When a small business starts outgrowing their piecemealed IT, they often start looking at one facet of technology support, like how to keep their machines secure or how to provide on-demand support for their end users. It’s important to know that one can’t be provided without the other at least to some degree. While it’s true that some IT companies can provide only help desk services, the effective ones still have their eye on their customers’ network which is where a NOC comes in.
The Difference Between a NOC and Help Desk
The misconception that a NOC (Network Operations Center) and a Help Desk are essentially the same thing is common because the terms are often used interchangeably. This leaves companies who are assessing which support systems they need to assume they are one in the same. But that’s factually incorrect. It’s also damaging because it leaves small businesses feeling like their being told they need way more than they actually do. When in fact, they need both.
Here is the easiest way to distinguish between the two.
NOC: This stands for ‘Network Operations Center’. As the name suggests, most of the work performed by a NOC team or a NOC professional focuses on the network and the systems within it. The NOC can almost be viewed as a mission control center. It’s the hub that monitors and manages an IT network. A 24/7/365 NOC (like what HDCav operates) monitors the entire network from system security to performance to uptime to backup and recovery processes.
Help Desk: A Help Desk is customer oriented. The Help Desk interacts with end-users and admins to directly respond and resolve technical problems that they face. Customers or employees can typically reach the Help Desk by clicking a support icon, emailing, or calling them. This team solves the everyday problems that interrupt a user’s usual work modes. The confusion here is that often Help Desk teams are responsible for or share in the work that’s required by the NOC, such as new computer set ups, new hardware installation, security patching, and server maintenance.
Do the Help Desk and the NOC Interact?
Although the NOC and Help Desk are different, they do work closely together (as mentioned above) to provide the network- and user-wide tech solutions that are necessary to keep companies running smoothly. Alongside the ‘handing down’ of work from NOC to Help Desk depending on the type of work that needs to be performed, the Help Desk may also escalate tickets to the NOC for resolution. So in this way, they work as a team to provide what seems like a set of solutions for their customers.
The Downside of Having One without The Other
This proactive identification of problems (NOC), constant maintenance (NOC & Help Desk), and informed end user support (Help Desk) improves the speed and quality of support that an IT company can provide.
One without the other can (and does) exist, but without the full picture and foundational support that a NOC can supply to Help Desk or the scope of service that Help Desk can immediately assist with and escalate to a NOC, a small business isn’t taking advantage of everything they can. And in many cases, they wind up paying more when they need services that their standalone NOC or Help Desk doesn’t offer.
Engaging with an MSP that offer both in unison along with the full array of proactive, supportive, and security measures make sure that there are no “hidden costs” down the line. And it’s all done at a predictable monthly fee. If you’re interested in how full scope IT support compares to piecemealed services over time, contact us. We’re happy to show you.