net.work

The Way Business Is Moving

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Issue Date: November 2008

Mail wranglers

November 2008
Simon Dingle

Functioning without e-mail is impossible. It may be dated. You might have latched onto some new, shiny, Web 2.0 way of communicating. But most of your customers, colleagues, partners and friends are still heavily reliant on good old e-mail. It is here to stay and your business relies on it. Mimecast claims it can help you keep it up and take it to the next level.

Modern business grinds to a halt without e-mail. And yet no one seems to have a definitive solution for it. Some scratch at the perfect e-mail scenario, but just fall short. Unless I am wrong it does not seem that anyone is 100% happy with the way their e-mail is provided and works. Mostly, we all just want it to arrive timeously, be backed up forever and easily searchable. Mimecast aims to provide the ultimate e-mail management solution and might just have the answer we are all looking for.
Gartner says Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud computing are here to stay. Make peace with it, because it is the future. And Mimecast is a comprehensive (to say the least) SaaS answer to e-mail.
A pure SaaS vendor
“Mimecast is a pure SaaS vendor,” says Garth Wittles, managing director of Mimecast. “We bring continuity to the e-mail space. There is some confusion between continuity and disaster recovery. The latter describes a solution designed to rebuild or reconstitute when failure occurs. But continuity solutions keep you running during a failure.”
Mimecast has coined the term ‘unified e-mail management’ or UEM to describe its offering. Wittles says that other solutions tend to focus just on security or archiving, whereas Mimecast UEM is designed to holistically take care of all areas of e-mail management.
“Of course, security is a key component of UEM – protecting the organisation against e-mail-born malware,” he explains. “People think of viruses and spam as primary threats to e-mail, but there are outbound threats too, which is why Mimecast has data loss, or leak, prevention. Our solution is also different in that it does not use quarantine folders and we guarantee no false positives.”
Mimecast also provides archiving of its client’s e-mail, which is stored at two data centres. These are linked with fibre in a grid for load balancing via an active clustered environment. If one site goes down everything is routed via the other. Being a grid setup, no data is lost. So your e-mail should always be safe.
And then continuity of e-mail is delivered either via a Web interface or directly into Outlook.
“Users can route through Mimecast directly from Outlook and with offline functionality. This allows them to stay in their typical environment. And they can search their e-mail archive from within Outlook too. Searches are completed in under four seconds from Outlook,” says Wittles. “The rapid search functionality is thanks to Mimecast’s federated search infrastructure that allows us to guarantee performance, even over the Internet.”
Mail-server agnostic?
He claims that Mimecast is mail-server agnostic. It will also keep your business connected to its e-mail if your Exchange server, for example, goes down by routing straight to Mimecast’s facilities.
And if Wittles is right the solution will also scale well for organisations with from 25 users to 25 000.
The solution is so robust, according to the guys at Mimecast, that they will even recommend storing documents by e-mailing them to yourself. Most vendors would have a heart attack at this suggestion, but Wittles says it is only because their solutions are not capable enough.
“Mimecast is designed to be a long term e-mail archive with reliable storage. It will also keep your Exchange environment healthy and bolster its performance. And should your Exchange server go down it can be recovered very quickly from Mimecast,” he states.
The solution also offers e-mail CIM – a formatting service that not only makes e-mail look nice, but also adds in all the legal stuff some companies need at the tail of their messages.
Opinion
A Microsoft employee once told me that users should never use e-mail as a storage medium. But why not? If you are able to securely and robustly store all your e-mail and have a mechanism to quickly and accurately search it then e-mail provides an awesome timeline of your business. Documents and communication to you in the inbox, and from you in the outbox – all stored in searchable, chronological order – and backed up. Just do your thing and trust your e-mail provider to store it. Continuity built in. Of course, one would have to drive compliance too, but from a practical use perspective this approach could be combined with the other more mundane ways of keeping records. If Mimecast can truly enable that then where do I sign up?


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