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Dissolving the confusion around NOC vs SOC

Security Operation Center

Today’s networks are increasingly complex requiring constant adaptation to the digital environment demands. Even under this context, many companies and organizations disregard basic and major security guidelines. Many organizations underestimate the potential damage network security attacks achieve. Meanwhile, there are ways in which companies could and should keep an eye on their network. Leveraging a Security Operations Center (SOC) and Network Operations Center (NOC) will ensure that companies have an active network security strategy to run their business safely. However, there is ongoing confusion between the two centers as per their function but, in fact, they are fundamentally different. Below, we will reveal the main characteristics of each, how they differ, and where they intertwine.

NOC vs SOC: Sound-alike but totally different
Don’t let these seemingly similar acronyms get the best of you. They are actually fundamentally different on basic functional and operational levels. Below is a clarifying comparison to once and for all dissipate any hanging confusion.

What is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?
A NOC is a centralized location that IT Technical Experts use to provide 24/7 monitoring of the status of an IT network for a client. Its main role is to provide a complete IT backbone that will enable operations to run smoothly with reduced downtime. NOC manages naturally occurring system events and incidents affecting performance or availability to keep system interruptions at a minimal rate. In order to carry out their task, NOC engineers are required to be skilled in systems engineering and network applications.

What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?
Similar to NOC, SOC is a centralized location with the purpose of monitoring a network. However, the aim is not to keep systems maintained and updated but rather to protect the network from cyberattacks and security threats. Being able to keep the intellectual and sensitive property intact and secure is at the core of its business. SOC intends on monitoring networks both in regards to present threats and potentially emerging ones in the future. That is why SOCs are able to advance strategies that are capable of protecting the clients’ business ahead of time. Proficiency in security engineering is, thus, required by SOC engineers.

NOC security

Organizations need NOCs and SOCs to run an effective risk management strategy but the way each entity approaches it is completely different. They carry varied roles and tasks, handle different adversaries, and require different skill sets. This is what makes them complementary in end target but independent in focus and execution. However, does this mean they should run separately?

Can NOC and SOC run parallel to each other?
A prominent challenge in the digital world realm lies under an apparent cyber skills gap especially as newer and more sophisticated network breaches and security threats emerge. However, solely capitalizing on technology to resolve evolving issues is not viable. As previously presented, NOCs and SOCs are conceived to keep an eye on the network each in their respective scope. But when they’re run in a separate approach, their vision is blurred as they only tackle half of the equation. This results in lost data and knowledge that would have been highly beneficial to both if properly shared. Raising awareness on the importance of jointly scaling up NOC and SOC teams and building a unified management framework for their expansion is key. Below are facets in which NOC and SOC could join forces to ensure in-depth impact:

  • Centralizing NOC and SOC management

NOCs and SOCs have commonalities in terms of infrastructure and operations relying both on tiered monitoring and indecent response. In order to achieve close and effective collaboration between the two teams, merging them into a centralized orchestration point would be an innovative approach. Indeed, integrating and clustering their resources would consolidate their operations as opposed to if they’re run separately failing to achieve higher situational awareness and service recovery.

  • NOC & SOC tools integration

Fusing the different tools and technology NOCs and SOCs harbor will allow a pointed overview of the correlation between infrastructure equipment and network security incidents. It is a key component in keeping up with the network’s wellbeing as it enables easier impact assessment and analysis. This merging will facilitate incident and service recovery while cutting down on cost.

  • Scaling & Measuring IT security

NOC can provide analytics and insights to SOC so as to offer a better understanding of the cyber threat extent they’re facing and hence maximizing SOC’s forensics and investigation scope. SOC would be able to look differently and with more depth at seemingly unrelated as well as low signature security incidents.

Working in tandem, NOCs act out as a human’s central nervous system and SOCs as its immune system ensuring the availability of IT systems by constantly monitoring, detecting misfunctions, and effectively tackling them.

SOC vs. NOC in a Nutshell
To sum things up, it is crucial to note that NOCs and SOCs are not the same. Both have very distinct roles in organizations, yet they overlap in the way they operate, especially regarding structure. At IX TeIecom, our NOC is staffed 24/7/365 to actively monitor your infrastructure and applications in real-time. We are committed to identifying, ascending, and resolving emerging network disruptions. Our main and ultimate goal is to keep your network running smoothly while you focus on your core business amidst the current health crisis. You also have the option of providing the same solution as-a-service to your customers by subscribing to our Virtual NOC. Reach out to us today!

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