AI benefits/risks, MSP, Channel partner programs, Channel partner events

Barracuda Networks Stakes AI as Key Need for MSPs, Partners

Humans and AI

Partnerships may be the life’s blood of Barracuda Networks’ MSP business focus — the importance of such relationships borne out in its new global MSP report.

Barracuda’s previous partner programs were based on partner type and geography, but the company unified the programs a year-and-a-half ago into a single global partner success program, Jason Beal, the company’s Global Technology Channel & GTM Operations Executive, told MSSP Alert.

Beal emphasized that unifying the partner programs was a top request from partners.

To correlate Barracuda’s partnership moves with fresh research data, The Evolving Landscape of the MSP Business 2024 report shows how MSPs around the world are embracing marketplaces and AI to better meet customer needs. But they worry about their lack of knowledge about AI and its applications. While providers are embracing marketplaces they also continue to worry about competition.

Report highlights include:

  • IT service providers expect 44% of revenue to come from recurring managed services in 2024, up from 34% in 2023.
  • Most are planning to introduce around six new services on average, and their most successful products are security related.
  • 77% of MSPs feel under pressure to offer customers AI insight and tools.
  • 92% say cloud marketplaces will enable them to reach customers more effectively.
  • 87% of MSPs need to know more about AI to meet customer needs.

As MSPs Seek Extra Support, is AI the Answer?

The cloud-first security solutions vendor’s seventh annual MSP report, undertaken together with Vanson Bourne, features the findings of an international survey of 700 MSP organizations. The report was released during Barracuda’s Global MSP Day on June 6, which included virtual and live events for MSP partners in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

“Like all organizations, MSPs face continuous change,” said Patrick O’Donnell, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales.Competition is increasing and routes to market are evolving, while emerging technologies and digital transformation are expanding the potential attack surface for cyber threats. That’s a lot to keep on top of, and the survey shows that more than half of MSPs are looking for extra support.

“Good partner/vendor relationships that deliver specialist experience in the field of security and AI-integration can help MSPs address some of the challenges and thrive in the competitive landscape of 2024 and beyond.”

More Businesses Scale Back, Rely on MSPs

The report shows that MSPs continue to shift from project-based customer support to a recurring services model. This year, MSPs expect 44% of their revenue to come from such recurring services, up from 34% in 2023. According to 92% of respondents, businesses are scaling back their in-house IT and relying more on MSPs. And this is likely to be a key driver for the rise in recurring services.

Customer demand is greatest for security products and services, Barracuda said. According to the survey, the top three solutions MSPs offer and support are security operations centers (42%), security awareness training (38%) and network security (36%). MSPs expect to expand their portfolio with an average of six new services overall during 2024. 

Other key findings include:

  • MSPs believe that cloud marketplaces will simplify operations. 92% of respondents identified cloud marketplaces as a crucial tool for strengthening their go-to-market strategy, with 47% of MSPs using cloud marketplaces already and 50% of the remaining respondents exploring the option.
  • Appetite for AI knowledge. 87% of MSPs surveyed say they need either significant or notable improvements in their knowledge and application of AI products and services. In addition, 77% of MSPs feel under pressure to offer customers AI insight and tools.
  • MSPs have concerns about their own security. 98% of MSPs believe they need to improve their internal security posture.
  • MSPs are realistic while being optimistic. While growth is expected in 2024, MSPs cited their top challenges as increased competition in the MSP market (48%), up from 44% in 2023; and lack of ability to help customers comply with government regulations (82%).

More About Barracuda

Barracuda’s product and service portfolio includes solutions to protect email, networks, data and applications. The “channel loyal” company claims 200,000 customers across its entire business.

Barracuda is hosting a partner summit conference June 10-12 in Austin, Texas.

Jim Masters

Jim Masters is Managing Editor of MSSP Alert, and holds a B.A. degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. His career has spanned governmental and investigative reporting for daily newspapers in the Northwest Indiana Region and 16 years in a global internal communications role for a Fortune 500 professional services company. Additionally, he is co-owner of the Lake County Corn Dogs minor league baseball franchise, located in Crown Point, Indiana. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and recording his own music, oil painting, biking, volleyball, golf and cheering on the Corn Dogs.