Leading the company is Chief Executive Officer Keith Archibald and Chief Operating Officer Leslie Rudolph, who have 32 employees, 20 of whom are focused fulltime on cybersecurity. Strategically, the company focuses on delivering cost-effective solutions to middle market businesses.
Ballast’s Middle Market Strategy
Ballast also offers standard IT managed services (network/workstation/server management), which allows the business to maintain administrative access into customer environments to ensure they remain reliable and secure.
As Archibald explained:
“Most middle market companies do not have the budget or expertise to effectively secure their environments. Cybersecurity focus was lacking due to other budget priorities, and we set out to create co-managed solutions that enable our customers to immediately leverage industry best practices. Better, faster and cheaper for us is a reality due to the way we built and operate our business."
Further to Ballast’s strategy, the company identifies middle market companies that are typically going through the most change and do not have the executive bandwidth or technical expertise to handle rapid changes in their business.
Commenting on its middle market focus, Rudoph said:
“Changes in ownership or leadership, new cybersecurity insurance requirements, compliance requirements, rapid growth or the need to cut IT operating costs are all catalysts for us to enter a relationship with a middle market company. The need for efficiency and technological advances both drives the need for our advisory services. Advisory services leads to the need for professional services projects, which leads to managed services."
Accordingly, Ballast recognized that most companies didn’t have the operational budget or the amount of consistent complex work to hire and retain top technical talent. So, they hired the best and brightest engineers they knew. Ballast also strategically built a team of service-minded and experienced technology professionals with a passion for taking care of customers.
Archibald emphasized that strategic partnerships are key to modern IT operations, as Ballast started building relationships with best-in-breed technology and software companies.
Commenting on its business relationships, Archibald said:
“We looked for products that enable automation and leverage AI/ML. Our service partners are aligned with our focus and are built to operate with other partners, so both operate within our zone of responsibility.”
Ballast’s Smartest Business Moves of 2022
Rudolph notes that focusing on vulnerability management services and continuing to drive endpoint security patching and endpoint detection and response (EDR) services “get customers secure and keep them secure.”
But were there any missteps last year that Ballast overcame? The answer is yes. As Archibald recalled:
“One misstep is that we occasionally wasted our focus on things that aren’t strategically aligned with our long-term objectives. When starting a business, you tend to do tactical things to build revenue and customer relationships, and sometimes those things are distractions.
“Another key learning has been to always partner with the right companies that are aligned and complimentary. We brought in a partner with different objectives, and it did not end well. There must be cohesion and mutual respect and objectives should be understood and aligned up front. It’s not always about immediate profitability, and if the partnership works, the dollars will come eventually.”
As for key customer wins or alliances, Rudolph notes strategic alliances with N-able, SentinelOne and Fortra as being instrumental in driving service revenue.
Commenting on the relationship, Rudoph said:
“We do not resell the products but purchase them ourselves and offer them as a bundled service to customers. We have also partnered with Deep Seas, formerly Security on Demand, to provide specialized security services and that has worked well.”
The Road Ahead
Ballast’s key priorities for 2023 center on maturing its front-end security assessment services with the addition of active directory assessment services, as well as launching formal security remediation services with forensics and restoral capabilities.
Archibald explained how going to market with outbound sales and marketing is an important area of emphasis during 2023:
“Our business growth has been through relationships and referrals. We recently rebranded with our look and feel, have invested in HubSpot, ZoomInfo and other tools, and are starting sales enablement outbound campaigns to raise awareness of our services. We are also investing heavily in our sales team to continue our growth momentum."
Offering a final thought, Rudolph said:
“Ballast continues to experience strong growth in revenue and profitability in our advisory, professional and security managed services. We are a service-only company and are extremely focused on our client relationships. That gives us an edge as a trusted advisor.”