Mimecast Adds New Continuity Features to Monitor, Alert and Respond More Quickly to Mail Flow Disruptions
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.
A recent survey confirms that Microsoft Office 365 continues to outpace Google’s G Suite in the race to the cloud. Overall it’s clear that more organizations are using cloud or hybrid deployment models over on-premises, but let’s dig into the survey results.
Let’s start with the Bitglass Cloud Adoption Report, which is in its third iteration, for some context into how things have changed over the years. In 2014, the report found that 16% of organizations were using Google Apps for Work (now rebranded G Suite). At that time, only about 8% were found to be on Office 365. Google at that point had a 2X lead on Microsoft! Since then, the picture has changed dramatically. In 2015, Office 365 closed the gap and squeaked past to take a 25% to 23% lead. The ’16 report saw that lead extend as Office 365 now controls a commanding 35% to 24% advantage. Bitglass says this report was created using an internally-developed tool that analyzed over 120,000 companies.
We’ve also heard that cloud adoption is progressing faster than industry experts originally expected. In the spring of 2016, Redmond Magazine reported on a recently completed Gartner survey showing Office 365 was either in use or planning to be used in the next six months by 78% of respondents. This is up 13% from two years ago when the survey was run last. What’s interesting is that the use of Exchange on-premises only dropped by 5%, with most feeling that hybrid environments will remain popular and persist well into the future.
It’s no surprise to hear that Office 365 continues to gain ground and extend their advantage in corporate accounts. I’ve referenced before that Office 365 adds 50,000 customers a month and as of June 2016, that was true for 28 straight months! What’s more, the service has been growing by about 40% year-over-year and looks poised to top 120 million corporate users by this time next year. Interested in learning more about how organizations are managing risk while moving to the cloud? Check out this market trend report by Microsoft MVP J. Peter Bruzzese titled, Resetting Your Expectations on Office 365.
It’s no secret that social engineering attacks, like phishing, spear-phishing and domain spoofing have grown from being a nuisance to a colossal problem. But, perhaps the most colossal problem of the moment is Business Email Compromise, otherwise called CEO fraud or whaling.
Whaling attacks can cost companies millions in financial losses. In fact, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, whaling attacks led to more than $2.3 billion in losses over the last three years. Cybercriminals are able to pull off these deceptive scams by posing as a CEO, or other executive, sending an email asking the unsuspecting target to initiate a wire transfer or send payroll and other sensitive data.
It’s time to protect your organization from whaling attacks. This means you must get to know the ‘5 Phases of a Whaling Assault’ so you can both educate your employees and increase your technology defenses. They are:
- In the Crosshairs: In the first stage of an assault, fraudsters use social media networks to gather intel on their target.
- The Domain Game: Next, armed with just enough detail, they register a domain similar to the actual domain for the target company.
- Gone Phishing: An employee receives the phishing email, but doesn’t notice the subtle warning signs that it’s fraudulent.
- Victim’s Assistance: The target follows the call-to-action in what appears to be an authentic email from someone familiar.
- On the Money: But, it’s not authentic. The attacker now moves the funds from the fraudulent bank account or has sensitive employee information like W-2 forms and social security numbers that are used in a larger scam.
Are you ready to take action against whaling? Download: “Whaling: Anatomy of an Attack” to learn more, including why whaling works, examples of recent high-profile attacks, and ways to defend against whaling fraudsters.
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:
- Do I have a back-up plan if my email system goes down from cyber-attacks, human error or technical failure?
- How do I track outages and ensure I engage my vendors with the right language in the contract to cover my organization?
- If a system outage occurs, how do I respond in the most efficient way from a technical perspective?
- What other services can I use to ensure 100 percent uptime?
- 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.