Outages happen...just less often in enterprises

Outages happen, they are a fact of life - they happen to customers with on-premise solutions and they happen to service providers, as Google customers found out today.

Different types of customers have different tolerances for availability, in the enterprise critical applications command 'five-nines' or 99.999% uptime (less than 5 minutes downtime a year).  Building this level of availability requires an integrated approach that is architected into a platform from the ground up.

Today’s much publicised issues with Gmail will have created concern in some quarters about the viability of the cloud computing model for email. However the reality of the situation is that there is not one cloud model but many different ones, the model you choose will be what really decides whether the move will work for you.

With regards availability if you are thinking about moving to cloud based email here are a couple of things to consider when choosing a model/vendor:

  • If email is critical to you, does the vendor align with your business requirements and are they are equipped to provide services orientated for the enterprise such as a Service Level Agreement of 99.999% uptime? This is what the enterprise expects and there is a big difference between guaranteeing 99.999% and 99.9%. One means downtime is kept to less than a minute each month while the other could mean close to an hour
  • Can the service provider continue to offer effective risk mitigation and compliance solutions to allowing customer to keep control of their email risk and compliance requirements?
  • Is the vendor really set up to offer an enterprise level service? Some vendors do not have a service model that is designed for business, what support options are available - web/email only support or a 24 x 7 helpdesk?

Enterprise-focused services have been designed from the ground-up to offer an enterprise-grade email service enshrined with a 99.999% availability Service Level Agreement.  Services such as those provided by Mimecast have made this level of availability possible through the utilisation of a geographically distributed parallel grid architecture that has been built with security, integrity and availability in mind.   This type of service allows the enterprise to move from complex and costly on-premise infrastructures to the cloud, without a loss of availability or control.

In reality no email system will be up 100% of the time but for an enterprise the level of downtime tolerated is very different to what is acceptable to a consumer. A move to cloud based email can offer huge benefits – not least a big reduction in costs but finding the right model and right supplier is the critical success factor.

While Mimecast might not be the cheapest service provider in the email management space, the old maxim holds true that "you get what you pay for".  At the same time, Mimecast is no-where near the most expensive - but we do provide enterprise-grade SLAs and carrier-grade service.

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