Mimecast cloud simplifies WACO Africa

Southern African construction company WACO Africa has implemented Mimecast Unified Email Management (UEM) to reduce complexity during migration to Microsoft Exchange.

Mimecast, the leading supplier of cloud-based e-mail archiving, continuity and security for Microsoft Exchange, was implemented by WACO Africa to assist in disaster recovery, business continuity and e-mail backup.

WACO Africa was created through a buyout by management and an investment capital firm, resulting in the separation of the local operation’s management and back-office activities from those of its US and UK operations. This led to some fairly rapid de-linking of technology systems, particularly the global standard Lotus Notes messaging system.

“We had separated our system architecture from that of the UK, cutting dependency on that system and implementing our own services,” explains Ivan Caldwell, head of ICT at WACO Africa.

“We were converting the company from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange and didn’t want to overspend on technology infrastructure. We didn’t really know how we were going to address the issues of backup and archiving. At the time of separation, we hadn’t made any final decisions on services such as e-mail continuity and archiving, but we knew those were extremely important to the business. WACO Africa’s IT needed re-architecture, and we were slowly putting in plumbing to provide the required framework.”

WACO Africa has 700 e-mail users across 45 branch offices in the sub-Sahara region, with more than 20 other project sites running simultaneously.

Caldwell prefers to follow a strategy of outsourcing. This entails employing software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing where it makes sense and can add meaningful value to business process, as well as reducing the demands placed on the technology team. “So I was quite enamoured with the idea of working with a company like Mimecast,” he says.

Mimecast made the migration to Microsoft Exchange far simpler than it might otherwise have been, with the additional benefit of a 10-year e-mail archiving solution that forms part of the disaster recovery and high-availability strategy. It also includes perimeter-based anti-virus and anti-spam, with no need to invest in additional hardware or software infrastructure. With the Mimecast UEM service, WACO Africa did not need to make any significant alterations to its system or to user behaviour. Staff can use the archive search functionality either through the Mimecast Service for Outlook add-ons, or the intuitive and secure Web-based console, known as the Mimecast Personal Portal.

The implementation of Mimecast’s UEM system was easy and took WACO Africa’s team just a week: “It was seamless and transparent. The cutover was really smooth. We have a good technical guy working alongside Mimecast’s excellent technical people,” says Caldwell.

WACO Africa is also interested in the Mimecast Continuity Service for the BlackBerry Solution, which brings Mimecast’s archiving and availability advantages to the mobile environment.