Choosing a Location for a Network Operations Center (NOC)

[Abstract]
The purpose of this document is to provide a basic understanding of network operation centers by identifying three key factors to consider when choosing a location for a network operation center. Also included within this document are five areas of physical security to consider when constructing a network operation center.

[Content]
When considering constructing a network operations center, otherwise known as a NOC, there are some key factors to consider when choosing an ideal location. Many large globalized organizations choose geographic locations to host their network operations centers. This is in part so that the NOC for an area covers a region of the globe and ensures their communications operate optimally. Another part of the reason is due to different industry standards for different geographical regions. In the United States a network may traverse a T-1 circuit, however in Europe the network may traverse E-1 circuits (Patton Electronics Co., 2001). Even though this may not seem like a significant different, it does illustrate different standards for different geographical locations and having a NOC that is familiar with its specific region will greatly reduce downtime in the event of a failure and maintain an overall general knowledge base of the networks in their geographical region. Another factor to consider when choosing a location for a NOC is choosing a city that has the surrounding infrastructure to ensure a maximum uptime of building power. Ensure that local businesses, including Internet Service Providers, can meet or exceed the needs that are required to support the capabilities of a NOC. When choosing a facility to host a NOC there are many considerations to be taken into account, but to name a few the overall building power and redundant backup power, such as a building generator, are requirements. Access to the building, to include any combination locks, biometric access points, loading area security, perimeter security fencing, and local security guards, are all instrumental elements to ensuring that the facility maintains a high level of security. Part of the overall building requirements when choosing an ideal facility is to first ensure that it has enough space and cooling to accommodate all of the necessary equipment that will be operated within. Once inside a building it is dire to ensure that all network cables are secured whenever they leave the NOC by putting them in a protective covering, such as a conduit, to ensure the network is not being monitored or tampered with in any way. There are many elements to take into account when choosing a location that can accommodate a high level of security and importance as with that which is needed to house a network operations center.

As part of ensuring the overall physical security for a facility to host critical operations that are provided by a NOC there are many different considerations. First and foremost is to ensure the building is secure by having locks on all doors, security cameras put in place, guards posted and logging all access into the building, and any necessary alarms installed onto any doors. Part of ensuring the overall security of a building is to monitor the state of the building by monitoring door alarms, monitoring security cameras watching for any suspicious activity, signing in any visitors to the building and ensuring they have access to only areas they have the clearance for, and lastly conduct background investigations on employees to ensure they are trustworthy to protect the building and its contents. Another area of physical security to consider is to secure all networking cables by placing the cables in a secure housing, such as a metal conduit, whenever they traverse an unsecured room or area. Another part of physical security is to ensure all networking equipment is secure by having it in a locked room or locked equipment rack with only authorized persons having access (Bogue, 2003). Much like with ensuring security personnel are trustworthy, any and all employees who work inside the NOC should have background investigations to ensure they are trustworthy to work with or handle the level of security classification for the data they are handling. Another part of physical security is to have policies in place to ensure all computers and documentation is put in an authorized secure location, like a safe, when the systems or documentation is not being used. One portion of the policies should identify that all backups must be stored in a secure different geographical location. There are many different areas of consideration when ensuring the physical security for a network operations center.

In conclusion, when choosing a location to host a network operations center there are many factors to consider that apply to where the network operations center will reside. Some of the concerns are with the facility itself, but there are also concerns that go beyond the facility and are related to the surrounding area. When hosting a network operations center there are many physical secure concerns to take into account. Ensuring the physical security of the facility and networking equipment aids in ensuring the data that is being monitored and housed inside the NOC is secured.

References
1. (2001, May 11th). T1/E1/PRI Technology Overview. Retrieved February 7, 2009, from Patton Electronics Co. Web site: [URL Removed Broken link]
2. Bogue, Robert (2003, August 11th). Lock IT Down: Don’t overlook physical security on your network. Retrieved February 7, 2009, from Lock IT Down: Don’t overlook physical security on your network Web site: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5054057.html

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