With the Al Abbar Group struggling to cope with malicious emails and targeted threats, it turned to Mimecast and implemented its advanced email security services.
“Our business communicates almost 100% through email,” says IT Director Manoj Gopalakrishnan. “We have to store email records for a long period to protect our business from claims and litigation. We also need to be able to quickly and easily search for information from these archives at any time. One lost email could result in not having adequate backing or supporting information when faced with a claim.”
This means that any email Al Abbar sends or receives needs to be immediately archived and easily discoverable when needed – a requirement that their previous solution was unable to provide.
“Another challenge we experienced with our previous solution was the cost of storage. Being a project driven company, we store communications relating to each project for the full duration of the warranty and compliance period, so our storage requirements are massive. We were spending approximately $75,000 to $100,000 per year on NAS storage alone, which was not sustainable. Also, finding a particular email was time-consuming and inefficient,” says Gopalakrishnan.
Given the importance of this data, keeping it secure and available was also essential. Finding the right email security provider and continuity service was also an important need.
Al Abbar first adopted the Mimecast Cloud Archive for unlimited email archiving and e-discovery services. This gave them a central repository of corporate data that is 100% available and stored for 99 years in the Mimecast cloud, a fully secure, encrypted, immutable and redundant system.
The e-discovery capabilities streamlined governance and compliance, giving end-users access to the fastest search in the industry.
“Not only was the interface user-friendly but the email discovery and retrieval process was simple and instantaneous, allowing us to immediately hand over all communication records to our legal department when needed.”
Gopalakrishnan says his high storage costs immediately fell away when adopting Mimecast, resulting in massive cost savings for the company. “Because Mimecast’s storage is elastic, it can scale with the business as our needs change. Also, the unlimited data storage and recovery period was appealing to us because most vendors only offer a five-year recovery period. Mimecast’s approach was straightforward and addressed my business requirements.”
The value of Mimecast’s email archiving and discovery solution naturally led Al Abbar to implement other Mimecast services, such as advanced email security services, including Targeted Threat Protection and Large File Send.
Before using Targeted Threat Protection, Al Abbar used several email gateway solutions and an on-premises email spam and filtering solution.
“Despite our investment in numerous solutions, together they were ineffective against various malicious emails that made it through the gateways, filters and into our network,” says Gopalakrishnan.
“We’ve removed all these solutions since switching to Mimecast and we’ve effectively blocked ransomware, spear phishing attacks and other malicious content. The monthly threat reports we receive from Mimecast provide complete visibility into what’s happening on the network, where the threats are coming from, and where we might still be vulnerable.”
Today, Al Abbar has more than 700 Mimecast users across the Middle East, Philippines and India, as well as roaming users spread across the world.
“Implementation was a piece of cake for us,” says Gopalakrishnan. “It was simple and straightforward. Mimecast’s tight integration with our on-premises Active Directory reduced a lot of the admin and workarounds required when employees join or leave.
“We also moved our on-premises Exchange server to Microsoft Office 365, using Mimecast as a gateway, with minimal issues. In four years, we’ve never experienced any email downtime thanks to Mimecast’s continuity offering and we can always easily access mails through the web console. With Mimecast, I probably have the fewest helpdesk calls.”
We asked Manoj Gopalakrishnan these further questions about the solution.
What was the most important factor that necessitated your decision to implement the solution?
The recognition of total cost of ownership drove us towards a cloud-based solution. The question of build verse buy is a thing of the past. Today it makes sense to rent/subscribe.
Why did you choose to work with the provider?
We evaluated many solutions but could only find one vendor who could offer a fully integrated email security, continuity and archiving cloud-based solution, that delivers end-to-end control of emails, mitigating email risk and reducing the complexity of infrastructure.
Did the system require any additional training for staff?
Not at all, configuration was a piece of cake. You just change the MX records, inbound and outbound servers and you are good to go. Other than that, we had one or two online sessions for operational training.
Could you tell us some more about the usefulness of the Targeted Threat Protection and Large File Send features?
Large File Send: Securely sending large files via email is a real problem. End users often seek out ways to bypass corporate gateways and turn to consumer applications to send and share large file content. However, these services often lack policy enforcement or content checking, and few offer archiving of email and attachments for discovery and retrieval at a later date. They compromise enterprise compliance and expose organisations to risk.
Mimecast Targeted Threat Protection: This is an advanced email security technology that protects employees against targeted zero-hour attacks in email. Targeted Threat Protection offers advanced protection from spear-phishing and other targeted email attacks which are primarily used to launch ransomware attacks. Its pre-emptive sandboxing security checks attachments before they are delivered.
How far has the system future proofed your company?
Email plays a vital role in our business. We must store email records for a long period to protect our business from claims and litigations. We also need to be able to quickly and easily search for information from these archives at any point.
One lost communication could result in improper backing in the event of a claim. An email archive solution that requires a lot of time or is expensive to maintain will inevitably affect its business value.
To future-proof our businesses we looked at systems with automated maintenance and ‘as-a-service’ platforms. Mimecast has helped us to improve employee productivity by providing email history, Disaster Recovery and has improved compliance requirements.
How long did it take to implement the solution?
Two weeks, apart from the ingestion of old archiving servers. This is because there were large volumes of user archives and local PST storage.