The network operations center, commonly known as the NOC (pronounced the same as knock), is home to Technology OneSource’s main tactical operations engineering team—the engineers you reach when you call the help desk.

From the NOC, our team of engineers remotely administers, manages, controls, and monitors your network.

We initially developed the NOC as a secure environment to exceed the privacy protection protocols of our clients in heavily-regulated industries, such as healthcare, banking, and professional services. Now, all Technology OneSource members enjoy this high level of data privacy. (Learn more about the SOC 2 Type II certification maintained within our network operations center.)

Take a tour of the NOC with us by watching the video below:

Transcription of the NOC Tour Video:

Bret Anderson: What was the motivation behind developing a network operations center?

Zack Wildman: Well we have a lot of clients who are under regulatory compliance—for HIPAA, PCI, SOC. So this helps us help them.

Bret Anderson: I see. So people who don’t need to see data don’t have access to it.

Zack Wildman: That is correct.

Bret Anderson: Why don’t you give us a tour. It sounds like that there is a white noise. Am I hearing that correctly?

Zack Wildman: You are. We have a lot of people who sit in a small area here. We have white noise generators that sound kind of like a fan or an air conditioner running that will help keep conversations where conversations need to stay.

Bret Anderson: And that actually helps?

Zack Wildman: It does help.

Bret Anderson: It looks like you’ve got a full staff here, but there are some empty desks. What’s the reason for that?

Zack Wildman: At NetGain we do run 24 x 7. So if you do see an empty desk it’s because that person may be coming in on Saturday, or may be coming in at 5:00 this afternoon on the shift change.

Bret Anderson: And each desk looks a little smaller then your average desk. How do you make do with the limitations of space?

Zack Wildman: That’s a great question, Bret. It was a challenge. When we moved back here, we did shrink our desk size. And so, in order to accommodate that, we lifted the monitors up off the desk and put them on monitor mounts. We removed the physical phone from the desk and put in softphones powered by Cisco, and then also put in HP’s micro-mini PCs, which are about the size of a thin client.

Bret Anderson: Now as we come into the Network Operations Center you have offices around and you have the RSE team in the middle, then you use these boards to help manage your business. What do they mean?

Zack Wildman: Up at the top we have all of our call queues—which is, again, powered by Cisco’s (Unified) Contact Center. And below that we have each agent and their status, which is based on their color. So a green agent is ready to take a call right now. Somebody’s that is blue may be on an inbound call or an outbound call, and somebody’s who’s on red might be working on a Priority 1 issue and not available to take a call at this time.

Bret Anderson: You had mentioned “Priority 1 issue.” How do you determine priority?

Zack Wildman: Priority is determined based on the criticality of the ticket to the business. So it may be that your network’s completely down, maybe your Internet’s out, or maybe today’s payroll day and your payroll server’s not working.

Bret Anderson: Those seem like they would be priorities. Those would be P1 tickets?

Zack Wildman: Those are P1 tickets, yes. Over on the right you also see our client satisfaction for the month. Each time a ticket is completed on the remote engineering team, a survey is generated out to that end user or the primary contact, whoever they may be. And we’re rated on a scale of 1 to 100. And so for the month, we’re at 99.56%. Below that you’ll see escalation rate. Escalation is when a ticket cannot be completed by the remote engineering team for any reason—whether that’s a hardware issue that we physically can’t do remotely, or it’s something that’s above our head, maybe it’s a skill issue (that requires one of our field engineers to take over). So current month-to-date we’re at 2.03%—which is for every 100 tickets that come in, only two of them have to go over to our field engineering team.

Bret Anderson: That sounds like a pretty high level response rate. Is that typical in the industry?

Zack Wildman: It is not. NetGain is focused very heavily on training and certification, making sure that each time someone calls in we have the right person to be able to resolve the issue. So, 2% is actually a very low number compared to the industry, which is around 30%.

Bret Anderson: If an RSE can’t handle a ticket and it needs to be escalated, describe that process.

Zack Wildman: When a ticket needs to be escalated it goes over to our dispatching team, and those dispatchers are responsible for about 60 field engineers’ calendars.

Bret Anderson: Now, what else can you show me back here?

Zack Wildman: Each person is a tier within our team. Most people come in at a Tier 1. Once they obtain their Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer Certification (or MCSE), they’re upgraded to a Tier 2, where they’re working on more advanced server issues, maybe some overflow from Tier 1 and a little bit of overflow from Tier 3. But they’re more skilled resources at that point. When a technical resource decides their path—maybe they really like virtualization, or they really like Cisco, or they really like Microsoft—they’re upgraded to a Tier 3. That’s when they get their CCNA or their VCP. That’s where all Priority 1 issues go immediately, once they come into us. We want the most skilled resources on the team working on those issues. You’ve heard me use the term “remote systems engineer” a lot, and I prefer that term because we truly do have engineers working for us back here, not just your average helpdesk.

Bret Anderson: Well Zack, thanks a lot for showing us around the Networks Operation Center. We appreciate your time today. And if you have any questions, just contact us at SMART@NetGainIT.com.

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