Lights may go out but email stays on for CLM
Johannesburg, Small businesses are having a rough ride. On top of global business threats such as the skills shortage, the recession and increasing costs there are South Africa specific issues like the ever-present threat of Eskom power outages and the very real and continued problem of Telkom cable theft. CLM is a small/ medium business (SMB) that provides the construction industry with positioning productivity solutions such as laser machine control systems that accurately control and automate earth moving dozers, graders, excavators and scrapers as well as skilled engineers and technicians.
And like most SMB's email sits at the heart of CLM's business communication. "Everything from invoices to quotes to reports of damaged equipment happens on e-mail," says Conrad King, MD of CLM Positioning Systems.
Recently he has first hand knowledge of the impact of one stolen ADSL cable. "It wasn't pretty," says King. "We have operations in Mozambique and Malawi at the moment and all the emails are routed through our Johannesburg server so it wasn¹t just our office in Kya Sands that went down. It was all the plants we have in Africa."
When discussing the financial implication of one week without e-mail, King says: "It's impossible to quantify the loss. We will never know. Broken machinery in the field is lost money and orders for parts were just not getting through. We had equipment just sitting there. The potential was for some sites to come to a complete standstill."
CLM turned to its long-time networking partner, Think iT Solutions, to suggest a way to prevent this kind of business interruption from happening again. Think iT Solutions' recommendation was Mimecast - a unified e-mail management (UEM) solution.
Tony Dos Santos, technical manager at Think iT Solutions, says: "E-mail equals business continuity for most companies. If e-mail is up and running, the business can absolutely keep going regardless of whether the lights are still on."
"Mimecast was the obvious solution. The technology is solid, there is not upfront investment and their subscription model means cost effective monthly payments. All of which make it the perfect email continuity option for small to medium businesses."
Mimecast UEM is a software as a service implementation, where e-mail is transparently routed through the Mimecast South Africa¹s local carrier-grade data centres where it is stored in a secure repository. That provides the ability for clients to access mails remotely via the Web, a mobile device or Outlook plug-in. Mail is transferred from and to the client's existing servers after being scanned for malware, spam and (if required) intelligent content monitoring.
"Essentially, if the mail server in Kya Sands goes down, all mail is routed through the Mimecast data centres. Using the outlook plug-in, users access their email in exactly the same was as they normally do. It's the email routing that adjusts, not the user. Once the server is back on line there is automated synching between Mimecast¹s data centres and the server and absolutely no information is lost. Add 3G connectivity to the mix and suddenly there is no reason why CLM can't continue working even if an Eskom outage happens at the same time as the next inevitable cable theft," says Dos Santos.
The implementation took three days. "Murphys law means that obviously we have had no business interruptions since the implementation," says King. "But I do sleep better at night knowing that I will not have to go through anything like that week without e-mail ever again."
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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