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Sharing the burden..

Partnerships are the way forward for MSPs facing a heightened risk of staff burnout, says Barracuda MSP

Jason Howells, VP International Sales, Barracuda MSP, is warning MSPs to pay greater attention to staff wellbeing in light of Barracuda Network’s recently published report, The Evolving Landscape of the MSP Business, which highlights growing concerns around employee burnout in MSPs employing between 5 and 250 employees.

Nearly one in five (16%) of the 500 MSP decision-makers and knowledge workers surveyed for the report, published to coincide with May’s MSP Day, believe the average employee is highly stressed, with 56% describing stress levels as moderate.

Howells points out that with an industry-wide skills shortage and ever more demanding customers the MSP community faces a growing risk of employee burnout and a need for more awareness and education around mental health and employee wellbeing.

“We all have a responsibility to make sure that our employees don’t get to a point where they can’t look after themselves, because if they can’t look after themselves, they certainly won’t be able to look after their customers. I’m pleased that the leaders we spoke to through this research are starting to realise it, are starting to recognise it, and hopefully are starting to act on it,” he said.

Rising stress levels are being fuelled by more demanding customers, cited by 45%, particularly in the areas of digital transformation and cyber security. In fact, 80% say their customers are increasingly fearful of being breached by cyber criminals and are looking to them for help, putting yet more pressure on MSPs to deliver.

Evolving cyber security regulations are another source of anxiety. Only one third (36%) of respondents are confident of being fully compliant with cybersecurity regulations. The same number complain that there are too many rules to comply with.

Vendors have a role to play in helping MSPs address these concerns. Almost all respondents (98%) say they need additional vendor support in at least one area, such as security incident response planning (cited by 44%), hybrid working best practices (50%) and marketing support (44%).

Doing its bit

Howells says Barracuda MSP is doing its bit to help MSPs manage greater workloads by continuing to invest in areas that allow it to work in partnership with its customers.

“Earlier in the year, we acquired a company called Skout, which gives us the opportunity to take some of the burden off MSPs. The first thing MSPs need is visibility into what’s going on with their customers’ security posture. Once they understand that, they need to be able to remove the noise and identify the stuff that needs remediation.

“With our Extended Detection and Response services we have a Security Operation Centre staffed by security analysts who are specialists and who are accredited in this space. It’s very well established, by which I mean we’ve got actual human beings behind the technology, and that is going to be a differentiator for us and a differentiator for our partners.

“When something happens, not if, because cyber criminals are far more active and sophisticated now than they’ve ever been, there’s no emergency services number for a business to call. Instead, those customers are going to call their MSPs for help. We do a lot of the heavy lifting for our MSP partners. We do most of the work so that they can focus on what they’re good at; we help them get trained in that space; and we help them show that they have remediated any problems and that they’re doing a good job.”

Howells added: “We have an awesome team already and are making investments to expand on that team. Skout is a good example. I’ve no doubt that going forward we will continue to make the investments that we need to be able to hold up our end of the bargain with our partners.

Opportunity for growth

Overall, the report provides further evidence of strong growth and opportunity within the MSP sector in the US, EMEA and ANZ regions, with MSPs expecting to increase their revenue by more than one third this year to an average of $12.12 million, up from $8.93 million in 2021.

Managed services as a proportion of total income are expected to rise to 63%, up from 53% in 2021. On average, MSPs plan to to add six new services to their managed services portfolio, compared to an average of four new services last year.


Cyber-security is seen as a key growth area, with 92% of respondents recognising the need to be more focused on security than ever before. The biggest opportunities are seen as network security (38%), endpoint security (33%) and network monitoring and management (33%).

Howells said: “Cyber security should be at the very heart of MSPs’ business development and investment plans. We saw a natural evolution from break-fix to offering managed services, and the data in the report shows that MSPs are increasing the percentage of their revenues that come from managed services. I think the next evolution is for them to become security centric MSPs and eventually maybe full MSSPs. Somewhere in between those points is where we can help: we can get them onto that journey and on the right path.”

He added: “MSPs that focus on and lead with cybersecurity are the ones that will benefit most from the opportunity that is in front of us all right now.”

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