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The Salvation Army is one of the largest providers of social services in the UK after the Government. Founded in East London in 1865, it is now working in 118 countries and has over 1.6 million members worldwide, with programs including homeless centers, drug rehabilitation centers, schools, hospitals and medical centers, as well as nearly 16,000 church and community centers. The Salvation Army UK Territory with the Republic of Ireland has close to 7,000 staff in the UK and Ireland as well as more than 750 local Salvation Army churches, known as ‘corps.’ These are primarily worship centers that also play an active part in the local community.
Like many organizations The Salvation Army UK Territory’s IT resources come under tremendous strain as a result of the large volumes of spam email received on a daily basis. With 80-90% of its inbound emails being spam, its email was becoming more difficult to manage. Even though it has always had an email security service in place, one employee’s inbox had become the victim of a backscatter attack, meaning they were receiving a heavy volume of spam email. Not only was this blocking up the inbox but it was also using valuable bandwidth that the organization
needed to maintain for its many other services.
Mailbox size limits can also be a major issue for any organization. The Salvation Army was trying to be quite generous with the limit it gives to its staff, but inboxes still quickly fill-up with large files and attachments.
This meant staff have the onerous task of deleting emails and mailbox management, which is time consuming and often met with resistance.
The Salvation Army UK Territory was also keen to limit the number of false-positives being caught by anti-spam software, to ensure that legitimate emails were not incorrectly assessed and thus delayed, which can be frustrating for staff waiting for important and often sensitive emails.
The Salvation Army UK Territory had decided it was time to find a new solution that would not be a drain on their resources and would enable the organization to remain focused on its core objectives. Martyn Croft, Head of Corporate Systems for Salvation Army UK Territory with the Republic of Ireland says: “As a charity, our benchmark is always to provide value for money and we must be able to demonstrate that we are spending
money wisely. It was obvious from some of the issues we were experiencing that it was time for a change."
"We began looking for a new solution to replace our existing email filtering system. We needed a solution that could provide us with a secure email management environment that we could trust and afford.”
After a thorough evaluation process, The Salvation Army UK Territory selected the Mimecast solution. Croft knew that Mimecast’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) email management solution met his requirements of providing comprehensive email security and eliminating spam and viruses before they hit the network. Having full visibility of the email trail is also crucial if there was ever a need to investigate inbound or outbound email.
Being protected by an industry leading SLA gives Croft the final boost of confidence that he made a sound decision.
The implementation process was very straightforward and in January 2009, The Salvation Army UK Territory was fully functional on the Mimecast service. Croft comments: “We took a very conservative approach to the implementation process and so only completed it after three weeks. However, we could have very easily completed the implementation in the space of a week or even a few days, it’s really that simple."
"We now have over 3,000 users across the UK and Ireland being protected by the Mimecast service. Our employees are so impressed that they are surprised if they receive even a single spam email. They have now come to expect this as the norm.”
Mimecast now helps the organization to securely send and receive emails without the risk of losing or delaying legitimate mail. Mimecast helps overcome this problem by tracking every email relationship, synchronizing it with the organization’s Active Directory – effectively mapping the good reputations of contacts users deal with.
Croft adds, “I like the idea of security as a service and allowing somebody else to deal with the problem rather than wasting our time doing it ourselves. Selecting Mimecast means our email is in the hands of experts, and is managed more effectively than dealing with email filtering in-house."
"I was particularly impressed with Mimecast’s grey listing option for spam emails rather than just allow or block service that many other vendors offer. This meant that we would not lose any legitimate emails that may have previously been mistaken for spam. It’s the little things like this that give Mimecast the edge.”
Croft continues, “One of the really innovative features that Mimecast offers and that we didn’t see elsewhere is their attachment strip and link functionality. Mimecast simply provide a secure link to access any large files or attachments, therefore freeing up space in our mailboxes. The Marketing and Fundraising department have remarked on how crucial this is when receiving large art work files, which means we are also keeping our stakeholders happy.”
Croft concludes, “With the number of threats to our businesses growing on a daily basis, we must always be on high alert for what is coming round the corner. The landscape is constantly changing and threats are better disguised compared to a couple of years ago. The Mimecast service also gives us options to address our next objective of email archiving as compliance regulations change. Mimecast was definitely the right decision for us and I can’t imagine anyone not wanting this service once they see it in action.”
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