10 Questions MSPs Should Ask Before Outsourcing NOC Services

So what will you do differently in the second half of the year to enhance your MSP business? What is your end-of-year strategy? What about improving the network operations center (NOC) services? Maybe you don’t have enough money to start or enhance an existing one, and you might consider outsourcing your NOC services.

You don’t have to be in a darkened room with a swinging lightbulb overhead to find the right NOC service provider. This article will discuss ten critical questions that MSPs should ask their NOC service providers.

1. Have you developed a comprehensive onboarding process? 

Integrating a new service or solution into the MSP’s existing environment can be challenging. This is because it requires communicating with multiple vendors, so everyone is on the same page. Above average NOC candidates will ensure that all hardware and software used by the MSP and its clients are integrated. It is also important to include essential processes like incident management and escalation.

2. Are you a tier manager or a full-time incident manager? 

Some NOCs might use a standard runbook to identify in-scope actions for fault detection and troubleshooting. This causes unexpected overages to your bill. Instead of working in tiers, the incident management team devises a solution to the problem as quickly as possible so that the network can continue functioning normally.

3. Can you provide live telephone access 24x7x365 to qualified engineers? 

Technicians are rarely available to make live calls in a typical NOC. Instead, they work behind the scenes and use an intermediary to manage communication. Your candidate must meet this requirement.

4. Can you access each member of your NOC team but have one point of contact (SPOC), which brings order and consistency to the support process?

A SPOC model usually means lower costs. SPOCs are not expected to solve every ticket they log but can facilitate and coordinate the entire end-user support process.

5. How can you create efficiencies? 

It depends on your candidate’s operational structures. To improve NOC efficiency, creating a table for escalation is important. This will ensure that all team members know the correct protocol and channels for escalating problems. Understanding the priority of incidents in terms of their business impact can also help. You want to ensure that you are selecting proactive NOCs. The candidate must be able to manage both problem and ongoing incidents (minimizing ticket volume).

6. Do you perform quarterly business reviews or conduct bi-weekly or monthly service reviews?

Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are essential to your success. Meetings for biweekly/monthly reviews can include recaps of significant wins and losses, service ticket reviews, and information about infrastructural goals and future needs. These meetings are great opportunities for both sides to discuss strategies and achieve results.

7. Do you provide detailed reporting? 

An ardent NOC produces reports on a daily or monthly basis. IT leaders and the IT department should be informed by detailed reporting about NOC activities and major incidents. These daily reports can be combined into a monthly report to help you track the team’s progress and identify areas for improvement.

8. What’s your escalation process? 

Clients may not be satisfied with the SPOC level resolution and may prefer someone higher within the NOC. A table of escalation is necessary to maintain a reasonable escalation rate, ensuring that all team members know the correct protocol and channels for escalated issues.

9. Are You SOC 2 Certified? 

SOC 2 certification means they can securely manage your data to protect your company’s and your client’s interests. SOC 2 compliance is essential for a NOC, and security is paramount.

10. Do you offer BAAs to HIPAA clients? 

It would be best if you had a service provider who has the right tools and certifications to comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI (Payment Card Industry), and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Ask the NOC candidate if they offer a service-level agreement and a Business Associate Agreement that will ensure compliance.

These answers will help guide you in making the right decision about whether or not to outsource your NOC services. Contact IT By Design to learn more.