JD Group Implements Mimecast ‘Software as a Service’ Managed Email for Fast Retrieval and Painless Archiving

    SOUTH AFRICA: JD Group, the JSE-listed furniture group that operates more than 1,000 stores in Southern Africa, including household names like Bradlows, Joshua Doore and HiFi Corporation, has implemented Mimecast’s Unified Email Management (UEM) to provide better email service for its head office staff. The new system makes access easier and more reliable and provides guaranteed archiving to ensure that the Group is compliant with records retention legislation – all without needing to make any changes or upgrades to its email infrastructure.

    Mimecast UEM is a “software as a service” (SaaS 2.0) implementation, where Internet e-mail is transparently routed through the Mimecast carrier-grade data centres where it is stored in a highly secure repository that provides the ability for clients to access mails remotely via the Web, a mobile device or Outlook plugin, to search archives going back months or years in fractions of a second. Mail is transferred from and to the client’s existing servers after being scanned for malware, spam and (if required) intelligent content monitoring.

    “The first thing that made Mimecast attractive to us is the easy and flexible retrieval of email,” explains Gerrie van Niekerk, JD Group’s IT Group Services Executive. “ When top management travels, there are constant problems ensuring they can get their messages. With Mimecast it’s straightforward, either via our normal mail servers or via a secure Web connection. The next major business issue for us was archival and retrieval of old emails, which used to be difficult as our mail was backed up to tape, and would take up to two days to recover.”

    The third major issue for JD Group was spam, where large numbers of spam messages were getting through, despite our filters. Mimecast UEM guarantees 100% protection against malware, spam protection with zero false positives and automatic white list management. “Since we moved onto Mimecast I can’t even remember the last time I saw a spam email,” comments van Niekerk.

    JD Group has its head office in Johannesburg which use email extensively. This means supporting 1500 users on Outlook 2003, with Exchange 2003 servers (an upgrade to Exchange 2007 is planned next year). The individual retail stores currently use a Web-based secure mail system, although individual mail support is on the cards.

    JD Group is currently in a massive IT rationalisation process, reducing five resource planning systems to a single, unified platform across all operations. This huge technology project is taking up considerable resources, so van Niekerk was determined to reduce complexity in other projects, including email access and archival – making Mimecast an excellent fit.

    “If you compare Mimecast with in-house systems in the long term the total cost of ownership is a lot lower, and we get a lot of additional filtering and features. The key for us is the reduction in the complexity of what we have to implement and manage,” he says.

    The initial thinking was that Mimecast would be implemented first in a “proof of concept” pilot, but the UEM architecture means that mail is transparently passed through Mimecast and on to the client’s existing servers with no risk, but all the functionality. With this being the case, JD Group went directly from plan to going live. “That’s the trust we have in Mimecast,” says van Niekerk. “It was quite easy to implement. We had our Exchange specialist on hand to oversee the transition and deal with SAIX to handle the domain registration changes, but it was straightforward. There are no real support requirements, and no training needed, as it’s either transparent to the user or really intuitive to use.”  

    The Mimecast UEM system has already been called into action, where a user had changed his email settings to store his Outlook .pst file locally instead of on the server – and then had a hard drive crash. Luckily his recent email could be restored immediately as it was archived in Mimecasts triple-redundant, carrier-grade data centres.

    “Strategically moving to Mimecast was the right thing to do, especially in terms of the strict legal requirement for five years of message archiving that we need to follow,” says van Niekerk.

    Now the system is in place and proven, JD Group can look at some of the additional features it allows, such as automatic signatures at the end of emails, which can be customised and automated to allow targeted communications to specific recipients.


    About JD Group

    JD Group operates eight chains in southern Africa and one in Poland. These include: Abra, a mass market furniture retailer in Poland; Barnetts for household merchandise and appliances predominantly in rural areas; Bradlows for quality branded furniture, appliances and home entertainment products; Electric Express for discount specialist appliances and home entertainment systems; HiFi Corporation selling electronic goods and household appliances to the mid to upper end of the consumer market; Incredible Connection as SA’s largest technology retailer; Joshua Doore, the largest furniture and appliances discounter in southern Africa; Morkels offering branded appliances, home entertainment, computers and quality furniture on affordable terms; Price and Pride retailing furniture and appliances retailer at the lower end of the mass middle market; Russells, which sells branded furniture and appliances for the middle to upper mass market. JD Group also has a financial services division to provide consumer credit.


    About Mimecast

    Mimecast delivers cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange, including archiving, continuity and security.  By unifying disparate and fragmented email environments into one holistic solution that is always available from the cloud, Mimecast minimizes risk and reduces cost and complexity, while providing total end-to-end control of email. Founded in the United Kingdom in 2003, Mimecast serves approximately 4,000 customers worldwide and has offices in Europe, North America, Africa and the Channel Islands.

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