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Inside the Hub: Unveiling the Secrets of Network Operations Centers

by Era Inventions

The team’s work relies on far more journalistic hunches than high-tech equipment. “We aren’t a very CSI-type of team,” says Barot.

Hubs are intermediate nodes in distribution networks where less-than-vehicle-load shipments are consolidated to full vehicle loads. It saves on transport costs and enables economies of scale in transportation.

The Network Operations Center (NOC)

IT staff can continuously monitor a client’s IT infrastructure in a network operations center. It allows technicians to catch problems and take corrective action quickly.

A NOC typically consists of a dedicated room with rows of workstations facing a video wall that displays information on the status of each device. The video wall enables staff to assess the current state of a network in a single location, including real-time monitoring of alarms and performance metrics.

When an alert or incident occurs, staff members enter the issue into a ticket system that prioritizes the problem based on its impact and severity. Technicians on tier 1 take care of simple network issues, while tier 2 technicians handle more severe incidents like security breaches and ransomware attacks.

In addition to troubleshooting and managing a network, NOCs can help clients with capacity planning, preventing potential bottlenecks in their IT infrastructure that could lead to downtime. According to a study, an hour of downtime costs companies $1-5 million in lost revenue, end-user productivity, and remedial actions by IT administrators.

Outsourced NOCs provide an affordable solution for small and midsize businesses needing help to hire an in-house team of IT professionals. Alternatively, outsourced NOCs can supplement an existing in-house IT team to help manage an organization’s network on a 24-7 basis.

The Data Center

Data centers provide:

  • The computing power to run programs.
  • Storage to store information.
  • Networking to link people together.

Almost every organization requires a data center to meet business needs and support organizational functions. Some construct their own, while others use co-location facilities. Still others leverage public cloud-based services to reduce costs.

Computers are complex machines that consume a tremendous amount of electricity. They require cooling to prevent overheating and ensure servers operate at the proper temperatures. Data centers use air and liquid cooling systems. Air cooling targets the entire room, while liquid cooling technology pumps coolant directly to processors or immerses them in it to lower energy consumption and maintain operational efficiency.

The data stored in a data center is transmitted to other computers by wired networks. The networks are arranged in various configurations to increase availability, speed, and security. Spine-and-leaf topologies, for example, connect centralized spine switches with leaf switches, creating a mesh that supports low-latency traffic flow from server to server. Another option, mesh point of delivery (PoD), connects multiple spine switches to multiple leaf switches to improve traffic routing and aggregation.

The most secure networks also offer redundancy to protect against failures that can compromise the integrity of information. A typical design strategy uses redundant connections and data pathways, enabling maintenance personnel to move networked hardware without interrupting service. Tier systems, ranging from one to four, define the uptime customers can expect.

The Security Operations Center (SOC)

Often housed within the NOC, the SOC is responsible for an organization’s security monitoring and alerting. It includes collecting threat data from firewalls, IPS/IDS systems, breach detection solutions, and security information and event management (SIEM) tools. This consolidated data gives a complete picture of regular network activity, allowing the SOC to detect anomalies and threats more quickly.

SOC teams protect an organization’s assets, from desktops and mobile devices to servers and databases. They also devise protections for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, ranging from kitchen microwaves to warehouse scanners. Once a threat is detected, SOC team members serve as first responders, isolating the affected endpoints and stopping the attack by terminating harmful processes, disabling software, deleting files, or shutting down the device altogether.

Lastly, SOC teams proactively look for ways to improve an organization’s cybersecurity measures by providing data-driven analysis and recommending new procedures. It could include adjusting the organization’s vulnerability assessment solutions, improving its network segmentation strategy, or implementing more effective system patching regimens.

The Control Room

Control room operators must work together to resolve issues when something goes wrong. It is often done using video wall technology to display information from multiple sources. That makes it easy for operators to collaborate and make decisions quickly.

It is common for control rooms to have multiple desks, with each person assigned to a specific area of the network or system they are responsible for. Individual workstations are typically arranged around a large display showing critical alarms and ongoing incidents. It provides an overview of the situation so the team can make informed decisions.


A control room must have the right equipment to keep it running smoothly. Redundancy is critical, and this can include things like backup generators, multiple communication systems, and even extra monitoring equipment. It helps ensure that any failures are limited in their impact.

Security is also essential, mainly if the control room handles sensitive information. It may involve contacting law enforcement and emergency services, communicating with on-site security personnel, or keeping detailed records of security-related incidents or breaches.

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