The True Value of a NOC – Freedom!

A wall of computer screens

Only the largest MSPs have technical staffs that operate 24/7. These organizations can support clients night and day, and also handle issues that occur across a wide geographic area.

Most service providers don’t have that luxury. During off hours, client problems can remain unresolved. That might be fine for a mom and pop shop which closes down at 5 o’clock, but not so hot for larger clients whose work hours are far longer and more varied.

The answer is for the MSP to ‘rent’ a Network Operations Center (NOC) service through a third party.

A NOC, to put it simply, is the place from where services are managed and delivered. During normal work hours, this would all likely occur with the MSP’s direct staff. A third-party NOC is simply another location, managed by another company, where these same service functions can reside. The goal is that when a client has a problem, they should not know whether it is handled by the MSP directly or the third-party NOC service provider.

One obvious benefit to both parties is that problems can be identified and (often) solved when they actually occur. Here’s another less obvious attribute. Because the NOC is taking over some of the MSP’s work, there is more freedom for the MSP, a point argued in a recent MSPmentor blog.

“Partnering with a NOC vendor to deliver round-the-clock support and routine functions, such as patch management and systems maintenance, enables you to better focus on the consultative part of the business,” MSPmentor author Pedro Pereira wrote.

The Freedom to Run Your Business Your Way

There are a few ways to gain NOC services. Those large MSPs with around-the-clock staff coverage have essentially built an in-house NOC. This means, though, that the NOC has to be staffed 24×7, keeping these employees mired in technical as opposed to strategic tasks.

Building your own 24×7 NOC can be expensive, particularly when it comes to labor costs, though a fulltime internal NOC can also require infrastructure investments as well.

However, as mentioned above, MSPs can also partner with third parties who offer NOC services, and here the MSP software providers, such as Kaseya, may be your best bet.

If you outsource the NOC, at least for part of your coverage, you can serve clients far more effectively, particularly in regard to uptime and mean time to resolution (MTS).  If that NOC partner is also your technology vendor, you can be sure the technical staff is expert in how that software solution works, and how it is used to spot and resolve problems. And this happens without you either having to pay overtime to expensive technicians or hire extra staff. Even better, NOC technicians act as second set of eyes. With their experience and expertise, you can gain new insight into what’s wrong with your clients’ network, and how to make them safer, more reliable and more efficient. In this way, you can gain the trust of your client, and begin to offer higher level, more strategic services based on their confidence in your operation.

NOC services are sold on an OPEX basis, and because of the NOC vendor’s economies of scale, it should be far cheaper to outsource this coverage than to staff up and do it yourself. Here again, the money you save can be used to invest in other parts of your business.

At the same time, this NOC can come in handy as a fill-in when you have technicians call in sick or have unforeseen turnover. And when business gets busy, or you have just brought in new clients, the NOC can make sure your operations scale smoothly and keep clients are happy.

With an outsourced NOC, you can decide how much you use it and balance this against other goals you hope to achieve, such as acting as a trusted advisor or even delivering Virtual CIO (vCIO) services.

The Freedom to Tackle New Projects

It’s hard to find an MSP that isn’t busy and in need of more skilled technicians. Being in such straits, it is sometimes hard to bring on new clients and tackle ambitious new projects.

A outsourced NOC  can come to rescue, taking on much of the work of your techs and allowing them to help you with new projects. Having a NOC is just like having a larger staff, one already trained to handle your services.

Even better, the NOC service is on a pay-as-you-go basis so you can scale up or down at will.

Client Benefits Eases Sales Process

As you can see, a NOC service has great MSP benefits – freeing time for strategic thinking and work, upselling clients to 24×7 coverage, and deeper visibility into client networks. But from a sales perspective, 24×7 NOC services have equally great benefits to users.

With such a service, the client is assured of far greater uptime and faster problem resolution that increases productivity. Clients are also more secure because the MSP and the NOC service regularly patch machines and keep antivirus/anti-malware definitions up to date.

Kaseya NOC Services – Three Routes to Freedom

Kaseya NOC services has been built especially for Kaseya MSP customers.

This way MSPs can be up and running right away.

Here are the immediate benefits:

  • Scale immediately without expensive overhead
  • Meet and exceed service level expectations
  • Free up staff to focus on new ways to add value
  • Maintain complete control over end user interaction
  • Enhance your bottom-line profitability with 24×7 services
  • Access to Kaseya’s best practice monitor set and troubleshooting methodology

Virtual Monitoring – First Line of Defense

Kaseya NOC Services performs just like an extension of your own staff, except it never takes time off. Just like your own technicians, the service monitors client systems to make sure they are working and performing properly.

When trouble is found, the service can deal with the alarms, filter out the false ones, and remediate the issues based on pre-defined workflows and best practices.

Kaseya NOC Services has three levels. First, you can use it for monitoring only. With this service level, Kaseya NOC Services handles the monitoring and the Kaseya NOC technical team reviews alarms and escalates the issues that need tending. The NOC team also offers troubleshooting advice so MSP technicians can prioritize their work, and insure that SLAs are continuously met.

Next, you could choose one of two additional options where the Kaseya NOC team uses data from the monitoring service to take more proactive action. Designed to let you scale quickly, Kaseya NOC Services delivers the monitoring and management services you need to extend your existing in-house staff and meet your customer demands. Even better, you have the flexibility to choose the exact level of service that’s right for your business.

Here are details on the three levels of Kaseya NOC Services.

Level 1: Monitor

This level is perfect for MSPs who need access to NOC engineers to help ensure the health, availability and performance of IT infrastructure on a 24×7 basis. Count on our services to review alarms, filter for false alarms, and escalate issues to your team. You can customize monitoring thresholds, configuring notification and escalation policies. You maintain complete control over usage, data collection and end user interaction.

Highlights of the Monitor service are the following:

  • 24×7 monitoring of Microsoft Windows servers/workstations/network devices
  • Access to Kaseya’s best-practice Monitoring Library
  • Flexible notification options, including phone, email and text (SMS)
  • Troubleshooting and alarm-resolution tips based on Kaseya best practice
  • Scheduled and ad hoc reports, providing operational and executive summaries

Level 2: Manage

In addition to all the services in the Monitor service level, Kaseya NOC engineers will perform remediation of alarms based on an agreed-upon set of tasks and run lists. In addition, you get access to a Technical Services Desk to assign tasks such as user account creation, adjusting permissions, resetting user passwords, adding printers and printer queues, etc.

Following are the highlights of the Manage service:

  • All benefits of Monitor-level Kaseya NOC Services
  • Remediation of alarms based on mutually agreed workflows and best practices
  • Technical Service Desk, through which you can assign routine tasks to the Kaseya NOC engineers

Level 3: Manage+

This level of service is designed for MSPs who want their IT team to focus on high-value customer engagements. Besides delivering all the services in the Manage level, this service allows you to offload other common tasks.

Manage+ service highlights include:

  • All benefits of Manage-level Kaseya NOC Services
  • Kaseya Patch Management
  • Kaseya Antivirus and Anti-malware Management
  • Kaseya Backup Management

If this seems like a good fit for your MSP, get a free price quote.

Posted by Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.
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