Creating an MSP business
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Going private, creating an MSP business and an acquisition trail have helped Barracuda in the MSP space. Jason Howells, Director of EMEA at Barracuda MSP explains.
In 2015, Barracuda made the strategic decision to enter the MSP space, and the company felt it was important to not just have an MSP partner programme, but an MSP business.
“Service providers need something different to the traditional channel and that’s why we pride ourselves on having a dedicated team that is self-sufficient in terms of sales, marketing and technical capabilities, so we can deliver to those MSPs what they need, and don’t need to have an MSP programme,” says Barracuda MSP director of EMEA, Jason Howells.
“We’ve been working on adding a lot more of the Barracuda portfolio as well as new acquisitions, and building out products that we feel are very relevant to the MSP space right now – it’s just the beginning of an exciting journey,” he adds.
The results in the years since have been impressive; in March, the company announced that its annual recurring revenue for MSP security solutions had increased 120 percent year over year; its internal MSP partner base had increased 280 percent over the past two years; and that the number of MSPs using multiple Barracuda solutions grew 34 percent year-over-year.
Security products have played a big part in this; as small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) who may have previously felt they did not need protection, are now making security a priority.
“They’re being targeted with the rise in phishing and other attacks, and so it’s become important for smaller businesses to ensure they’re covered by investing in best-of-breed technology at extremely reasonable rates,” says Howells.
In line with Barracuda’s success in the MSP market around security offerings, the company recently acquired Managed Workspace, a security-centric remote monitoring and management platform for MSPs, from Avast.
“The Managed Workspace acquisition came after a series of other acquisitions which made us the security leader in the MSP space, in particular around e-mail security. Managed Workplace is more of a foundational product that MSPs use at the core of their businesses to be able to provide the services they provide to their customers,” says Howells.
“I think customers of traditional resellers and MSPs are going to need more services from them, and this will definitely be the case in the SMB market, the technology needs be driven down to these businesses who didn’t worry about it in the past.”
Barracuda’s shift in strategy has also come at a time during another significant change; the company went private at the end of 2017, with private equity firm Thoma Bravo taking ownership. Last year, CEO BJ Jenkins suggested that the company was able to operate much more swiftly, meaning it was less likely that an acquisition would fall through. This has been important as resellers and channel partners have tried to focus more on a service model, rather than a product-model, the company has been able to find the right blend of services to offer its partners through acquisitions.
“It has allowed us to make the investments we’ve needed to make to set up for the success we’ve seen over the last few years, and we’re perhaps ahead of the curve compared to other vendors,” says Howells.
Over the next few years, Howells believes Barracuda MSP will focus more on its email protection portfolio as that’s where its customers are requiring the most support. He says that the company is also likely to expand its team, and that it will continue its focus on supporting companies who are shifting to a services model.
“I think customers of traditional resellers and MSPs are going to need more services from them, and this will definitely be the case in the SMB market, the technology needs be driven down to these businesses who didn’t worry about it in the past,” Howells says.
One of the key obstacles that still remains despite the company going private and creating a separate MSP business, is educating MSPs on the importance of email security.
“It’s amazing how many times we see an MSP and once we talk through the portfolio we’ve got and they understand it, they realise how many of their customers need this because they’ve been hit by a spear phishing attack or another type of issue,” Howells explains.