Au Bon Pain Café Bakery offers customers authentic artisan breads, fresh baked goods, coffee, sandwiches, soups, salads and entrees from more than 305 locations in transportation centers, hotels, shopping malls, office buildings, hospitals and universities across the U.S., as well as in India and Thailand.
With more than 305 locations across the U.S. and around the globe, Au Bon Pain relies heavily on email communications, particularly to and between its cafes. In fact, Vice President of Technical Support Services
Lori Abrams reports that email is Au Bon Pain’s most visible and widely used application, noting, “We can’t operate the business properly without it.”
Equally important to enabling email are ensuring email archiving and retrieval capabilities and email security. With no easy means to retrieve email, Au Bon Pain users were reluctant to delete messages, and PST
files were enormous. While backups took a considerable amount of time, the bigger issue for the company was that finding and restoring data was time consuming and extremely costly.
In early 2012, when faced with the end of life of Postini, Google’s email anti spam/anti virus service on which the company relied, Abrams’ team at Au Bon Pain began the search for a replacement for its 150 corporate-owned locations. “We relied on Postini primarily for its AS/AV capabilities,” Abrams notes. “While we initially began looking for just an AS/AV replacement, we ultimately recognized an opportunity to implement
a solution that could also deliver archiving and retrieval capabilities, so we widened our search.”
Au Bon Pain researched a number of vendors, and noticed that Mimecast appeared again and again in its online searches. “The online reviews and comments about Mimecast were all highly positive, so we were persuaded to learn more,” Abrams says. “Mimecast was very responsive to our inquiries. Surprisingly, many other vendors didn’t respond at all, or they participated in preliminary calls and then disappeared.”
Abrams notes that with Mimecast, Au Bon Pain discovered that it could take advantage of additional features without increasing its budget. “Net-net, Mimecast cost the same as Postini,” says Abrams. “And we
gained archiving, business continuity, and e-discovery features. We now have a solution that is much more robust, so we’re getting a great deal more at the same cost.”
Au Bon Pain’s transition from Postini to Mimecast was seamless, Abrams reports. “The Mimecast implementation took just a little over a week from start to cutover,” she says. “The process was extremely
organized and we had no major issues.”
Automated email archiving; simplified ediscovery
For Abrams and the team at Au Bon Pain, effective email management “is about more than just a spam folder; you need to be able to archive and retrieve.”
Before Mimecast, Au Bon Pain archived email onto tapes, which was cumbersome and costly. “Tapes were stored offsite, so if we received a request to retrieve an email, we first had to get the tapes back to our office,” Abrams says. “Then, we had to find the right tape, and hire someone to look through every email to find what we needed. It didn’t happen often, but when we did have to retrieve an email, it could take us weeks and cost thousands of dollars, as much as $10K per request.”
With Mimecast, the retrieval process is much easier. “Today, we can almost always find what is needed in less than an hour from start to finish,” she adds, “and once we implement the Mimecast Outlook plug in, which we’re currently testing, we will be able to teach our users to retrieve what they need themselves, saving the IT team even more time.”
More effective spam blocking
With Au Bon Pain’s previous AS/AV solution, spam counts remained high and false positives were sometimes a challenge. “Mimecast is definitely blocking more spam than Postini did, and our users have noticed the improvement,” Abrams comments.
“In an average month, our inbound email volume is over 400K messages, and Mimecast blocks about 75 percent of those as spam before they even enter our network. Our IT team loves the solution, particularly the decrease in network traffic and the improved network performance.”
Mimecast came to the rescue recently when an important email sent to Au Bon Pain’s president was accidentally tagged as spam rather than released from quarantine. “Thanks to Mimecast, we were able to
retrieve the email quickly, which was a big win for us,” Abrams says. “With our previous solution, once an email was gone, it was virtually impossible to retrieve.”
Improved IT team efficiency
For Au Bon Pain’s IT team, the time savings attributed to more effective email management have definitely contributed to increased efficiency, giving them more time to focus on tasks that are critical to the business, and Abrams expects even greater efficiency once the Mimecast Outlook plugin is fully implemented. “With Mimecast,” Abrams says, “we can just turn it on and walk away, confident in knowing that it will perform as expected.”
Provides seamless business continuity
Abrams notes that up until now, Au Bon Pain’s email outages have been brief, only lasting a few minutes, but the company wants to be prepared just in case.
Phase 2 of Au Bon Pain’s Mimecast implementation includes the roll out of disaster recovery capabilities, and Abrams is considering adding the ability to failover seamlessly to Mimecast, including to smartphones with the Mimecast Mobile Access solution. “New disaster recovery capabilities bring us real peace of mind on many levels. First, to be able to fail over in the event of an outage or other challenge will ensure that our business and cafes remain fully operational, and second, with Mimecast, we’re able to replicate our email system easily;
replication would have cost us as much as $100K without Mimecast in place,” Abrams concludes. “Mimecast has exceeded our expectations in every way!”
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