Case study: Pharmaceutical company turns to Mimecast to eliminate spam, ensure continuity and automate archiving

“Having Mimecast in place greatly simplified our Exchange 2010 migration; we were upgrading a number of systems at once, and the fact that Mimecast was in place meant that we had one less thing to worry about. Mimecast gave us real peace of mind.”
Max Rice, Technology Director, Summers Labs

Context

Summers Labs is a small, innovative pharmaceutical company that addresses the special needs of dermatology patients. As a small organization, Summers Labs meets its customers’ unique requirements by focusing on a few superior products that deliver the best possible outcomes. As a result, the company has grown almost exclusively through recommendations from dermatologists and pediatricians, as well as word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied patients.

Challenge

For years, Summers Labs relied on a traditional AS/AV solution with an interface that wasn’t user friendly and basic continuity features that were cumbersome and restrictive, including a manual failover and a six-hour maximum queue. The product also lacked any archiving functionality. So when the company began a complete infrastructure upgrade in 2010—including migrating from Exchange 2003 to 2010—the time was right to upgrade its AS/AV solution as well. “The AS/AV tool we had in place was good at a basic level,” explains Max Rice, Technology Director at Summers Labs, “but we wanted to incorporate enhanced business continuity features, such as continuous email uptime, and a long-term email archiving solution.”

More effective business continuity was especially important since Summers Labs communicates with customers, as well as its outside sales force, primarily via email. “If email is down, we can’t respond to customers,” says Rice. “Any email outage, even for a short period of time, can have a serious impact on our business.”

In addition, Summers Labs didn’t have a formal email retention policy or procedure, relying on the native archiving in Exchange, which offered limited storage and search functionality. “We used PST files for archiving, and we were experiencing more and more problems with this approach as the company grew,” Rice explains. “If we needed to find an archived email, we had to search through PST files, which was so difficult that users began to retain all messages in their inboxes. The size of inboxes was exploding and our backups were becoming onerous. We were looking for an archiving solution that could house our archives for the long term, as long as ten years, off site.”

Finally, because Summers Labs has a very small IT team, Rice wanted a solution that would be easy to manage and in particular, one that wouldn’t require additional servers, so a cloud-based model was his preference.

Solution

Rice evaluated a number of email management options, and when he participated in a Mimecast webinar as part of his research, he discovered that “Mimecast worked at a completely different level” than competitive solutions. “Mimecast offers a broad feature set, particularly when compared to other email management solutions,” Rice notes. “Many offer AS/AV filtering alone, and to incorporate continuity or archiving, we might have had to purchase additional tools from a number of vendors. With Mimecast, we get a comprehensive solution that includes AS/AV, continuity and archiving at a great value. We had expected to invest a lot more, but Mimecast is very cost effective, especially when we compared its cost with that of an on-premise solution.”

Rice describes the implementation of Mimecast as a simple, organized, step-by-step process. “We completed the cutover to Mimecast during business hours on our existing Exchange 2003 deployment,” he explains. “Then, when we migrated to Exchange 2010, we didn’t have to worry about email outages. Having Mimecast in place greatly simplified our Exchange 2010 migration; we were upgrading a number of systems at once, and the fact that Mimecast was in place meant that we had one less thing to worry about. Mimecast gave us real peace of mind.”

Benefits

Stops spam at the gateway
Even with an AS/AV solution in place, spam still reached user mailboxes at Summers Labs, and Rice dealt with user complaints on a regular basis. Summers Labs now uses Mimecast to block threats from entering the network in the first place. “Of the thousands of emails we receive each week, Mimecast blocks nearly 75 percent as spam,” Rice explains. “That means a significant amount of email never enters the Summers Labs network. We save bandwidth and improve network performance, and of course, keep spam out of our users’ inboxes, making them more satisfied and more productive.”

Provides seamless business continuity
Critical email must get through, and while Rice does everything in his power to prevent interruptions—scheduling downtime for off hours, for example—he has learned that Mimecast will do what he can’t. “I’m an IT team of one,” Rice says, “and it is my responsibility to ensure that everyone receives the emails they’re expecting. If we have server downtime, Mimecast ensures that email queues automatically. Plus, unlike our previous solution, which sometimes ‘lost’ emails, with Mimecast it is extremely easy to find a particular message; there is never a question about what happened to it.”

Provides automated email archiving
Mimecast’s automated archiving allows Rice to recover archived email in just seconds, and with the Outlook plug in, select users can even search their archive themselves.

For Summers Labs, one of the greatest benefits of Mimecast’s archiving feature is the 10-year retention capability. “Finding an archive that could store our email for the long term was an important consideration, and something that was unique to Mimecast,” Rice says. “We will set a limit on what can be stored locally, probably 18 months, and then transition to Mimecast and the cloud, reducing our server requirements.”

Reduced complexity, lower IT costs
As a one-man IT team, Rice needs to focus on initiatives and tasks that are most important to the business, and Mimecast has helped him maximize his time. At the same time, since Mimecast is a cloud-based solution, Summers Labs is able to minimize technology investments. “Mimecast makes it easy to find specific emails,” Rice comments. “We’ve virtually eliminated unplanned email downtime, and we’ve saved on storage costs since moving our email archive to the cloud.”

Positions company to meet evolving regulatory requirements
While Summers Labs isn’t currently required to comply with government mandates like HIPAA, which is designed to protect patient information, Rice knows he can look to Mimecast to help ensure the new Summers Labs infrastructure is equipped to handle any expansion of the requirement. “For many companies in health care, meeting government regulations has been an important consideration in choosing an email management solution,” he says. “We want to be prepared in case we do need to meet HIPAA requirements in the future, and if regulations change, Mimecast is flexible enough to accommodate them.”

Sector:
Health
Size:
35 End Users
Location:
Collegeville, PA
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