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Network Security Monitoring

Security Operations Center (SOC) vs. Network Operations Center (NOC)

November 17, 2021

3 minutes

Woman sitting at a desk with her backed turned working in a security operations center

Often confused as being interchangeable for each other, security operations centers (SOC) and network operations centers (NOC) both offer the services of a team of experts in their field, but they specialize in very different areas of technology for businesses.

Learn more about what each of them is responsible for, what makes them different, and how to know which one you need the help of.

What is a Security Operations Center (SOC)?

A SOC is a centralized hub for cybersecurity experts to monitor a business’ network, devices, and security protocols.

Typically, a SOC is dedicated to cybersecurity and its main purpose is to manage, prevent, and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents like malware attacks and other cyber threats.

Inside a SOC is a full-fledged cybersecurity team filled with engineers, advisors, vCISOs, analysts, compliance officers, and more. They collaborate to ensure a cybersecurity strategy is implemented correctly and efficiently to protect businesses.

What is a Network Operations Center (NOC)?

A NOC is an IT hub that manages a company’s IT, cloud, network, and technology from a remote location using different resources, tools, and software.

NOCs, and oftentimes SOCs, are usually run by managed service providers (MSPs) who are able to manage multiple client networks because they’re equipped with a full staff, top-of-the-line equipment, and all the expertise needed to solve simple and complex problems.

Though a NOC works to solve issues of all sizes, its main goal is to reduce prolonged downtime, improve network functionality, and ensure that businesses are always running smoothly when it comes to their technology and network.

What’s the Difference Between a NOC and a SOC?

People often confuse SOCs and NOCs and though they are somewhat similar in that they tackle technological problems and are typically run by MSPs, the fundamental difference comes in their specialties.

While a NOC is designed to handle IT-related issues like network support, devices, etc., SOCs specialize specifically in implementing and bolstering cybersecurity for businesses and their main objective is to secure a client’s network rather than manage and support it.

There’s also a big difference in the people you’ll find at each. While NOCs are usually filled with IT specialists who specialize in IT infrastructure, network maintenance, data analysis, and technology.

In a SOC, you’ll find cybersecurity-centric expertise in the form of vCISOs (Virtual Chief Information Security Officer), security engineers, compliance officers, and cybersecurity analysts who all focus on securing a business through a holistic cybersecurity strategy.

Which One Do You Need?

Which one your business needs help from depends mostly on the current needs of your company. Here are a few questions to ask to help you figure it out:

How Much Internal IT Support Do You Currently Have?

If you have any current internal IT, is it enough to handle the problems that arise with your network and technology? An MSP can perform an assessment on your current environment to determine what’s most needed when developing a network management plan.

What is the State of Your Cybersecurity?

Consider the state of your current cybersecurity policies, software, and strategy. Do you have one? Do you have a recovery plan in case something does go wrong? If you’re worried about a cyberattack but have no defense or no recovery plan, you need the help of cybersecurity experts and the support of a SOC.

Is Your Internal IT Team Stretched Too Thin?

If you do have an internal IT team, are you asking them to do too much? There is no IT or cybersecurity “unicorn” who can do it all. You need a team of specialists who have the mastery of all aspects of IT.

How Crucial is Data Security for Your Business?

Data security is important for every business, but if you’re in industries like healthcare or finance, you’re regularly handling very sensitive information and data from your customers and you can’t rely on simple, set it and forget it type of cybersecurity.

What Are the Detriments of Downtime for You?

Similarly, consider how crucial it is that your network always stays up and ready. Ask yourself: how would significant downtime affect my business? If you have a lot of digital processes, extended downtime could cost you thousands of dollars in productivity. Don’t leave that up to chance or a small, overworked IT team.

In Conclusion

Though SOCs and NOCs both house teams of experts, the big difference between them lie in the specialties of those people; cybersecurity for SOCs and IT for NOCs.

Learn more about our Security Operations Center and our cybersecurity services and talk to an expert today to see how we can secure your business.