CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Neal Bradbury, senior director of business development for Barracuda MSP, to its prestigious list of Channel Chiefs, which represents the top leaders in the IT channel who excel at driving growth and revenue in their organizations through channel partners.
Channel Chief honorees are annually selected by CRN’s editorial staff based on their professional achievements, standing in the industry, dedication to the channel partner community, and strategies for driving future growth and innovation. CRN applauds each of the 2019 Channel Chiefs for demonstrating loyalty and ongoing support for the IT channel by consistently promoting, defending, and executing outstanding channel partner programs. We spoke with Neal to get his thoughts on this recognition and what he is looking forward to from the channel moving ahead.
Q: Congratulations on being named to CRN’s 2019 Channel Chief list. This is your 7th year being named to this list, what does this recognition mean to you?
It’s a great honor to receive the award for the 7th time. It’s truly a privilege to work in the channel with such great people, with our aligned MSP partners, and with my colleagues at Barracuda. It’s not just an award for me, but it’s an award for everyone at Barracuda MSP that reinforces the commitment we have towards helping MSPs succeed in their businesses.
Q: What is the largest initiative that you are looking to accomplish in 2019?
My biggest initiative is educating partners on why they should evaluate or upgrade their security posture. This is a two-part process: First and foremost, MSPs need protect their own business before doing anything else. Second, they need to address their customers’ growing security needs and secure their business-critical data.
A large component of this is education. MSPs should not only educate SMBs on security best practices, but HOW to keep their business secure and which technologies they should utilize to accomplish this.
All too often, customers are bombarded with news on the latest cyberattack or threat. This is causing many SMBs to suffer from security fatigue. With so much noise about the latest cyberthreats, MSPs need to be persistent about educating how to avoid these attacks — rather than just tuning the latest news story out.
Q: How has the channel changed over the last several years?
The two things that come to mind are the increased maturity and consolidation. Due to the growing success of the MSP channel, we’ve seen a ton of consolidation. Vendors and MSPs alike have been acquiring other companies to expand their offerings and grow their businesses. Vendor consolidation allows MSPs to simplify their vendor relationships and offer more integrated solutions to their customers.
Another thing that has significantly changed, is the security threat landscape. Over the last few years, security threats have become more prevalent and the risks associated with them are much higher. MSPs need to be vigilant as the security landscape continues to evolve.
Q: Are there any recent developments in the channel that have caught your eye or excited you?
As I mentioned, the volume of mergers and acquisitions has caught my eye. But, in terms of excitement, it is exciting to see the number of partners who have started to leverage cloud solutions increase. Four or five years ago, there was uncertainty and doubt about how the cloud would evolve. Today, MSPs have continued progressing by leveraging the cloud and changing their business models. As a result, they are now more successful.
Q: What do you think MSPs need to be more vigilant about in 2019?
Security is the clear focus. If you’re an MSP and you haven’t evaluated your offerings within the past six months, that is a concern. Things are evolving so fast that you need to educate yourself and evaluate your security offerings regularly. If you don’t have a process to review these offerings to address the latest threats, you are putting both your clients’ and your MSP business at risk.
The 2019 CRN Channel Chiefs list is featured in the February 2019 issue of CRN and online at www.crn.com/channelchiefs.
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