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Set up in 2000, Johannesburg City Parks, service delivery mainly consists of development, maintenance and conservation of public open space and the natural environment, greening the city, and securing burial space for the future. City Parks is committed to bridging the green divide between disadvantaged townships and the suburbs. It is responsible for providing inclusive open spaces and serves all the people of Johannesburg.
JHB City Parks takes care of 22,278 hectares of open space and green areas. This space includes up of 1.6 million street trees, 6,603 hectares of developed parks and arterials, 7,500 hectares of pavements, 2,343 parks, 1,587 hectares of trails and river trails, 35 cemeteries, 22 nature reserves, 15 bird sanctuaries, seven hiking trails and four environmental and education centers.
The administration and management of all this a lot of communication and correspondence, which predominately takes place over email. “JHB City Parks staff with no email would be a crisis in terms of work continuity. We actually just couldn’t function without email,” comments Josiah Metsing, IT Manager for JHB City Parks.
Metsing half his working day managing and maintaining email quarantines. “It was terribly frustrating knowing my time was being wasted on the menial task of maintaining people’s email, as opposed to focusing my energy on more strategic IT-related tasks,” says Metsing.
“There were people’s mailboxes that needed to be physically monitored, sustained, retained and organized. Users are allocated ten gigabytes of space for email daily. That’s a lot of email,” continues Metsing.
Users can search the archives going back months or years in a fraction of a second. In addition, Mimecast assist clients in fulfilling ECT Act-requirements, meaning that all mails can be retrieved with full auditable forensic detail intact.
“Mimecast mechanically takes care of email; this is the single biggest advantage of Mimecast for JHB City Parks’ IT department. Spending hours each day working on email is thankfully a thing of the past,” continues Metsing.
Planning in the IT department is now proactive and strategic. “Now that email is taken care of, we have started working on implementing other IT functions to benefit workflow and business continuity at JHB City Parks,” says Metsing.
Additional Mimecast features and tools, such as security and data leak protection, spam control and the limitation of viruses have been implemented. Standard email signatures and disclaimers are also a Mimecast feature that JHB City Parks has put into practice.
Mimecast radically reduces the administrative drain of spam management on IT staff in a number of ways. Firstly, it reduces the bandwidth requirements of email by only allowing valid email onto the company’s network. Most filtering solutions test messages ‘on the disk’ after emails have already been received. Mimecast tests messages ‘on the wire’, while they are still in the process of being transmitted. This ensures that only legitimate messages enter the JHB City Parks network.
Secondly, Mimecast does not use a quarantine system for suspect email. This reduces the amount of time IT professionals spend going through emails and either rejecting or accepting them. Mimecast’s ARMed SMTP technology eradicates the need for a quarantine folder.
The beauty of an ‘on the wire’ approach is that if a mail is rejected the sender is immediately aware that they have not been successful in their delivery attempt as their mail server notifies them. Contrast this with a quarantine-based approach where no-one is made aware that an email has not been delivered. Quarantines require constant monitoring to avoid causing disruptions to business workflow processes. Mimecast ARMed SMTP requires no monitoring whatsoever.
“Companies really need to start taking advantage of cloud-based solutions, minimizing risk in the long run,” says Metsing. “The time saved through Mimecast is invaluable; I cannot compare what I do now to what I did before we had Mimecast.”
In conclusion, Metsing says, “Locally we may lack skills and behind in technology compared to the US and Europe, but the cloud helps us to get up to speed and allows local IT departments to focus on other IT activities and initiatives beyond the likes of mundane email. Instead their activities and initiatives are able to be tactical and planned, growing the standard of IT delivery locally and developing local skills.”
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