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MSPs Witnessing ‘Turbocharged’ Sales In ‘Banner Year’ 2021

“The pipeline we see is that the second half of the year will absolutely be off the charts,” said John Marler, president and CEO of Houston-based solution provider Set Solutions.

MSPs who saw strong revenue growth in the first half of 2021 are setting high expectations for the rest of the year amid strong demand for cloud and security services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some MSPs expect the second half of the year to be even stronger than the first half as more businesses across the country begin reopening their offices and adjusting to hybrid work models.

“The pipeline we see is that the second half of the year will absolutely be off the charts,” said John Marler, president and CEO of Houston-based solution provider Set Solutions.

As many customers no longer require in-office work five days a week and find themselves supporting a larger mobile workforce, there’s a deeper focus on remote monitoring of systems, data movement and how to lock down endpoints, said Marler said.

“Companies are still dealing with the friction of coming back to work, getting projects moving, understanding requirements and trying to work together in a virtual format. Ironically enough that’s still an issue—how they scale back up. For the second half we expect double-digit growth, it’s going to be a very good second half.”

[Related: How Military Background Helps MSSP CEO Tackle Cybersecurity]

That’s on top of the high single-digit to low double-digit growth Set Solutions saw in the first half of 2021 due to many CIOs and CEOs hitting the “accelerator” in terms of cloud, Marler said.

“Cloud workloads moved really, really fast last year,” said Marler. “The analogy that I use is we almost moved 10 years forward in technology within the time span of about a year. There were a lot of projects that were planned, they were in motion and last year we went into a shelter-in-place scenario. A lot of CIOs and CEOs just hit the accelerator and said, ‘It all goes.’”

A large part of the first-half growth Set Solutions saw was due to companies reopening and trying to release budgets.

“We had to punt last year pretty aggressively to make shelter in place work and to keep businesses open,” he said. “This year is all about how do we go back and address those gaps that we created last year in that sudden shift for the workforce.”

For MSSP BlackLake Security, the firm can’t hire fast enough after seeing sales growth of more than 35 percent in the first half of 2021, compared to the first half of 2020.

“We need more feet on this street,” said Mark Jones, founder and CEO of the Austin, Texas-based company. “We need to educate and bring in more bodies to this business. I used to think we’re in the seventh or eighth inning of cybersecurity, [but] we’re in the first.”

Most of that is due to “pent-up demand” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. “We saw that proofs of concept were taking longer because nobody was there to do them,” he said. “So now, moving into 2021, with most everybody back in the office, or at least working from home in a very efficient manner, the growth rates that we’ve been seeing as a company are back.”

All of this is a recipe for an even better second half of 2021 for the cybersecurity services firm. “The second half even looks better,” he said. “It could be a banner year for us as a company. We’re trying to hire. I can’t hire fast enough.”

Michael Crean, president and CEO, president and CEO of master MSSP Solutions Granted, Woodbridge, Va., said 2020 was a good year for growth, with many MSPs having a hard time keeping up.

“I would say 70 percent to 75 percent of our MSPs had a growth year in 2020,” he said. “The growth seems to have been turbocharged. There’s been fuel put on the fire. … There’s a lot more opportunity for them to engage with their clients, to take care of them, to support them and to give them their new normal.”

Solutions Granted “easily” saw double-digit growth in the first half of 2021, Crean said.

“We have hired [for] 10 new positions. We’re not talking about backfilling, we’re just talking about more positions, and a lot of them are coming into our [security operations center],” he said. “People are really looking for that live eyes, 24/7 monitoring. There’s a lot of great technology out there, a lot of great machine learning and artificial intelligence, but nothing really replaces the human mind.”

Security services are “aggressively growing” at the moment, he said, making it easier for MSPs to take hold of the market and see exponential growth after a challenging year.

“It really does make a difference to how you can effectively secure that mobile workforce and give them that modern office,” he said. “Having more of those services, not just the product but having the monitoring team and the services behind it ... those two are really big areas that are massive in growth right now.”

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