As the government funded body for the regulation of the domestic telecoms, broadcasting and postal services sector, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) plays a vital role in ensuring that legislative policies are enforced and consumers protected.
Primarily, ICASA’s mandate is to manage the allocation of radio frequency spectrum within South Africa, and the provision of regulations for new technologies within this arena.
In the fulfillment of this role, ICASA spends considerable effort liaising between industry and public stakeholders. Many of these discussions take place via email.
It stands to reason that a state organ as important as ICASA requires a stable and streamlined email communication infrastructure. Given the nature of their work, compliance across all communication is of utmost importance.
ICASA inherited a legacy email infrastructure, which was prone to outages from time to time. Furthermore, compliance with relevant legislation was difficult, if not impossible, to guarantee. Key challenges in achieving this level of compliance included a burgeoning volume of spam, the inability to prevent confidential data from being leaked, and the inability to search for historic emails, even of employees that might have left the organisation.
“When staff left ICASA, vital organisational information leaves with them; forcing us to recreate records or to redefine business processes,” says Roshan Algu, ICASA Senior Manager Information Technology & Services. “This posed massive regulatory risks to ICASA,” he adds.
ICASA had a critical need to improve email security, while deploying an efficient archive which could speak to all compliance concerns, in a cost-effective manner.
Mimecast’s Unified Email Management service was the immediate answer to address all email challenges for ICASA. “Mimecast was able to address our security, archiving and compliance requirements in a single solution. Their cloud platform meant that our internal support processes did not change, and we could on-board the technology with minimal effort,” recalls Algu.
Working hand in hand with Afrovation, a company which provides email collaboration solutions, Mimecast seamlessly integrated with ICASA’s Groupwise infrastructure to deliver the cost-effective solution they were looking for.
“Our migration from GroupWise to Exchange was made easier following Afrovation’s recommendation to have the entire mail data ingested into the Mimecast archive to maximise the availability of the email services. With all our data in the archive, we were able to migrate without any hassles,” he adds.
While Mimecast has addressed all ICASA’s email infrastructure imperatives, the additional benefits that have been gained are worth noting.
“The ease with which we can search for historical emails has enabled us to dramatically improve our interaction with all stakeholders. This is particularly relevant as more than 50% of data interchange is email-based,” confirms Algu.
“Not only is it possible to search for email of any current employee, old employees’ email remains in the archive and is searchable. With our previous technology, we had no central archive, which meant it was impossible to track and trace emails to and from our 400 users. Now we do that in seconds.”
“Mimecast’s proactive support of our environment has been better than most technology vendors we use today.”
ICASA has also been able to implement content-based filtering to email. This means that if there is an attempt to leak inappropriate content, such as confidential data, it can be detected and remedial action taken. “This feature is core to us being compliant to our mandate and in maintaining confidentiality with all stakeholders” says Algu.
By implementing Mimecast, ICASA experienced a substantial reduction in spam as well as virus entry attempts. “This is entirely seamless to the user, enabling us to increase individual productivity throughout the organisation.”
“In addition, Afrovations’ involvement in the project was key; their knowledgeable staff with specialised focus in email services and understanding of Mimecast benefited us extremely well.”
Implementing Mimecast has presented ICASA with additional capability which they plan to leverage in the future. “A good example of where we want to expand our use of Mimecast is to ensure corporate branding on all outgoing communication” adds Algu.
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