Brown Rudnick, an international law firm, has six offices worldwide with its global IT operations under the direction of CIO Jim Darsigny in the firm’s Boston office. The leading international law firm wanted to create a holistic email management environment that would enable all six offices to run efficiently and smoothly like its strong legal network.
Brown Rudnick had the foresight to know there had to be a unified solution available that could meet its email management needs and let the firm focus on what it does best – helping its clients capitalize on opportunities and build a strong future.
In line with its visionary nature, Brown Rudnick set its sights on a holistic, all encompassing application with immediate availability. It needed a solution robust enough to meet the rising challenge for secure data, archiving for discovery, protecting the network from viruses, filtering spam and providing continuity, but simple enough to turn on instantly.
Darsigny wanted a more comprehensive approach that would offload the overhead cost and responsibility of on-premise email management; he wanted a solution that would flag and resolve problems in the email cloud before they entered the corporate network.
Enter Mimecast Unified Email Management, a global provider of email management products and services based on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – an emerging vehicle for delivering superior IT applications that is simple to configure (in half a day or less) without costly infrastructure, ongoing maintenance and product administration.
When Darsigny evaluated Mimecast’s holistic approach to email management, he thought it was too good to be true. As an early adopter of SaaS-based email management, Brown Rudnick saw measureable improvements immediately.
Prior to this new technology hitting the market, it was typical for companies to use four different programs for email security, data leak protection, spam filtering and virus protection.
Darsigny was able to create an efficient environment by using a single, holistic approach – one contract, one contact for support, no upgrades and patches to negotiate, one very comprehensive product managed from a single console. Mimecast services are all-encompassing, with archiving, off-site backup and recovery, consolidated storage and retrieval – a key for eDiscovery – along with continuity, security and policy enforcement measures.
Higher standards in the use of email as evidence in the courts, commonly referred to as eDiscovery, require that the “chain of custody” of email messages and attachments can be verified to ensure the evidentiary quality of data. “The standard is constantly being raised,” tells Darsigny, in reference to eDiscovery. Courts are increasingly aware of the impact that email has had on the veracity of evidence.
Precedents are being set in determining the validity of the data trail in the discovery process and companies have been severely fined for the inability to produce an accurate and reliable email trail in discovery. For example, if the firm needed to satisfy a subpoena for information that’s two years old, Darsigny knew that Mimecast’s unified email management was the answer to easing the process of producing and validating the audit trail needed for eDiscovery.
IT departments at law firms face many of the same challenges as any other IT department, with emphasis on four critical components. First, law firms circulate information on new cases to determine conflicts of interest with potential clients. Without a unified email environment, the IT department would have to conduct a manual search for conflict information by keyword on separate systems.
A second challenge is the ability to key in phrases and search attachments on outgoing mail to flag possible security breaches, which is critical not only for law firms to remain competitive but also to protect privileged information.
Third, there is a viral growth in the amount of spam that’s hitting any system, not to mention viruses, endangering confidential data. “Spam filtering alone was getting cyclical,” laments Darsigny. “As soon as one hole was plugged, another opened up.” Finally, virus protection needed to be more proactive to better protect the firm and its clientele. The final risk, in most cases, is the most costly.
“Mimecast provides increased functionality and lower overhead,” reports Darsigny, who estimates cost savings in the realm of 60 percent based on previous IT management options. “Even if we eliminated just one of the previous programs, Mimecast has already paid for itself.” Add to that a 40 percent improvement in infrastructure, with two terabytes of disc storage to repurpose because Mimecast connects in the cloud with zero hardware investment.
The configuration was so simple; Darsigny thought there had to be a catch. Easier to use, less expensive and more comprehensive than their former suite of services, Mimecast has impressed this 20-year IT veteran. Darsigny simply connected their onsite Microsoft Exchange email software to Mimecast’s cloud-based unified email management service, which immediately eliminated time consuming maintenance, down time and capital investment in infrastructure.
“Mimecast has proven to be a good product. Managing multiple on-site applications is time intensive and has proven to be our least productive activity. To eliminate the administration involved in hosting is a huge benefit to us, not to mention the triple redundant data centers, high-end reliability and availability,” says Darsigny.
A more dynamic effect of holistic email management is the improvement in eDiscovery with increased control over the mail store and a stronger chain of custody. “Mimecast enables us to search across the whole mail store and provides better tools for protection,” Darsigny says.
From a discovery perspective, this will enable the firm to be more thorough in providing metadata, documentation that provides confirmation, and a reliable data audit trailed back to the system and confirmed as legitimate. In addition, the weight of third party evidence from a service provider such as Mimecast holds greater validity with the courts than with an on-premise solution.
Darsigny has three pieces of advice for others evaluating unified email management. First, he said, compare Mimecast features one on one with existing solutions. Second, a simple cost analysis, according to Darsigny, “…will jump off the page and whack you in the head.” When he first talked features with Mimecast, he nodded, but when it came to cost Darsigny said, “I don’t believe you. It can’t be that inexpensive. What is not included?” He searched for hidden costs.
“How do I know you won’t start charging per gigabyte? How do I know you won’t change your price structure once I convert?” He was surprised to find it was all included. Mimecast has embraced a different charge structure making this affordable with significant value for the cost.
The third piece of advice is to evaluate the product. “When you see it in action, the product will convince you you’re making the right decision,” Darsigny said. Coupling the online Mimecast service with Brown Rudnick’s in-house Microsoft Exchange system gives the firm a holistic, cloud-based SaaS email solution that is far more cost effective than building a solution wholly in-house.
Darsigny now supplies a superior email service that keeps Brown Rudnick’s business running 24/7 and a lightning-fast email archive that can access nd support compliance requirements in real time. “Mimecast has taken many business continuity measures off our shoulders and at a level we could never provide. I can’t even
quantify the savings.”