Clover Industries is a branded foods and beverages group with a long and successful history at the forefront of South Africa’s dairy and fast moving consumer goods industry.
A household name for more than 100 years, the business operates from 40 locations and serves consumers in South Africa and other African countries. For a business operating in a complex supply chain, email is of vital importance.
It is central to the day-to-day work of more than 2100 users across everything from sales and marketing, to logistics and finance.
As Server Infrastructure Manager, Louis van der Walt put it: “Loss of email service would be catastrophic. The business would not be able to communicate with its supply chain partners and consumers.”
“Capacity planning was a big issue,” Louis explained. “Email volumes were going through the roof so we were constantly running to catch up in terms of server space, which creates a significant CAPEX burden.
On top of that, keeping up with an ever-changing threat landscape is almost impossible when you’re supporting 40 sites locally. So there was a real OPEX issue too. Clover had a lean team working full time on email – it’s supposed to be a simple technology.”
Clover’s server team previously addressed many of these issues by adding Mimecast Unified Email Management to Clover’s on premises email environment: “Mimecast did an amazing job of strengthening security, gave us real time continuity capabilities and vastly improved archiving.”
Louis explained: “By then, cloud email was pretty mature technology and Office 365 in particular offered real promise. However, as a listed company, we are duty-bound to carry out a detailed risk assessment before taking such a big change to a business critical technology.”
With that in mind, Clover undertook a full audit – assessing the business need and any risks associated with a move to Office 365. That process unearthed a number of potential risks, from security to compliance, which would need to be effectively mitigated if a move to Office 365 was to be viable.
“While Office 365 is an excellent solution, any move for us would be dependent on mitigating the risk of data loss during migration, on extending the default 30-day archive, on guaranteed availability and on delivering in the cloud the kind of multi-layered approach to security you get on premises.”
Fortunately, Clover already had the ideal solution in place. Mimecast is designed to work seamlessly with Office 365, complementing and extending its native capabilities to deliver a corporate strength email environment.
“We didn’t have to look far,” Louis said. “A quick conversation with Mimecast made it obvious that it was the perfect partner for Office 365, addressing all of the risk issues identified by our compliance team.”
“Mimecast made it easy Mail was always going to be safe. Even if we lost mails during the migration, we could get it back from Mimecast very quickly.”
Just as important, Mimecast underpinned a controlled, step-bystep migration. “We didn’t do a big bang migration,” Louis explained. “We did it site by site. . Part of that was training. Going from Lotus Notes to Outlook was a bit of a change management issue. So we used Mimecast to decide when we would route each user’s email through Office 365, and retain control of email delivery.
“Of all the things we had to do to migrate to Office 365, Mimecast was the easiest and the smoothest.”
Mimecast has also enabled Clover to recreate a multi-layered approach to security in the cloud, building on the native protection provided by Office 365.
“Mimecast buffers us from the unsolicited emails and unwanted emails that comes in from the outside, rejecting around 80,000 email per day, and Mimecast’s Targeted Threat Protection in particular strengthens our overall defences,” he said. “It guards against weaponised attachments, sandboxing around 256,000 attachments every 30 days, and does a great job of blocking malicious URLs before they ever reach inboxes. It blocks more than 50 bad links in emails every 30 days, any one of which could be have serious knock-on effects for our reputation.”
Clover’s server team is also able to address security issues more quickly, managing the entire environment from a single, centralised administration console. “URL Protect for instance allows Clover to address specific threats across the entire estate with one click. There is no need to travel to a site and have a technician deal with an issue in person any more. That’s a real benefit when users expect very high SLAs – four hour fixes, max.”
Email users across the business, meanwhile, enjoy a range of benefits - all of which support productivity. ‘The days of mailbox size limits are gone,” Louis said. “We’ve gone from 500Mb mailboxes to practically bottomless 50Gb mailboxes, and users love that.”
The Mimecast archive is also saving users time and effort, according to Louis: “Users can find pretty much any email they have ever sent or received in a few seconds. There are many users who read emails then delete them, because they know they are right there in the Mimecast archive – and easy to find. They completely trust Mimecast’s reliability.”
In addition, pairing Office 365 with Mimecast has given Clover’s executive team an improved mobile email experience: “The exec team is very much on the road, travelling a lot so, if they need to find something quickly, where better but on a mobile? There’s no need to pull over, find a connection and get on the VPN anymore.”
On top of all that, Mimecast has provided significant time and cost savings. “By enabling us to move safely to the cloud, Mimecast has saved us a lot of money.
“There are big support savings too. We’ve gone from a dedicated team of two for email to no team,” Louis explained. “It’s now covered by a general server team and the two people who previously focused only on email now do more important, more rewarding work.”
Summing up the benefits of pairing Office 365 with Mimecast, Louis concluded: “It’s a perfect fit: Mimecast, as a single provider, enables a multi-layered approach to security, archiving and disaster recovery. Clover now gets all that without building massive storage arrays and cumbersome, expensive systems on premises.”
“Summing up the benefits of pairing Office 365 with Mimecast, Louis concluded: “It’s a perfect fit: Mimecast, as a single provider, enables a multilayered approach to security, archiving and disaster recovery. Clover now gets all that without building massive storage arrays and cumbersome, expensive systems on premises.”
Louis van der Walt - Server Infrastructure Manager, Clover Industries