What questions should you ask before signing up for NOC services

by | Jan 15, 2020

1. Where is the NOC situated, and who is in charge of it?

Enquire specifically about the location of the NOC. It has been common practise among NOC providers supporting MSPs to hide the fact because the NOC is not located in the same geographic area as their headquarters. Additionally, ensure that the NOC is owned by the firm and is not outsourced to a third-party.

You must question your provider directly because they will take every effort to hide such information. We’ve known for a few years in the MSP channel that a well-known NOC supplier for MSPs outsources its NOC to a third-party in India.

2. Trial period is free

Is it possible to get a free trial to test the waters?

Every company that is aware of the quality and importance of their service will provide you with a free trial. Every company that sells a product or service does it. Why not have a NOC?

You won’t receive the premium version with all the bells and whistles, but you’ll have enough to get your feet wet. You can determine whether such service would be beneficial to you. If the NOC is the greatest match for your company and if they truly give the service, they advertise.

If you have not used a NOC before, then it will provide you with the opportunity to get knowledge with a trustworthy NOC.

3. Agreement Terms

Request a copy of the contract and read the details.

Always pay close attention to the contract agreement. Read the terms and conditions and ask your contact person at the NOC whether there are any extra terms that are not included in the agreement.

Hiding the information and keep secrets from your clients is a negative habit in this day and age.

Is the NOC attempting to tie you down to a long-term contract? What is the need to become involved in a long-term contract since there are NOC providers providing you month to month billing?

4. Technologies and tools

Is the NOC familiar with your tools and technologies?

Several NOCs claim to be RMM neutral. They simply handle alerts and will not assist you with RMM setup or development.

How can they work with your tools if they are unfamiliar with them, much alone offer enhancements in automating and working process? How will they handle patches and implement critical systems and procedures?

NOC has knowledge monitoring several RMM environments and is familiar with best practises. With all this information, they should be eager to assist you with your RMM enhancements.

5. SLA

What is the NOC’s standard SLA and response time?

Response time is an important measure for any NOC. It is preferable if they react as quickly as possible. Most NOCs will offer you with a predefined answer based on the severity of the issue. 15 minutes is a long time to solve important matters, and you should not accept anything less. It is not just the urgent concerns that must be addressed within a certain time-period; the less serious issues must also be addressed within a certain time limit.

If the response time is too long, then the warnings that needed to be fixed before they became major issues may have already inflicted the harm that the NOC is designed to mitigate.

6. Billing

Is the price constant or will it change based on usage?

Always choose a fixed-price NOC. The cost might be per server, per node, or per site, but it must be consistent. It helps you to be aware of your spending.

The fixed-price service will also clearly identify which activities your NOC will cover in the NOC package, and which will be excluded. You’ll also understand how much it’ll cost to add more machines and change your price in the future.

7. Communication

What methods may you use to contact the NOC?

Communication is essential in today’s world. Every NOC makes effort to be more accessible to their clients. You should be able to obtain an update on your tickets or submit a support ticket instantly through phone, chat, or email.

If a NOC provider does not offer such a functionality, they are stuck, stale, and outdated. They most likely haven’t evaluated their procedures and systems in months. Do you believe it’s a good idea to join such a NOC?

8. Assistance with a Project

Will your NOC assist you with tasks at a lower hourly rate?

As a Managed IT Service provider, you have tasks that must be completed on a regular basis. There are several jobs that must be completed, such as replacing antivirus software, server migrations, and deployments.

Wouldn’t it be great if your NOC could assist with such projects? Perhaps they can assist your engineers. Obviously, they will not do anything for free, but they may be able to offer you a lower hourly fee.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Is this something your NOC offers?

Enquire specifically about the location of the NOC. It has been common practise among NOC providers supporting MSPs to hide the fact because the NOC is not located in the same geographic area as their headquarters.

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