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Twenty years of success and growth in the Southern African courier industry have seen the RAM Group of Companies go from a small, family-owned business to a diversified domestic forwarding and couriering company that can handle general items but has particular expertise in high-risk cargo.
RAM has an extensive network of 26 hubs in all the major centers across South Africa, to give further reach into more remote destinations, including many in neighbouring countries. RAM also has access to 53 offices in 20 countries through its partner network.
All this requires an extensive workforce whose members are in very close touch with each other, and with clients and partners. RAM currently has over 650 staff and more than 350 vehicles, with 400-odd people working from the office and needing email access.
RAM is heavily reliant on email communications. The company sends and receives between 20,000 and 30,000 emails daily across a network of service hubs that simply can’t afford to go down. “Email is a critical application to our business,” says Lance Soller, Group IT Manager for RAM Group. “Email is not a ‘nice to have’, it is directly linked to our delivery. If it goes down it could mean significant revenue loss to the business.”
In the past, the company had tried hosted software solutions in its search for a complete email solution. “Our selection criteria for our email management solution was based on our business objectives of cost efficiency, legal and regulatory compliance and proper archiving and continuity,” says Soller.
Earlier this year, disaster struck. The company’s email system went down, despite the use of a customised email management software product. “We experienced a catastrophic failure,” says Soller. “We had no mail for a day and the software vendor had no idea where the problem lay. We were a sitting duck for serious customer issues.”
Given the company’s strategy of embracing advanced technology to enable high standards of operational efficiency, RAM wanted to find a solution to email security and management that would ensure comprehensive email provisioning, guaranteed availability and total compliance, for pragmatic business reasons as well as to protect its brand integrity. “Mail has to stay up,” says Soller. “It’s not negotiable.”
RAM Group was introduced to Mimecast, and the RAM technology team was immediately impressed with the passion the sales executive demonstrated. “What’s more,” says Soller, “the depth of the product’s functionality was impressive enough for us to take it really seriously.”
The Mimecast solution adds two geographically separate email gateways to cater for both server failure and full site outages, giving full disaster-recovery capability. If an on-premise mail server fails, Mimecast provides continuous access to historical messages as well as to new ones, via a simple to use web console. This means that users can continue to work and service customers while the server or site is being restored, so that RAM’s business communications continue uninterrupted.
“Mimecast’s solution also provides us with a full archiving system we never had previously,” says Soller. Mimecast provides for long-term email preservation with complete audit trails, increasingly important in today’s business environment. This is vital for RAM as it looks to meet the ever-tightening regulations and compliance requirements in terms of document retention.
The Mimecast solution, through an easily configurable set of policies, is capable of supporting the above requirements at a far more specific level than a typical email archive, due to its sophisticated data-management structures as well as its comprehensive forensic audit trails.
“Implementing Mimecast has been straightforward. It just works. We introduced the system easily to the business and we switch seamlessly to backup and online systems when we need to,” says Soller.
“Working with Mimecast personnel who are helpful and responsive to queries and issues makes the process plain sailing,” he adds.
Mimecast’s UEM solution provides a complete set of the email functionality that is required by a modern business, over and above simple message delivery. This includes disaster-recovery services, email branding, protection against spam and viruses, as well as reporting on who is doing what with email for bandwidth monitoring and email policy compliance reasons.
Just as importantly, Mimecast has taken away the biggest headache for technology staff — administration. “We don’t worry about email anymore,” says Soller. “Mimecast has taken away the hassle of managing email on a day-to-day basis. When we need to we can manage many aspects from any location, using any web-enabled device,” comments Soller.
The benefit to RAM Group’s business is quantifiable in monetary terms in savings on storage, bandwidth and infrastructure costs, but also in harder to define areas, such as company reputation, the time freed up for technology staff, ease of document recovery in HR or legal disputes, and more.
“RAM Group’s email is now handled professionally, delivered securely and archived thoroughly. This frees us up to ensure that our customers can continue to count on us 100%,” concludes Soller
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