Backing up email archive to DVDs was time consuming and risky

About Brown & Brown Protector Plans

B&B Protector Plans, Inc. is the special programs subsidiary of Brown & Brown, Inc. one of the most respected independent insurance intermediaries in the nation, and the ninth largest such organization in the world according to Business Insurance magazine.

B&B Protector Plans develops specialized insurance programs for new, unique industries and professional groups.

As a subsidiary of a public company and insurance industry participant, B&B Protector Plans is subject to many government and industry regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA. It also has to have the ability to quickly respond to discovery requests and maintain chain-of-custody procedures. Brian Panico, Director of IT, reports that in the event of a lawsuit, his team is called upon to produce archived email for an employee – so solid email journaling and archiving is essential.

Original archiving approach – backups to DVD – was inexpensive, but time consuming

For many years, says Panico, B&B Protector Plans archived email the traditional way. “Like most companies, we used the journaling features built into Microsoft Exchange Server,” he recalls. “Every ti me we hit 2GB, we would export the data and burn it to DVD, and then put the DVDs into a safe. It was inexpensive and met all the regulations, but really inefficient when you consider the ti me it took.”

Predictably, as the volume of company email grew, the frequency of exports and backups picked up. And because Panico’s IT team supports multiple offices remotely, that created a growing burden of work not just on IT but also on local non-IT staffers who had to perform the DVD burning in each office.

Panico was also dissatisfied with the length of time it took to fulfill requests to produce archived email. “Retrieving one year’s worth of email for a person – a fairly typical request – took one week or longer of full time work for an IT staffer,” recalls Panico. “And it’s impossible for me to assign a team member to work on just that one task full time – we are all juggling multiple projects at once. That meant it sometimes took several weeks for us to complete a retrieval request. I felt that was unacceptable, and decided we had to find a better way to do it.”

Seeking to avoid hardware and maintenance burdens, company explores SaaS options

Panico initially explored traditional on-premise email archiving solutions, but found the hardware and maintenance requirements too burdensome. “Our staff already has a large work load,” he explains. “Anything that adds a huge maintenance commitment to our to-do list is not an effective alternative, as far as I’m concerned.” Then he discovered Mimecast.

Mimecast provides the only end-to-end solution for unified email management in the cloud – a fully SaaS-based solution that covers archiving, discovery, business continuity, security and policy management. More than 2,000 companies around the world have replaced multiple, on-premise point solutions with Mimecast subscriptions in order to significantly reduce the risk, complexity and overall cost of email management.

“Offering all of these email management capabilities in a SaaS model is a brilliant concept, and perfect for a company like ours with limited IT staff ,” says Panico. “And we loved the fact that Mimecast had extensive experience working with financial and legal institutions, so they understood all of our concerns regarding data integrity, journaling, privacy and so forth.

Having been through this with so many companies like ours, Mimecast had a great grasp of the compliance and encryption issues. I didn’t get that sense of comfort from any other vendor I evaluated. They addressed every potential concern we had, even about chain-of-custody procedures, which is a huge issue in our industry.”

B&B gains not just email archiving, but also anti -spam, anti -virus and more for one price

“Though we were originally looking only for archiving capabilities, with Mimecast we also have access to anti -spam, anti -virus, continuity, secure storage, data-leak prevention and a host of other things, all for one price,” says Panico. “Instead of having a separate anti -spam/anti -virus vendor – and we used to – we’ve been able to consolidate all our email management functions into one service with Mimecast, and that
helped us make a business case for the investment.”

Panico notes that Mimecast’s anti -virus capabilities stood out from his previous vendor’s almost immediately. As B&B Protector Plans was rolling out Mimecast to users, its legacy anti -virus tool was still running at some locations. “We had a virus attack during that period, and while Mimecast detected and blocked the virus, our legacy solution did not,” Panico says. “It was a great proof point for Mimecast.”

Rolled out to 600 users across 20 locations, Panico estimates that buying all of those capabilities from separate vendors would have come to a very significant cost. “When you try to put these systems together yourself, it gets very expensive, and there are huge labor and administrative commitments,” he says. “For us, using a third-party service for one fl at fee was a no brainer. The cost is completely predictable, and it’s a huge burden off the IT team.”

An eDiscovery benchmark shows Mimecast is 5x faster than old manual retrieval process

Recently, to ensure B&B Protector Plans had met its original goal of speeding email retrieval times, Panico’s team benchmarked an eDiscovery project with two separate teams: one using the old process, and one using Mimecast. The teams were tasked with recovering two months worth of email from one employee.

The old process included identifying which DVDs contained the information, preparing the search query, searching for information on the DVDs, generating an output file and producing the results. “The old manual approach took our team 8 hours to complete, and most of that time was spent on the search,” says Panico. “With Mimecast, producing archived email took only seconds, and our entire process from start to finish took only 90 minutes.”

According to Panico, standard eDiscovery requests under the old system cost his IT department $2,000 to $3,000 per request due to the number of man-hours required. With Mimecast at his disposal, he expects to save money each year on eDiscovery requests alone. He also singled out Mimecast’s customer support as among the best he’s ever experienced.

“Everyone we’ve dealt with at Mimecast has been very proactive and professional,” he says. “They have a big passion for what they do, and they are easy to do business with. They’re also in a league of their own for support and service, we’ve really been impressed.”

“Insurance industry members hold their data in high regard, and Mimecast gets that,” Panico concludes. “I recommend Mimecast with absolutely no reservations.”

[2021/01] Brown & Brown Protector Plans
Sector: insurance
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