20 South Partners and subsidiary company ISPN Network Services last month announced the acquisition of iGLASS Networks, an outsourced Network Operations Center (NOC) provider based in Cary, North Carolina who works with local ISPs, MSOs, and other small providers nationwide.
According to an Apr. 5 press release, in the acquisition, iGLASS is maintaining all management and staff employees as it joins ISPN Network Services in the 20 South Partners portfolio. ISPN is a provider of 24x7 customer support and managed IT services for broadband providers across North America.
According to the companies, the addition of iGLASS will bring together two complementary businesses and further 20 South Partners' mission of helping people stay connected.
NOC as a Service
iGLASS, founded in 1997, has built a strong reputation for delivering "NOC as a Service" technology to its customers across the broadband, healthcare, IT, and financial services verticals. The company has deep expertise in network operations and specializes in 24x7 monitoring of IT infrastructure.
The iGLASS platform integrates heterogenous network performance data in a unified display, offering businesses unique visibility into all aspects of their broadband connection, from data center to the premises. iGLASS and ISPN together now bring a fully-fledged network monitoring and troubleshooting platform to customers.
20 South Partners comprises a collection of leading managed service provider companies with the shared mission of helping people stay connected. The group was founded in 2018 and is run by co-founders Jeff Neblett and Scott Lauber.
Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, 20 South Partners made its first acquisition of ISPN in 2020 and is focused on partnering with managed services businesses who share its "Customer First" core value. Jeff Neblett, CEO of 20 South Partners and ISPN, commented:
"This acquisition will allow us to provide ISPN customers with an even wider range of managed network services and tools, while also expanding our presence in healthcare, IT, and financial services. We are excited about the opportunities this will bring to our customers, employees, and stakeholders. We are thrilled to welcome iGLASS to 20 South Partners. We've gotten to know the iGLASS founders, Tim, Jack, and Woody, and the company's team well over the past two years. We appreciate their focus on excellent service delivery and the customer experience."
Tim Bolden, president and co-founder of iGLASS, remarked:
"For over 25 years, iGLASS has been a trusted source of network monitoring services for our clients. Our goal has always been to help customers maintain their networks and maximize uptime by providing unique monitoring solutions customized for each customer. We couldn't be more excited about joining forces with 20 South Partners and ISPN as we now bring a fully-fledged monitoring and troubleshooting solution to our customers. We have enjoyed getting to know Jeff, Scott [president and CFO of 20 South Partners and ISPN], and ISPN, and we are looking forward to improving our customers' connectivity together."
Saying no to tool sprawl and alert apathy
In a recent ISPN blog introducing iGLASS Networks, the companies contend that the iGLASS platform is the best means for broadband service providers (BSPs) to "combat 'tool sprawl' and 'alert apathy' with a single solution."
As reckoned by the companies:
Most broadband service providers use multiple hardware and software platforms to create a network that originates from a central core and extends across miles to homes and businesses of the BSP’s service area. Usually, the network is built on platforms from any number of companies...each offering its own tools to monitor their piece of the network. At the same time, BSPs manage internal networks (and tools) to run proprietary systems including, but not limited to, their websites, email, authentication software, and firewall security.
Using an excessive variety of tools to keep your network and internal systems humming for your customers can lead to the dreaded “tool sprawl." Network World describes tool sprawl as a situation that 'occurs when organizations acquire licenses (or not, in the case of open source) for multiple tools that tackle related, but not completely overlapping, issues.'
When you have multiple tools helping you manage your networks, monitoring each tool becomes burdensome. When you’re constantly bombarded by notifications, alerts, updates, and other messages that demand your attention, it can be easy to fall prey to alert apathy: if everything is important, nothing is important. If everything needs your attention, nothing gets your attention.
Unfortunately, some of these alerts are important, and your network can experience outages while you’re tuning them out. The question becomes, 'How best to prioritize and effectively address the key issues?' An integrated solution can help start to solve this problem.
iGLASS offers BSPs visibility into their networks and the health of customer equipment, with out-of-the-box support for DOCSIS, Adtran GPON (TA5K), Calix GPON (CMS, SMx and DPx) and Cambium fixed wireless.
As further detailed by the blog, iGLASS works with dozens of BSPs, along with enterprise clients in the finance, healthcare, and IT industries. The managed platform that iGLASS offers is customized for each client based on the specific environment they’ve built, and their desired level of performance monitoring.
The company notes that its development of new modules is customer-driven, so even if iGLASS hasn’t worked with a particular platform in the past, their team of experts can develop the integration. The company maintains that, in many cases, iGLASS renders legacy monitoring systems redundant, resulting in cost savings for BSP clients.
When an alert appears on the iGLASS platform—whether the BSP handles their own monitoring or calls on iGLASS’ 24/7 NOC staff—it provides a holistic view and identifies precisely where the problem most likely resides, i.e. at the network's core, somewhere in the middle mile, at the customer’s premises, etc. From there, the BSP can quickly deploy the right technician to the right location, effectively solving the problem and restoring service.