Empower your NOC team
Three Ways to Empower NOC Team
According to some sources, up to 80% of IT issues can be resolved by your NOC team. Your NOC is the company’s first line of defense against outages and IT irregularities. For most IT teams, the Network Operations Centers (NOC) support the computer network and infrastructure with the goal of maintaining 24×7 network and data availability. However, if your NOC is not empowered to act quickly and effectively, much of their ability is lost.
Even in a DevOps world, the NOC still plays an important role although they might have additional capabilities. The NOC is still tasked with NOC team alerting, maintaining high quality production networks and systems, detecting problems as soon as they happen and finding solutions to the problem as soon as possible.
The goal of this blog is to highlight the ways in which NOC teams can work more effectively and highlight what they need to achieve that goal.
Step 1: Manage expectations through SLAs
Through monitoring, teams will know where they are succeeding and where they are failing. Progress cannot rely on a gut feeling. Instead, it needs to be tracked and recorded as noted above. Tied in tightly with these tracked metrics are the SLAs which NOC teams should be expected to meet and maintain. By using the reporting profiles and structures discussed above, teams will know how long it’s taking them to answer inquiries and how long it is taking high priority issues to be resolved. By using reporting teams can monitor how effective they are at resolving issues.
Step 2: Include documentation
Rather than keeping the knowledge and best practices your NOC team gathers in multiple silos, your help desk needs to record its best practices in a shared document. This could be as simple as a Google Doc or something more elaborate. No matter which format you choose, it is extremely important to record this information.
Part of the importance of the knowledge base is that answers can become a permanent part of FAQs on your company’s website so that clients don’t need to turn to you every time they need help. Or, the knowledge can be easily pulled up by your help desk to refer to when helping customers with the issue.
Additionally, by creating a knowledge base you will begin to see what are common customer issues which might in turn mean your engineers need to do a better job at explaining certain topics or in creating further documentation.
Step 3: NOC team alerting
One of the most powerful ways you can ensure your NOC team’s effectiveness and dependability is by ensuring they have strong and effective means for communication when receiving critical alerts and when they elevate critical issues. When the NOC team gets an alert that a critical piece of infrastructure has failed, they should not receive this information by email or SMS. Instead, they need to ensure that the alert occurs in a strong and persistent manner that cannot be ignored.
Using a product like OnPage along with a robust ticketing system like ServiceNow allows NOC teams to receive immediate alerts when high priority issues occur as well as stay abreast of issues and write back to the ticket as updates occur.
If alerts need to be escalated from NOC to an L2 team, it is not enough for NOC to forward the alert as an email or SMS. The L2 or even L3 teams need to be alerted immediately. The use of a critical alert management application for smartphones is ideal in situations like this.
To read four more ways about how to empower your NOC team, download our whitepaper.