Blog

December 7, 2016

We’re honored and humbled by Gartner’s recognition of Mimecast Cloud Archiving in its 2016 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving. With this year’s recognition, Mimecast has been named as a Leader for the second year in a row. 

Moreover, for the first time, we placed highest within the Leader Quadrant for both Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. This momentous recognition offers an occasion for reflection on the nature of information archiving and our place in the market.

A Breakaway Moment

The range of archiving use cases we now help you address has multiplied as well, from regulatory compliance and legal risk mitigation to end-user enablement, mailbox management, and layered protection against the scourge of ransomware.Thanks in part to this transformation, we at Mimecast find ourselves in our own, corporate breakaway moment. We’ve grown rapidly on the heels of last year’s IPO. We continue to innovate aggressively on our platform and across the customer experience.Gartner’s EIA Magic Quadrant report sheds light on a breakaway moment. The state of archiving has clearly morphed. Freed from the confines of costly and labor-intensive premises-based infrastructures, today’s cloud-based solutions offer streamlined administration, fast search performance, and end-user value, in addition to affordability.

Finally, businesses and organizations now face their own breakaway opportunities, applying next-generation archiving technologies to master today’s myriad business challenges.

Documenting an Archiving Inflection Point

Like other recent analyst research reports, Gartner’s latest EIA MQ installment bravely captures a transition point in the fast-evolving archiving market. As I noted in an earlier post, the current roster of cloud archiving vendors have gotten here via a diversity of paths, including social media, search engine, backup-and-recovery, and enterprise content management (ECM), among others.

What brings us together? Three major business trends:

  • Email’s primacy as a business resource
  • More rigorous compliance requirements
  • Increasing exposure to costly litigation

This lends the EIA market a “gene pool” that’s remarkably rich, which is both good and bad for businesses and organizations that seek the archiving solution best suited to their particular needs. Good in the sense that, no matter the set of use cases you seek to fulfill, the chance that the right solution is out there is quite high. Bad in the sense that finding that right solution can be challenging.

In this context, we applaud the work of Gartner. Gartner’s systematic assessments of vendors’ specific capabilities and strengths – and, by extension, these vendors’ long-term viability as solution partners – is invaluable for organizations who need to fully leverage technology while minimizing investment risk.

All Due Appreciation

On behalf of everyone on the global Mimecast team, I’d like to extend our deepest appreciation to the archiving analyst team at Gartner. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with you, into 2017 and beyond.

Special thanks to our customers, especially those who took the time to talk to Gartner analysts about your experiences before and after you began archiving with us. There’s nothing we appreciate more than your willingness to share your ideas with us and with the larger community.

Finally, thanks and kudos to my Mimecast teammates around the world! This recognition belongs to you. It’s a great mile marker in the wake of another big milestone, our one-year anniversary as a public company.

 

 

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The just-released The Forrester WaveTM: Information Archiving Cloud Providers, Q4 2016 provides a fascinating touchpoint on the rapid evolution of the State of Archiving. We hold Forrester Research in high regard as a global leader in research and advisory services.  

 

The report is based on service demos and interviews with both vendors and users. It’s an honor just to be included in this report, let alone to have earned Forrester’s recognition as a “Strong Performer.” We’re delighted to have our archiving business recognized in this way.

As a snapshot of the archiving market, we feel the report offers three key insights worth reflecting upon.

 

TAKEAWAY #1: THE FORRESTER WAVE REPORT PUTS MIMECAST IN THE COMPANY OF AN INTERESTING MIX OF VENDORS 

We fully expected to see some familiar rivals in this report, and in this Forrester analysts didn’t disappoint. Yet there were a few surprises as well. Certain vendors that our customers frequently ask about somehow didn’t make the report.

On the other hand, there were some vertical-market specialists that rarely if ever come up in customer conversations, or even in other analysts’ archiving market research. We were also a bit surprised to see some well-known Enterprise Content Management (ECM) specialists in the mix.

 

TAKEAWAY #2: THIS REPORT SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE FLUID STATE OF ARCHIVING

Mimecast was founded in 2003 as an archiving SaaS provider. Archiving is in our DNA.

Understandably, other vendors bring their own unique origin stories. Those included here include companies with roots in records management, instant messaging, and content workflow automation. There are vendors here who rose to success by focusing on call center customers, financial services providers, law firms, and other verticals.

What brings us all together? The domination of knowledge work, the emergence of information retention regulations, and the spiraling legal exposure that all organizations face.

