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In a recent global survey of 600 IT decision makers, Mimecast found that 88% view email as critical to their organization with 55% saying email is mission-critical. This isn’t surprising; email is often the first thing we check in the morning and the last thing we check before going to bed. Any email disruption can bring productivity to a screeching halt—severely impacting customer service, preventing new sales, and impacting day-to-day operations.

Mimecast is pleased to release new Continuity Event Management features designed to ease the challenges of identifying, diagnosing and responding to mail flow problems on Microsoft Office 365™, Microsoft Exchange™ or G Suite by Google Cloud™. When every second counts, Mimecast reduces the time to respond to email disruptions so organizations can avoid the problems caused when this critical infrastructure isn’t working.

Mimecast Continuity Event Management features enable administrators to:

Monitor –Mimecast monitors for high latency and failed deliveries, both inbound and outbound, so admins stay on top of potential issues.

Alert – Organization specific thresholds for mail flow give administrators the ability to tailor when they are notified. Once a threshold is met, an automated alert is generated and sent via SMS or to an alternate email address. Administrators are alerted to problems on any device, anywhere.

Respond – A fast response continuity event portal provides the administrator with key metrics on the mail flow problem and gives details to quickly assess the severity of the problem. One-click activation starts continuity, with Mimecast sending and receiving email until the primary system can be recovered independently. An SMS message to employees reduces manual tasks and ensures the employee base follows company procedures.

Whether your organization operates on-premises, from the cloud or in a hybrid environment, problems still do occur. By analyzing customer data, Mimecast finds that 11% of detected outages were due to server or service issues that lasted 24 hours. Another example is the June 30, 2016 mail disruption of Microsoft Office 365™ which lasted for over nine hours on the last day of the month and last day of the quarter across most tenants in the United States.

No company can predict when a mail flow problem will arise and as the Office 365 incident points out, any disruption during a critical time can have widespread consequences. With the new features, available March 2017, Mimecast makes it easier to detect and manage mail flow disruptions.

Learn more about Mimecast’s leading Mailbox Continuity service and new event management features.

Related Content: Mimecast Enhances Cyber Resilience Capabilities To Improve Uptime For Organizations Facing Email Disruptions

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Microsoft® Office 365™ is proving popular and adoption continues to accelerate. 

A recent Gartner study found that 78 percent of IT decision makers say their organization is already using or is planning to use Office 365. This is 13 percentage points ahead of what the same survey found in 2014.

The adoption numbers clearly indicate that Office 365 is a product the market is eager for. Microsoft is adding over 50,000 customers to Office 365 a month and has well over 60 million commercial users.

While the growth of Office 365 has been explosive, when I talk to CIOs and IT directors, I often hear from them a reminder that the risks facing on-premises environments don’t change when organizations move email to the cloud. The security threats remain and companies need to prepare for, and shield employees from, productivity crippling downtime.

The scale of the platform is massive but it is important to remember Office 365 depends on a number of technologies working in concert to provide a seamless service. In the case of email, this means that Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD), Exchange Online Protection (EOP), archiving and the administration console must be always on and always accessible. If any of these services are disrupted or compromised, the result is stark, employees can’t send, receive or access email—and potentially worse, admins can’t control this critical communication platform for their business.

Mimecast experts have engaged in hundreds of Office 365 migrations and service implementations for companies of all sizes. As part of the process, we find that there are usually five key questions to ask during the migration process:

  1. Do I have a back-up plan if my email system goes down from cyber-attacks, human error or technical failure?
  2. How do I track outages and ensure I engage my vendors with the right language in the contract to cover my organization?
  3. If a system outage occurs, how do I respond in the most efficient way from a technical perspective? 
  4. What other services can I use to ensure 100 percent uptime?
  5. Who within my organization do I need to brief prior to, during and after an outage occurs?

By answering these five questions, organizations can take a proactive approach before a system outage occurs and have a layered cyber resilience strategy to maintain productivity.

There will always be a give-and-take between the benefits and potential limitations of a move to the cloud so it is important to have the facts – as Microsoft Servers and Services MVP and author of “Conversational Office 365” J. Peter Bruzzese frequently says, “Don’t sleepwalk into the cloud.”

