Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question below to get the answers you need.
- Is INOC a software solution or a service?
- What are the different NOC services offered by INOC?
- What is the scope of technology / equipment that the NOC supports? What services do you monitor?
- Will INOC mediate issues with circuit/service providers and Telcos on behalf of my company and manage the internal escalation process?
- What backup / redundant facilities does your NOC have?
- What physical, network, and system security does your NOC offer?
- What are the qualifications of your NOC support staff?
- What is iMonitor and what are some of its unique features?
- What is a "Collection Agent"?
- How does your NOC connect to my network(s)?
- What is involved in turning up the NOC service and how long does it take?
- What processes and procedures does the NOC use to monitor and manage events?
- What are the report types available through iMonitor?
Is INOC a software solution or a service?
INOC is a service. INOC provides 24x7 monitoring and reporting services to clients via our Network Operations Center (NOC) which is staffed round-the-clock with experienced professionals and supported by our proprietary iMonitor software and standardized processes.
What are the different NOC services offered by INOC?
INOC offers both standard and custom NOC services. Standard services range from basic Incident Management across most technologies to advanced troubleshooting in specific areas. We also customize our NOC services for clients with specific requirements by supporting client-specific procedures, technology, third-party coordination and resolution, and reporting.
What is the scope of technology / equipment that the NOC supports? What services do you monitor?
Our NOC professionals and our real-time monitoring software, iMonitor, can support a wide range of technologies and vendor equipment. See a sample list here. SNMP and various non-SNMP protocols are supported; iMonitor can also process any ASCII output.
We monitor a wide variety of services - from email, database, directory services, web applications to BGP processes to optical light levels. We also develop custom functionality for our customers' specific environments.
Will INOC mediate issues with circuit/service providers and Telcos on behalf of my company and manage the internal escalation process?
Yes. INOC provides notification, escalation and troubleshooting services on a variety of circuit types (e.g., TDM, Optical Ethernet ) and will engage your service providers to resolve service issues.
What backup / redundant facilities does your NOC have?
All monitoring and infrastructure support systems, including, network hardware, servers, telecommunication circuits, and Internet connectivity are redundant between the Primary NOC facility in Madison, Wis., and the DR (Disaster Recovery) NOC facility near Chicago.
In addition, our NOC facilities include:
- Fiber optic network connectivity from diverse building entrances via diverse carriers to diverse central offices
- Two separate power grids
- UPS systems and backup generators
- Multiple levels of physical security
What physical, network, and system security does your NOC offer?
INOC's NOC facilities have two levels of physical access security that require individually identifiable key entry. Network security is provided using firewalls, intrusion protection devices, and virtual routers. Customers' VPN tunnels terminate within virtual routers, allowing for isolation and encryption of each customer's data. INOC uses hardened OS, strong authentication mechanisms, and provides only appropriate levels of access to ensure system security. Background checks, daily audits and tight security procedures allow us to meet our clients' security requirements.
What are the qualifications of your NOC support staff?
Our NOC staff skills are matched with the different levels of support provided to our customers. At the first level, NOC support staff have an average of 3 years of technical support experience, at least one technical certification and possess basic knowledge of network hardware, servers, TCP/IP, routing, switching, network security and telecommunication circuits. Mid-level and senior support staff has 5 to 15 years of technical support experience with certifications in multiple technologies. All support staff are screened and monitored for excellent customer service, written and oral communication skills.
What is iMonitor and what are some of its unique features?
iMonitor is a web-based real-time NOC services platform, which gives you a customer-specific view in to our NOC activity, allowing you to see what we're tracking —in real time, at any time of the day.
The iMonitor platform was built from the ground-up to bring together all the information you need about your network in real-time - assets, usage, performance, and NOC support activity. This allows us to run an efficient NOC operation while giving you the visibility you need so you can make intelligent decisions for running and managing your data and voice infrastructure.
What is a "Collection Agent"?
The iMonitor Collection Agent is a 1 rack unit (1RU) appliance that is typically deployed in a redundant configuration at client sites - in-house Data Centers, Hosting Facilities, Co-Location Facilities, Telco Central Offices (CO), Cable MSO Head-Ends, etc. The Collection Agents keep track of your network and services and report to the NOC 24x7. INOC deploys these agents as part of the NOC service; the appliances are maintained by INOC and upgraded on a regular basis.
How does your NOC connect to my network(s)?
Connectivity from our primary and DR (Disaster Recovery) NOCs to your network(s) depends on your service availability requirements. For example, using IPSec over the Internet works well if you have a very reliable Internet connection. If not, we recommend installing our redundant iMonitor Collection Agent pair, which gives the NOC uninterrupted view in to your network and service status via analog dial-up, even when the Internet connection is down.
What is involved in turning up the NOC service and how long does it take?
We have a streamlined process for turning-up NOC services for your IT infrastructure. You tell us what services, equipment, circuits, and other infrastructure you would like to have monitored; we establish a secure connection to your network – and install Collection Agents at your site if needed. After we document your notification and escalation requirements (we provide our standard schedules, which are typically modified for your environment) your NOC service is up and going. The whole turn-up process takes 2 to 10 business days.
What processes and procedures does the NOC use to monitor and manage events?
The NOC uses a well-defined Incident Management process to monitor and manage events. Central to the Incident Management process is the 24x7 Service Desk that uses the iMonitor platform to monitor, detect and record events as they happen. Once the incident is recorded in the trouble ticket system, a sequence of activities including investigation, diagnosis and resolution are performed. While the incident is being resolved, routine notifications and escalations are triggered to enable tracking and ownership of the incident. Based on the service, escalations can occur to INOC's senior engineers, to the customer or to external suppliers such as carriers, equipment vendors and other third parties.
What are the report types available through iMonitor?
The iMonitor web portal provides standard and custom reports on a variety of NOC support activities as well as utilization, trending and performance information on your equipment, services, and circuits.