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Formed in 2005, Gijima AST Group Limited is one of South Africa’s foremost IT solutions providers listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. As a listed entity and an organisation of high standing, Gijima is required to comply with a plethora of strict record retention requirements and governance codes. Its core offerings include managed services within the Microsoft environment, systems integration, unified communications, MineRP solutions, enterprise SEO and desktop provisioning.
The group currently has 70 offices and service centers throughout southern Africa and is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Furthermore, Gijima’s widely publicised and well received decision to encourage mobile connectivity among employees presented it with several email availability and data security challenges.
After investing heavily in upgrading its email infrastructure, the group realised that its personal .pst archival policy did not meet the requirements of a JSE listed entity and posed a significant operational headache for the internal IT infrastructure team.
“At the time we lacked a comprehensive internal email archiving solution. Many employees simply discarded their old .pst files or saved them to the wrong network drives. This made it difficult for us to adhere to internal governance and external legislative requirements,” says Riaan van der Westhuizen, Group Manager for Infrastructure at Gijima.
A brief but serious loss in messaging capability also highlighted the need for high email availability. Although Gijima had reduced the complexity of its Microsoft Exchange environment by upgrading to Microsoft Exchange 2007, consistent uptime still proved difficult to achieve for all users at all times.
“We reduced the complexity of our Exchange environment several years ago with the expectation that this would improve email availability. While this effort simplified email management it didn’t solve all the challenges associated with an on-premise system.
We started to investigate cloud- based solutions as an alternative or even a hybrid of the two,” adds van der Westhuizen.
Finally, Gijima’s move to equip its employees with Apple iPad 2 tablets presented a unique email and information security challenge as well as an even greater dependency on email and collaboration services.
The company wished to embrace the consumerisation of IT; ensuring that staff could remotely access email via a secure channel at any time during the day or night while adhering to record retention requirements imposed on the organisation.
After careful consideration, Gijima began searching for an off-premise or cloud-based email continuity and archiving solution to address the identified needs.
After an extensive evaluation of numerous email archiving solutions - both cloud-based and on-premise , Mimecast was a clear choice. Its Unified Email Management (UEM) solution met each of the group’s requirements while delivering several additional benefits at no extra cost.
The solution also served to integrate email security, hygiene and branding while offering the IT department control over Gijima’s email environment via an administration console.
Gijima’s call for an effective solution to its mobile challenge was answered by Mimecast’s mobile application, which seamlessly connects users to the Unified Email Management messaging service in a secure manner. Users can quickly and easily access all messages for up to 10 years on iPad, iPhones, Windows Phone, Android and BlackBerry devices.
Gijima’s decision to deploy Mimecast has proven a simple and effective answer to the group’s archiving challenge.
It has also delivered a number of other useful benefits such as improved email availability, says van der Westhuizen.
“We initially deployed Mimecast Unified Email Management in 2010. The difference has been obvious to us from day one; record retention is no longer a worry and we haven’t experienced a single occurrence of downtime since then.”
The group has also seen a significant reduction in spam. “We can now focus on more important IT functions and not worry about spam as this was a serious issue for us prior to implementing Mimecast.”
“Some employees would have to spend an hour in the mornings cleaning out their inboxes, it was extremely inconvenient. Today, it is no longer an issue and we feel far more confident about the state of our email security overall,” comments van der Westhuizen.
In addition, Mimecast’s support for mobile handsets resolved Gijima’s email archiving and security challenge for employees using these devices.
“Today we pre-load Mimecast’s email application onto every applicable mobile device that we hand over to our employees. Over 3000 handsets and tablets currently use this service; it’s been quite the success story for us,” adds van der Westhuizen.
As both Gijima and its clients enters a new era of cloud-based services and as the trend of more users bringing their own devices into the workplace a solution which has proven itself as a trusted partner for the most critical of service is Mimecast.
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