If you’d like to hear the answers to these questions and more about the best way to prepare for potential risks of Office 365 register today for the webinar, Cloud Outages Happen – Be Prepared, here.

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When Is an Outage Not a Priority?

by David Hood - Director, Technology Marketing, Mimecast

When Microsoft Office 365 went down again last month, a painful truth emerged as the outage rolled on for several days – a big deal for your company is not always a big deal for Microsoft.

There’s been repeated Office 365 cloud email outages recently, from an American Office 365 email outage in July to the Azure Active Directory problems that impacted much of Europe in early December.

When Microsoft Office 365 went down again last month, a painful truth emerged as the outage rolled on for several days...
When Microsoft Office 365 went down again last month, a painful truth emerged as the outage rolled on for several days...

But what’s different about this one is how slow Microsoft  was to respond – maybe because it just affected customers that use IMAP. Microsoft promised to fix the problem by January 23 – five days after the outage.

Certainly Office 365 is not the only service to suffer like this – outages happen, but the reason why Office 365 outages grab widespread attention is because of its increasing popularity and the business critical nature of the email management services it provides.

But there is something significant about this one: what appears to be a failed service update could create an outage lasting more than week. This highlights that your problem and Microsoft’s problem aren’t always aligned. With the number of companies adopting Microsoft Office 365 increasing quickly (as many as 50,000 a month) this problem only gets worse over time. Far fewer customers will be using IMAP, so there is a perceived risk that problems will be treated as a lower order priority fix. This underscores a risk to any organization’s business continuity and data security. No business should rely on a single provider for a critical service such as email. Additional third-party cloud services are the only way to manage these risks.

For many businesses, email is their most critical IT workload. Email continuity is also highly valued by employees. Tolerance for email downtime is almost zero as it costs money, damages reputations and cripples business operations. In short, we all need it to work and to work all the time.

For years IT teams have built disaster recovery plans and systems predicated on the belief that IT fails and you always need a plan B. Nothing changes in a cloud first world. Cloud services clearly fail and if you don’t have an independent email continuity service, your email will be down until Office 365 gets it back up again. And you can’t control when that will happen. One hour. Five hours. In the case of the IMAP failure, 7 days.

So take a page out of the on-premises risk management handbook. Make Office 365 safer with the addition of an independent third-party email continuity service and by keeping an Office 365 disaster recovery solution in place.

For all its strengths, if you rely 100% on Office 365 for your email you are asking for trouble. It’s just a matter of time.

Find out more about how Mimecast can help keep your business running during an Office 365 outage here

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This week, Mimecast has been exhibiting and presenting at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Discover 2015, at ExCeL London.

The now seminal IT conference has, among other themes, certainly examined the practical impact of Office 365 adoption. With 70% of Fortune 500 companies having purchased Office 365 in the last 12 months and email being the key driver for customers’ move to Office 365, the adoption patterns are now part of everyday debates, presentations and forums in the world of IT.

And migration is certainly not simple - it’s a well-recognized reality that many companies evaluate Office 365 but hesitate to deploy. IT teams realize that putting all critical services with one provider presents a unique set of risks which, however, can be mitigated with the right planning. Organizations need flexibility while transferring critical services to the cloud, not a heart-stopping level of risk whenever outage alerts around Office 365 are made public.

It’s a well-recognized reality that many companies evaluate Office 365 but hesitate to deploy
It’s a well-recognized reality that many companies evaluate Office 365 but hesitate to deploy

 I spoke on the subject on the first day of the conference - my presentation was titled ‘Office 365; risk or reward? Or both?’  In it, I go a step further than highlighting the risks to the health of businesses.

I put forward a case that, so dominant a trend is Office 365 adoption, that I believe it should already be considered critical infrastructure so that public services, and in particular defense, apply appropriate rigor when rolling out new IT infrastructure. If you couldn’t make the conference, you can see some more detail on my presentation here.

So whether you go fully cloud, hybrid or transition just some of your services, a commitment to cloud makes economic, management and strategic sense. However, moving to the cloud should never simply be a one stop shop solution – the risks are just too great.

So if you happen to be at Discover 2015, why not pop by our stand to find out more. You can find us at Booth #362.

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