‘Hello, the support here.’
‘Hello, I’d like to ask about the status of your service. I am currently unable to access it.’
‘Any idea how long it’s going to take to come back online.’
‘I’m looking into it. Thank you for your submission.’
That had to be among the most boring dialogues in history. But in fact, that’s how the Internet’s infrastructure keeps standing. The ability to quickly signal a problem to authorized personnel and ask for support or information helps ensure online stability and reliability.
Points of Contact (POCs) are an indispensable tool in countless mediums, and we will soon see how they help with the overall stability of domains, websites, networks, and online services.
For this article, we will focus on defining Point of Contact (POC) Records from a networking perspective. More specifically, we will cover POC Records under the RIR (Regional Internet Registries) management.
Feel free to have a look at ARIN’s database and how they organize the POC records based on different directories.
- What is a point of contact?
- What are Point of Contact (POC) Records in RIR?
- What do Point of Contact (POC) records typically contain?
- What types of Point of Contact (POC) records are there?
- POC Records are an important part of the WHOIS database
What is a point of contact?
In general, a point of contact is a person or medium that provides information or support. It is someone who can be reached for help or advice. It can also be a communication channel (email address or phone number, etc) people can use to ask for information.
In simpler terms, a point of contact acts as a resource for individuals looking for help or information. The concept has many practical applications. Actually, it’s the reason why lots of things in lots of domains are able to work properly and give individuals the chance to stay informed and report any issues.
The online world makes extensive use of such ideas, and this is why point of contact (POC) records exist in the Internet’s infrastructure and have a close relationship with the WHOIS database
What are Point of Contact (POC) Records in RIR?
When it comes to networking and the Internet’s overall organization, Point of Contact (POC) records hold information that identifies a certain person or organization. These entities can be contacted for information or support for a specific domain name, website, network, or online service.
POC records are an important aspect of the overall Internet. They help ensure that domain names, websites, and other online services can be effectively managed, maintained, and resolved in case of any issues.
These records usually include the name, address, email, and phone number of the POC, and are used to communicate clearly and directly about various technical, administrative, or legal issues that may arise.
They are typically managed by domain name registrars and other organizations that oversee the registration and administration of domain names and other internet resources.
By having accurate and up-to-date POC records, organizations can ensure that their online presence remains secure and easily accessible and that their customers or users can quickly reach the right people for help and support.
What do Point of Contact (POC) records typically contain?
The POC records have to include everything users need to efficiently ask for information or report problems. The exact information contained in a POC record can vary, but typically includes:
- Contact Name: The name of the individual, organization, or domain owner that can be contacted for information or support;
- Contact Address: The physical address of the contact, including the street address, city, state, and zip code;
- Contact Email: The email address of the contact, which can be used to ask for information or support;
- Contact Phone Number: The phone number that can be used to reach the respective individual or organization:
- Administrative Contact: Information about the person or organization responsible for administrative issues related to the domain name, website, network, or online service;
- Technical Contact: Information about the person or organization responsible for technical issues related to the domain name, website, network, or online service.
- Billing Contact: Information about the person or organization responsible for billing and payment issues related to the domain name, website, network, or online service.
Point of contact (POC) records have to be permanently kept up-to-date to make sure that domain names, websites, and other online services can be effectively managed, maintained, and resolved in case of any issues.
What types of Point of Contact (POC) records are there?
Because Points of Contact (POC) have to take care of an organization’s Internet number resources (IP addresses, domains, and Autonomous Systems), responsibilities have to be clearly determined.
There are several types of Point of Contact (POC) records, each with a specific role and responsibility. Let’s have a look at the most common types of POC records.
Administrative contact is the most important type of record. It handles administrative issues. These are typically related to a domain name, website, network, or online service.
Issues can come up as a result of domain name renewals, changes to the registrant information, or disputes over the use of a domain name.
Technical contact deals with the technical issues that hinder the functioning of domains, websites, or other online services.
There might be technical problems with a website, there might be DNS configuration errors or faulty email services. Either way, the technical contact has to provide accurate and up-to-date information for its users. Usually, there are two types of technical POC records:
Organizational Tech Contact (Mandatory)
It can update the Organization Identifiers (Org ID) – a sort of repository that contains all the information defining a certain organization.
This POC can manage these resources, update them, or request additional resources. Not only that, but it can also transfer resources as it sees fit.
Resource Tech Contact (Optional)
Resource Tech POC can have authority over a resource. For example, it can oversee the allocation of IP address space or an Autonomous System Number (ASN).
This authority can be endorsed by the Admin, Tech, or Resource Tech POC, depending on that specific resource.
The Resource Tech POC can change the attributes of a resource, like its name and the public comments displayed in the WHOIS database. Even if it has this authority, it does not prevent the Organizational Tech POC from also making changes.
Billing and payment issues fall under the billing contact’s responsibilities. Such issues can hinder, for example, invoicing, payment processing, or renewals.
This acts as a contact for reporting and resolving resource abuse. This means it handles reports of abuse or malicious activity related to a domain name, website, network, or online service. This can include issues such as spam, phishing, and other types of malicious behavior.
Organizational NOC Contact
A network operations center (NOC) is an important component of an organization. It takes care of the enterprise’s infrastructure, including firewalls, network devices, servers, and databases, among many others.
In this context, the NOC POC helps individuals get in touch with competent authorities that can handle network operation issues.
The Routing POC records handle Internet Routing Registry, as well as Resource Private Key Infrastructure (RPKI) certification information for the organization. Internet Routing Registries (IRRs) are databases that contain data about internet routes and addresses. SPs and network operators use them to manage and exchange routing information, ensuring that data can be properly routed between different networks on the internet.
IRRs provide a way for ISPs and network operators to publish and maintain accurate information about their networks (Autonomous System Numbers and routing IP number prefixes), helping to prevent problems such as network outages or misrouted data.
As for the RPKI, it is a measure employed by network operators to secure the routing infrastructure. It is both a security measure and a legitimate proof of ownership of those resources.
With all this sensitive information, POC records have to be carefully maintained and keep their actuality 24/7.
Domain Name System (DNS) Contact
This contact is responsible for reverse and secure DNS information of the organization. DNS POC is tasked with managing the DNS zone file for a specific domain name. This can include adding, modifying, and deleting DNS records.
POC Records are an important part of the WHOIS database
As the encyclopedia of domains, the WHOIS database has to ensure transparent, reliable, and accessible information. It contains records of all the contact information associated with the person or organization that registers a specific domain name.
There are millions of web domains worldwide, and WHOIS has grown so much over the years. The fact that this database is free and publicly available underlines the important part POC records play in the well functioning of the online world.
Because of that, POC records have to be clearly stated and kept up-to-date. They provide a clear and direct means of communication between the registrant of a domain name and the wider Internet community.
Having accurate and up-to-date POC records in the WHOIS database allows for effective management and resolution of various technical, administrative, or legal issues related to domain names and websites.
For example, if a technical issue arises with a website, the technical contact POC record can be used to quickly reach the right person or organization for help.
Accurate Point of Contact (POC) records help promote transparency and accountability. They aid in managing the Internet’s core resources by providing users with efficient and reliable communication channels.
Contact information like telephone numbers, email addresses, or physical addresses is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. And that’s for the better, since each POC, and by default, its record has distinct responsibilities.
There are many types of Point of Contact (POC) records out there, but this makes access to information easier and helps solve the many problems that might impede the well functioning of domains, websites, networks, or online services.