New Vertical Market Opportunities for MSPs in 2021

The widespread emergence of 5G, AI, blockchain, and IoT continue their march, leaving almost no vertical untouched.

Business Growth Opportunities

The past year has been an economic roller coaster across almost every sector, and MSPs have certainly not been immune. Businesses across the globe struggled during regional and global lockdowns, and supply chain disruptions wreaked havoc across many industries. Others, however, survived and even thrived, while requiring additional support because of the rapid shift to remote work. Cybersecurity threats continued to increase, with pandemic- and vaccine-related scams flourishing as networks and applications become more decentralized.

In a new eBook from Barracuda, author Kevin Williams outlines several opportunities for MSPs that could have a big pay-off this year, both in terms of new business and strengthening relationships with existing clients. You can download the eBook, The 6 Can’t-Miss Opportunities for MSPs in 2021, here.

Some of these opportunities are obvious—an increase in remote work will require a new approach to cybersecurity, and security-centric MSPs are well-positioned to gain that business. Before we get into the specifics of the eBook, there is a key theme running across all of these emerging opportunities: they span most vertical markets. New technologies that are being adopted across multiple industries also present some unique opportunities. According to the eBook:

The transformations have already begun, but the widespread emergence of 5G, AI, blockchain, and IoT will continue their march, leaving almost no vertical untouched. While trends were already in the making, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly acted as an accelerator in most cases.”

On the security side, MSPs will have a chance to leverage their security and cloud expertise with clients in new verticals. While specific use cases and regulatory concerns may vary by industry, just about everybody was tossed into the same boat when it came to remote access in 2020. Regarding ransomware, the eBook makes a point that the problem is affecting every type of organization:

No verticals are immune from ransomware, although MSPs who have clients in healthcare, education, and the government seem to be the most desirable targets for cybercriminals. Cities are attractive targets because they usually don’t have the budget for top-of-the-line IT talent on staff, but typically have the means to pay the ransom if they are victimized. And if the city opts not to pay, hackers have significant leverage, including access to critical services information and personal data. Being hit and succumbing to one ransomware attack is not always the end of the problems for victimized organizations either. When the news breaks, it can bring about a ‘circling sharks’ scenario, as other bad actors look to capitalize while the victims are trying to put the pieces back together. The bottom line is that ransomware is not going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, ransomware will become more pervasive as hackers adopt and adapt. MSPs need to confront the threat with a robust multi-pronged security approach.”

Six Key Opportunities

With that in mind, the eBook presents six areas where MSPs are well-positioned in 2021. Remember, these opportunities are not just restricted to the verticals where managed services already have a foothold. A wide variety of companies—from healthcare and manufacturing organizations to those in engineering, government, and a host of others—now find themselves in need of IT support for new remote work scenarios and security expertise.

Those opportunities include:

  • Work-from-home: Forced to work out of their houses, many employers found that not only do employees like this arrangement but were more productive in many cases. In fact, 22 percent of the workforce will likely be working from home through 2025. MSPs can help design and secure the required infrastructure for clients in just about every vertical.
  • Artificial intelligence: Expect an increase in AI deployments after a lull in 2020. But these solutions are only as good as the data that drives them—MSPs can help ensure AI-based security is effective.
  • Phishing: The phishing problem only got more pernicious as workers were scattered across many, often unsecured, networks. MSPs (leveraging advanced AI tools and automation) can help reduce the effectiveness of these attacks.
  • Ransomware: Like phishing, ransomware is the great equalizer across verticals; everyone is affected. MSPs will need to protect their internal operations and leverage a multi-pronged security approach (using anti-phishing, AI, gateways, and robust back-up and restore solutions) to help their clients.
  • Know the law: Legal requirements in every industry are getting more complicated, so MSPs will need to stay on top of the applicable laws in their existing verticals, as well as any emerging markets. That knowledge will be a valuable commodity.
  • Security partnerships: MSPs are increasingly targets of cybercriminals because of their access to multiple networks. Partnering with a cybersecurity specialist can help protect the internal network, while also improving the overall solution portfolio of your MSP business.

Keeping these six opportunities in mind and expanding your client base into new verticals with similar IT and security needs can help make 2021 an exceptional year for MSPs as the economy recovers.


Michael Mowder

Michael Mowder is the Senior Director of Global Partner Success for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for the partner journey from on-boarding, to implementation, through professional services and finally, renewal.