David Hood

Dealing With Email Disruptions

by David Hood - Director, Technology Marketing, Mimecast

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!

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The Benefits of Cloud Migration

by David Hood - Director, Technology Marketing, Mimecast

 March 28, 2017

 

 The Great Migration

Microsoft Office 365 offers a compelling business case to organizations - trade resource intensive on-premises infrastructure and software for services managed by Microsoft and delivered from the cloud. The rate of adoption tells us the benefits are attractive. In fact, recent Mimecast research finds that 99% of Office 365 users are receiving some benefit from the service.*
   

The research also uncovered some very interesting information regarding how businesses with between 250 and 7,500 email users are making the move to the cloud with Office 365. First the survey found that 58% of companies were using Exchange Online with another 29% planning to in the next twelve months. For those thinking about how many employees to move up to the cloud, our research finds that the average is about 70% of the total email users. I believe this shows the importance of hybrid environments, an area that Office 365 has proved it’s supremacy over other cloud collaboration solutions.

Given that for most organizations, not everyone will be on Office 365, our research set out to find the other mail servers being used. Not surprising, many flavors of Exchange on-prem were in use with the following breakdown.

What other email service provider does your organization currently use?

Exchange 2016

32%

Exchange 2013

31%

Exchange 2010

15%

Google Apps

13%

IBM Lotus Domino

5%

Exchange 2007

4%

 

 How are orgs getting to the cloud?

With a large number of organizations already moving to the cloud and many others considering Office 365, it’s interesting to look at how companies are making the transition. Mimecast research finds that about one third of companies are using a cutover migration while two thirds are opting for a hybrid migration. Hybrid migrations are generally less risky as users can be switched over a longer time period with a safe fallback position to on-premises if something should go wrong. Organizations making the move are also keenly aware of the need to port archived email to the cloud. 9 in 10 organizations have already or plan to move existing mail to the cloud.

 

Migration Concerns

In addition to what migration approaches most companies are using, Mimecast wanted to find out what were the top concerns when making the move from on-premises email. I guess not surprisingly, 6 in 10 were most concerned about downtime during the migration. Especially considering that over 85% view email as critical to their organization. One surprising stat was that in the event of an Office 365 disruption, almost half of the organizations said they would just wait for Microsoft to restore the service while the other 50% would look to a third party for help with email continuity. It’s obvious which employees would be more productive!

Other top concerns for the migration include security concerns of senior employee’s email privacy, on-premises system requirements for sending email and the overall impact to employee productivity.

Interested in learning more about how Mimecast can help ease the transition to Office 365 and make email safer for business? Check out the ebook, Confidently Move Your Email To The Cloud.

*The research is based on a survey with 600 CIOs, IT directors or IT managers in the US, UK, South Africa and Australia. Research was conducted by Vanson Bourne between October and December 2016.


 

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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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Office 365™ Extends Lead in Cloud Adoption

by David Hood - Director, Technology Marketing, Mimecast

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.

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