 

TAKEAWAY #3: WE DO WHAT WE DO THANKS TO OUR CUSTOMERS

We developed our proprietary Mime|OS both to leverage cloud economies and to overcome cloud scale, performance, and other challenges. Then, as we all know, the web matured, and with it, cybercrime. As these threats morphed and mushroomed, our customers’ needs expanded.

In responding to these needs, we found that Mime|OS provided the ideal foundation for delivering new categories of security and continuity services. More recently, our Mime|OS and unified cloud architecture have proven a boon for simplifying the buildout of our API library, which in turn will let us accelerate the pace of service expansion.

Further, without our customers, there’d be no Legendary Customer Success.

 

THANKS FOR THE PRIVILEGE

So again, we’re indebted to the analyst community for recognizing our hard work and accomplishments. We also recognize the contributions of our partners, for teaming with us, and sharing our successes. Finally, infinite thanks to our customers. You keep us focused and offer vital course-correction in this fast-paced world.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Forrester Wave™ is copyrighted by Forrester Research, Inc. Forrester and Forrester Wave™ are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc.

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Adoption of Office 365 continues to grow rapidly, adding 50,000 customers a month, with Exchange email remaining the number one workload. At the same time, increasing regulation, litigation, and operational drivers necessitate the need for speedy, accurate and complete access to email data.

Email archiving has long been recognized as a key mechanism to meet these needs. Historically this was achieved on-premise alongside the mail server, but more recently has started to shift to the cloud in order to achieve economic and operational benefits. As email moves to the cloud, organizations must consider how to appropriately protect their data. Remembering that it’s their data, and responsibility ultimately sits with them to safeguard it, is critical.

With over 16% of Mimecast customers now using Office 365 for email, we’re often asked about what to look for in an email archive – specifically for protecting critical Exchange Online data. The following six critical considerations summarize the advice we give.

 

   1. Email data should be immutable by default

All inbound and outbound mail, including detailed metadata, should be captured and stored automatically for all users – without the need for manual or scripted processes. A true enterprise-grade email archive should be designed from the outset as a long term, compliance-driven archive with immutable (WORM) storage and strong chains of custody. In this case, data cannot be modified or removed until the pre-defined retention period is reached.

A suitable archive allows for an independent, always-on, verifiable copy of data to be stored outside of the operational Office 365 infrastructure.

While Office 365’s in-place or litigation holds may satisfy some organizations’ requirements to preserve mailbox data, both were conceived to provide data preservation for active, ongoing litigation – not as a long-term immutable archive.

Mailboxes are not placed on litigation or in-place hold automatically - this is a manual task and can get inadvertently forgotten or misconfigured. Any mailbox content not on hold can be tampered with or deleted.

 

   2. Search speed and consistency

The explosion in the amount of data stored by most organizations along with stricter regulation and increased litigation requires a suitable storage architecture to ensure rapid and accurate archive search results. A dedicated, cloud-based grid storage architecture is best suited to this task so that archive searches benefit from the aggregate power of all servers in the storage grid, together with a unified index, to deliver consistent results at superfast speed.

There should be no limit to the number of mailboxes that can be searched and the number of searches that can be run concurrently. E-discovery searches should not be impacted by email system downtime.

With Exchange Online, users are connected to a single server and data store. Large deployments likely mean multiple servers and data stores – each with its own index. Mailboxes are spread automatically across servers.

As a result, e-discovery searches could require access to hundreds of servers and indexes – potentially liable to inconsistent search results, e.g. server busy, server down, and incomplete index (e.g. unsupported file types, indexing errors).

Search speed is limited by individual Exchange server performance – each with multiple competing workloads. There are limits on both the number of mailboxes (10,000) and the number of e-discovery searches that can be run at the same time.

 

   3. Minimize and limit specialized and manual admin tasks

Initial setup and ongoing administrator actions should all be managed through a single web-based graphical user interface (GUI). This negates the need for manual scripting which is more likely to result in misconfiguration and command errors that can result in significant data loss. Remember, humans are often the weakest link in the chain.

Organizations should also ensure that no single administrator should be able to change key archive policies such as retention duration. This could increase the chances of accidental or malicious actions having a potentially devastating impact.

There are certain admin actions in Office 365 that can only be achieved through PowerShell commands, such as applying a litigation hold to all mailboxes at once, or in-place hold to more than 500 mailboxes. Misconfiguration and errors are arguably more likely in these manual processes.

A single Exchange administrator can remove a hold.

