Dealing With Email Disruptions

April 3, 2017

  Mimecast recently completed a global survey on Exchange Online and the general importance of email across organizations with between 250 and 10,000 email users. We found that email continues to be the primary communication channel at these companies, with 98% of respondents saying they use email.


I like to joke that 2% must be lying as I can’t imagine a business today not relying on email. Mimecast also found that 87% of organizations view email as critical, underscoring the need to make sure a plan B exists for when a primary mail server experiences a disruption.

Complete email disruptions are infrequent, but have a large impact on a business. Especially if the disruption occurs during working hours and during critical periods such as the end of the month.

Planning for a continuity event or disruption is relatively easy, provided the right solution is in place to act as a secondary delivery path and the proper communication to employees has been set up. Mimecast’s goal of making email safer for business includes the necessary planning tools and technology to make this possible.

In terms of planning, it’s important to remember that primary server disruptions can happen for a host of reasons, whether the server is running on-premises or in the cloud. For cloud services, problems can be a local disruption that takes a few tenants offline or a broad event that impacts a region. In March, Microsoft and Office 365 had a couple of reported web service outages. For on-prem servers surprise events do happen and planned events such as migrations and upgrades can also take email offline for a period of time.

Regardless of the reason, communicating with employees is key so proper expectations are set and any alternative methods for continuing to send and receive email are well understood. Mimecast recommends establishing a pre-event checklist (which is provided to customers in the Mimecast Continuity Planning Manual) for a potential email disruption and ensuring that the organization has satisfied all requirements. This should include an “off email” communication channel to notify employees if there is an issue. It’s easy to overlook this simple step!

With the pre-event checklist in place, organizations should test the plan and solution regularly. It’s important to remember that to be successful, a continuity for email solution will need to incorporate technology, administrator and employee actions. Planning and testing will facilitate coordination of all three.

Mimecast recently added Continuity Event Management (CEM) features to make coordinated activity and continuity response even easier. CEM allows administrators to monitor inbound and outbound mail flow to quickly identify latency or delivery problems. Triggered alerts are sent to administrators via SMS or another email address and a one-click continuity portal drives down RTO. Mimecast includes the ability to communicate with employees via SMS to provide event specific instructions. These new features as well as the Mimecast for Outlook, mobile, Mac and web apps keep administrators and employees working during mail server outages.

By combining the necessary planning, employee communication and solutions, Mimecast makes email more resilient regardless of whether a customer is on-prem or using a cloud service like Office 365.


See how Mimecast can make email safer for your business. Schedule a demo today!