic for a company.

There are many types of jobs available at a network operations center. These include positions in general maintenance, security, and information technology. The staff is typically required to work shift work because the center is always open.

A network center operator requires special training in network management. This training teaches an individual about the nuances of managing a computer network. Most network administrators have a degree in computer science with an emphasis in network engineering.

The network operations center normally contains a war room that includes large television screens and computer equipment. These monitors display detailed network traffic information. The NOC system engineers review the monitors and can quickly resolve network bottlenecks by detouring traffic to other connection routes.

Security is critical for a network operations center. Most of these buildings are located in rural areas and have tight security. They typically require 24-hour surveillance and special access badges for employees. This high-level security is necessary because the network is one of the most critical components for modern companies.

Special monitoring software is used in a network operations center. This software provides visual alerts of network traffic and potential issues to the system engineers. Most monitoring tools provide email notifications, which enable remote alerts of network outages. This software enables an organization to have 24-hour monitoring of the network from remote locations.

The NOC is often used to manage companies' cyber security. This typically includes specific monitoring techniques that prevent harmful data from entering the company's network. The NOC can track and limit data access by filtering requests to specific network addresses on the Internet. It can also check for harmful messages that may contain viruses or other malicious devices.

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