The State of the MSP 501: Data Highlights Emphasis on Security

The managed services market looks far different than when the MSP 501 debuted. Where do things stand post-pandemic?

Allison Francis

June 28, 2021

3 Min Read
MSP 501 logo 2021

You might be sick of hearing this by now, but the dumpster fire that was 2020 sure caused some interesting twists and shifts in the industry. Some surprising, others not so much. Industry trends are always on the move as it is, dragging us from pillar to post as they constantly evolve. Given these shakeups, we knew we’d see some interesting blips and bumps reflected in our MSP 501 data. We weren’t wrong.

The trends expected to shape 2021 and beyond really highlight how interwoven maturing technologies and emerging processes have become. It’s safe to say that service providers can anticipate the continuation of patterns such as the evolution of cloud computing. However, when you consider where the cloud is headed, the narrative changes. Cloud is already setting the stage for other developments, such as AI, edge computing and machine learning. Cybersecurity, one of the highest focuses for our 501ers, will continue to play a key role in the normalization of remote work. And it is predicted that robotic process automation (RPA) will become increasingly embedded in core business applications.

The data gleaned from the MSP 501ers shows that the movement is already there. We saw an interesting breakdown of the business practices providers are using. That, and where their focus is and likely be the rest of this year and beyond. Unsurprisingly, many, if not most MSPs have their eyes trained on managed security practices. 99 percent of our MSPs said that they offer managed security. Backup and disaster recovery (BDR), help desk/service desk and managed email/anti-spam came in hot on its heels at 97%, 95% and 92% respectively. RPA didn’t come in all that high, but 5% of MSPs say that they already offer that service. One percent say that it was a top revenue-producing solution in the last year. 

Industry Movement

The mass move to a remote workforce as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the concurrent growth of cloud services. This simultaneously raised the issue of, and the need to secure them. Employees accessing cloud-based collaboration tools and applications have expanded network boundaries to the individual home. And while we see some offices returning to “normal,” that model has been forever altered. 

Against that backdrop, providers and their customers must refocus and build up their cybersecurity efforts. Like, yesterday. 

As our data points out, many of our 501 businesses already have a great deal of maturity under their belts in this regard. 91 percent of our 501ers reported security as their biggest growth area in 2021. 58% of our respondents said that they consider managed security to be their top revenue-producing solution in the last year. We anticipate this number to grow exponentially, as more and more companies are recognizing the importance and vitality of these solutions. 

Other trends include an emphasis on help desk/service desk, backup and disaster recovery (BDR) and remote monitoring (servers, desktops, laptops and networks). This 

Looking Ahead

If the IT channel has taught us anything, it is that you must always be innovating, changing, growing and increasing your value proposition for customers. Our 501ers are on the cutting edge of these solutions, and are successfully riding the choppy waves of 2020 into this year and beyond. These shops are bursting with ingenuity and innovativeness, and this is most certainly reflected in the movement and growth of the 501 list. 

The Channel Futures MSP 501 webcast (sponsored by Ingram Micro) will take place on June 30. Please register for the webcast here.

About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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