Mimecast gives peace of mind to the Automobile Association

The AA has a proud and long heritage of serving its members dating back to 1930. People know and trust the AA to look after their motoring interests, protect and inform them about issues pertaining to the laws of the road, and generally to be their trusted partner on the road.

The AA is the industry leader in 24-hour emergency roadside assistance and takes pride in lobbying and representing motorists at government level on issues that directly affect the motorist.

Here are a few facts that make the AA the leader in emergency roadside assistance:

  • They send a trained technician to their member’s aid, not just a tow
    truck driver.
  • They fix 95% of cars on the spot. This means that instead of just
    towing a member to the nearest repairer, the AA’s qualified technician
    will get them back on the road.
  • They cover you, not just your car. So if a member should need
    emergency roadside assistance driving a friend’s car, they will gladly
    come to his or her aid.
  • They will send an armed guard to wait with a member if he or she feels
  • They do accident towing, with no hassle and no hidden costs.
  • They don’t just offer a jump start; they will replace a battery if needed.



Due to the nature of the AA’s business, there is a high demand for responsiveness and accountability. Technology has also changed the way in which companies run their organizations, and as with most businesses today, email has become one of the AA’s key channels of communication with customers, suppliers and stakeholders. This channel must therefore be 100% reliable.

“We have over 400 users, 120 of whom operate from our call centers. Each month we send and receive around 300,000 external emails and roughly 430,000 internal emails. Email downtime is more than a source of aggravation to our users and staff; it starts to impact our reputation,” says Jaco van der Merwe, AA’s head of IT.

“There are also regulatory issues around archiving to consider. There needs to be a secure and accessible record of communication to ensure we can protect the integrity of the AA and serve our customers.”

The company’s key considerations in its search for an email solution were the ability to: archive internal and external email; integrate with its Microsoft Exchange environment; and push spam and mail filtering to the edge of the cloud to reduce demand on the WAN infrastructure. It also had to ensure continuity of the company’s email environment.


“Delivering 100% email uptime to our business looked achievable when we investigated Mimecast’s email management system,” says van der Merwe. “At the time, Mimecast was a new product in a relatively new market, but there were no other solutions available that could offer the same technical functionality.”

Mimecast uses the Software-as-a-Service model for email management services. Customers connect to the carrier-grade data centres, which handle all the message hygiene, security and archiving, instead of needing to purchase, deploy and maintain in-house software and hardware point solutions. Implementation consists of a few straightforward configuration changes with the support of Mimecast’s technical team, which is extremely knowledgeable about corporate email platforms.

“Within hours we had continuity of our email service, our business emails were being archived and we had comprehensive security protection,” says van der Merwe. “There is no doubt that Mimecast UEM has solved our issues in terms of continuity and disaster recovery, and it ensures a far more secure Outlook setup with comprehensive spam filtering. It has improved storage and archiving capabilities and reduced our capex costs, enabling us do more with less.”


Before Mimecast, the AA backed up all email to tape, requiring significant manual intervention, which is not ideal from a compliance and regulatory perspective. The AA now securely archives its email communications offsite without the need for additional hardware or software, while retaining total access via an Outlook plug-in or web interface.

Says van der Merwe: “Our old archiving meant we were unable to search for specific messages. Now, we can archive all emails for up to ten years in a system that’s absolutely safe, and it’s quick and easy to retrieve any message.” With Mimecast UEM, spam and viruses are stopped at source and never even reach the network.

“Mimecast means less maintenance for our email support and more convenience for us, as email just runs in the background. Most of all, it gives us peace of mind. Next, we’d like to add to the functional richness by implementing Mimecast’s new MS Outlook product. The Mimecast solution enables us to do maintenance on our MS Exchange environment with minimal impact to our users and customers,” he says.

But for now, the AA has always-on, failsafe access to email, regardless of any mail server outages. “Mimecast is now an integral part of our operations,” concludes van der Merwe.

The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) Case Study
Sector: Transportation
Size: 317 End Users
Location: South Africa

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