 

   4. Auditing must provide the details needed

Audit logs are vital to check and prove historical actions for both operational and legal purposes. Logs should be enabled by default and retained in perpetuity in order to ensure a complete record. The details logged must also be sufficient for the purposes they may be needed for. The logs should be held in a secure location accessible only to those with appropriate privileges.

In Office 365, auditing of admin actions is enabled by default and cannot be switched off. However, these logs are only kept for 90 days by default and do not include some actions, such as when messages are accessed or deleted, or the client or source details.

Mailbox audit logs must be manually setup and enabled per mailbox using PowerShell. These logs are stored in the target mailbox and could be deleted if the mailbox is deleted.

 

   5. Seamless employee archive access from anywhere

The amount of critical data in email is growing rapidly, with archives increasingly used by employees as their primary repository to save and access important information. In fact, Gartner[1] estimates that by 2019, 75% of organizations will treat archive data, including email, as an active data source.

Seamless and rapid access to this archive data from any device is, therefore, critical. Consistent access should be available via Outlook, the web, and mobile devices. Archive searches must be virtually instant to satisfy employee expectations. Almost 200,000 archive searches a month are made by Mimecast customer employees using the Mimecast Mobile app alone, demonstrating the importance of having easy access to archived content when out of the office. Mimecast offers an industry leading 7-second search SLA.

Microsoft provides archive access via Outlook, Outlook on the web, Mac and iPad only. There is currently no support for iPhone or Android – the two most popular smartphone platforms globally. There is no Office 365 archive search SLA offered.

 

   6. Avoid mailbox lock-in

When archive data is held in a separate platform and location to operational email data, not only does this support compliance and regulatory requirements, it means that the primary mail platform can be changed without the roadblock of finding a viable way to extract data first (or risk losing it). It also provides continuity of access during mailbox migration projects.

Ask yourself. Will a move to Office 365 be the last time you change mailbox providers? Unlikely.

Office 365’s inline archive stores primary and archived mailboxes in the same single environment. With all email data in Office 365, it becomes more difficult to switch to another email environment – essentially leading to Office 365 lock-in. Tony Redmond, a Microsoft MVP and leading commentator expands on this situation in his article ‘Getting data into Office 365 is easy; not so straightforward to retrieve’.

Microsoft gives you 90 days to extract all your data before its permanently deleted following expiration or termination of an Office 365 subscription.

 

You can learn more about Mimecast email archiving and how we support a move to Office 365 on our website.

 

 

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[1] Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving, Nov 2014

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How the Cloud Has Changed Email Archiving Forever

by Julian Martin - Vice President Product Marketing

Organizations of all sizes, across all industries, rely on archiving solutions to preserve critical data for compliance and e-discovery, and email is a primary contributor to these systems. 

For archiving, we’ve historically relied on tapes, discs and third-party storage services, but now, it’s the cloud. That most recent change has driven the biggest shift as companies look to take advantage of cloud-based technology that reduces costs, improves scalability and provides anywhere, anytime access.

For archiving, we’ve historically relied on tapes, discs and third-party storage services, but now, it’s the cloud.
For archiving, we’ve historically relied on tapes, discs and third-party storage services, but now, it’s the cloud.

Consider the following:

  • Over 112 billion business emails are sent each day. The number of emails continues to increase, straining archives not designed to scale efficiently. A related problem is that many email archiving solutions do not provide an easy way to search and find important messages. This dramatically limits the value to end users.
  • The number of cloud services actually being used by organizations is about 15 times larger than IT departments assumed. The problem of Shadow IT and monitoring the information flow for adherence to compliance and regulations is getting larger.
  • How employees access information has changed dramatically in the last five years. In 2011, only 8 percent of email was opened on a mobile device. Fast forward to 2015 and nearly 50 percent of email is opened on either a smartphone or a tablet. This growth of over 500 percent  demonstrates the need for employees to have instant access to archived information.
  • A leading analyst firm recommends deploying enterprise information archiving as software-as-a-service (SaaS). They estimate per-seat costs of SaaS solutions are approximately four to six times less expensive.

Arguably the legal industry has the most stringent requirements for archiving based on the need to rapidly search and find critical communication.  With nine offices in the US and Europe and over 230 lawyers, the law firm Brown Rudnick certainly has a unique perspective on the archiving needs of any organization. In fact, the firm receives in excess of 300,000 emails each week!

Join Brown Rudnick CIO Jim Darsigny and David Hood from Mimecast as we look at 'Archives at Risk – The Fundamental Flaws of On-premises Storage'. Reserve your spot today for this informative webinar.

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