Wedlake Bell is a top 100 law firm based in central London. With a 230-year history, the firm provides legal counsel and services across a wide variety of disciplines, via its private and commercial practices.
In common with law firms worldwide, Wedlake Bell has come to rely on email as a critical communication tool and had deployed a complex set of point solutions to support their Exchange Infrastructure, including Symantec Enterprise Vault – but, by 2007, the sheer volume of email communication was overwhelming their Enterprise Vault archive. Riana Nel, IT Manager, said: “At that point we were running Exchange Server 2007, and had ever growing mailboxes. Storage was running out of control and we had some real performance issues with Enterprise Vault as a result.”
In an attempt to solve its email storage issues and take the pressure off Exchange 2007, the firm introduced Symantec’s Enterprise Vault. However, the solution did not deliver against Wedlake Bell’s objectives, and created it’s own problems.
Riana commented: “We had real problems with Symantec. It did not integrate well with our document management system, which introduced an extra round of trouble-shooting every time we carried out a document management upgrade.”
The Symantec solution also impacted on back-up operations and disaster recovery (DR): “Enterprise Vault did not fit our back-up window and created problems related to our DR replication. Because we were replicating email data to our DR site we often had problems with bandwidth and storage. Replicated data was taking up additional space on both our SAN and our live storage, so we ended up having to expand our storage.”
On top of these problems, Wedlake Bell also experienced performance issues: “Often when we upgraded the Enterprise Vault software, or our desktop software, then the software would become unstable, so we again had another round of trouble-shooting.”
By then they turned on their mc archive in 2008, Riana had seen enough. Symantec Enterprise Vault had introduced complexity without fully resolving Wedlake Bell’s email storage and management issues.
Riana explained: “It was clear that we needed to identify a single solution that would neatly integrate with our existing infrastructure, and which would be easy for us to manage and support.”
Riana was keen to avoid the pitfalls of the past, by identifying a solution that would solve Wedlake Bells’ core email management issues, while eliminating complexity and reducing cost. As a result, she was keen to evaluate cloud-based email management solutions.
“Really it was a no-brainer just to have one supplier and one product that could give us email security, continuity and archiving all in one. What I was looking for in the cloud was a solution that would do that, while also reducing cost and complexity, essentially by removing the need for us to manage these solutions on site.”
With those requirements in mind, Riana settled on Mimecast Unified Email Management (UEM) as the ideal solution: “Mimecast won because it ticked all the boxes in terms of delivering a single, integrated solution. But we could clearly see that it would be easy to use, it would remove complexity and it would help us to reduce cost.”
The migration process only served to confirm that view. Riana said: “When we decommissioned Enterprise Vault, Mimecast helped us right the way through. We worked very closely with the Mimecast ingestion team, and were provided with some really detailed, step-by-step instructions. In essence, we simply exported all our historical data into PST files, which we provided to Mimecast for ingestion. It was a very smooth process.”
Storage issues, solved
The move to Mimecast UEM has finally resolved Wedlake Bell’s email storage issues, since Mimecast Email Archiving essentially creates bottomless mailboxes, with email data stored in a highly accessible, highly scalable secure archive in the cloud.
“We’ve had no need to expand our SAN and no need to allocate additional bandwidth,” Riana confirmed.
Reliable and available
The Mimecast solution has proved itself more stable than the Symantec solution that preceded it, while Mimecast Email Continuity, providing near invisible failover and failback in the cloud, protects Wedlake Bell from the disruption of downtime.
“Since we started to use Mimecast, we’ve found it to be always available and accessible. It’s very reliable”
Moving to Mimecast has also helped Riana to cut the cost of supporting and managing Wedlake Bell’s email infrastructure.
“We’ve reduced our software costs and there was no need to invest in additional hardware. On top of that the trouble-shooting that was a feature of our Symantec solution is a thing of the past. We spend a lot less time resolving unforeseen issues.”
Added value: eDiscovery
But Mimecast UEM has done more than solve Wedlake Bell’s email management issues. It has added real value to the business, for instance through powerful eDiscovery features.
Riana said: “You can do some really great searches with Mimecast and we love the functionality for building eDiscovery cases. Since the beginning of 2013, we’ve had quite a few occasions to call on that functionality and it has added real value. Building the cases has been very straightforward and, more importantly, when we deliver them back to the user it’s really easy for them to track down all the emails they need.”
Overall, then, Riana has been delighted with Mimecast UEM: “Mimecast has given us what we wanted; a single, cloud-based product that helps us with email security, continuity and archiving. There are no headaches. It is an excellent product, we get excellent support and we can only see it getting better.”