Replacing tape-based email archive for storage and retrieval in the cloud

About Fish & Richardson

Fish & Richardson is a leading global law firm practicing in the areas of intellectual property, litigation, and corporate law. With more than 400 attorneys and technology specialists in 12 offices, the firm is unlike any other law firm in the world. Founded in 1878, the firm represented Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright Brothers. For 130 years Fish & Richardson has served great innovators, helping to protect countless ideas, nurture discoveries, and bring new concepts to market.

Chuck DeMille, Director of Network Infrastructure and Security, brings that spirit of innovation to Fish & Richardson’s IT initiatives, including SaaS-based email management for the firm’s 1,300 users.

Law firm looks to move away from tape-based email archives

In 2008, DeMille decided that Fish & Richardson needed to re-think its email archiving processes. The firm had been performing full backups to tape of all email on a weekly basis. If retrieval was needed, IT staffers would have to search through the tapes. The process was extremely time consuming, and with the increasing volume of email, tape and storage costs had become exorbitant.

“Efficiently managing records retention is crucial for any law firm,” explains DeMille. “At any time, we might be asked to locate a deleted email. The system we had in place technically met that need, but on a practical level, retrieval was extremely difficult. We needed a better solution.”

DeMille set out to find an email archive solution – something that would be easy to implement and manage. He first evaluated an archiving solution from his anti-spam vendor, but found it wasn’t very mature. He also evaluated several standalone archiving and retrieval products, but was put off by their cost and complexity. Then he discovered Mimecast.

IT staff sees value in SaaS-based model

Mimecast provides the only end-to-end solution for unified email management in the cloud – a SaaS solution that covers archiving, discovery, business continuity, security and policy management. More than 2,000 companies around the world have replaced multiple, on-premise point solutions with Mimecast subscriptions in order to significantly reduce the risk, complexity and overall cost of email management.

“We saw the value of the Mimecast model right away,” recalls DeMille. “A single SaaS offering would be much easier for us to implement and manage, and definitely less expensive.”

Mimecast enabled firm to replace three on-premise point solutions
Unlike on-premise archiving products, Mimecast did not require full-time IT staff support, and it enabled DeMille to replace three point solutions, for anti-spam/anti-virus, disaster recovery and email disclaimer management. “We viewed the extra capabilities provided by Mimecast as gravy,” he says. “Mimecast’s archiving features alone were enough to make the business case to subscribe to the service.”

DeMille reports that the firm’s Mimecast implementation went smoothly. “The bulk of the implementation was done in about two weeks,” he recalls. “The anti-spam took a bit longer – with Mimecast, we have a lot more control than we did before over what’s blocked and what’s not, and we had to do some fine-tuning. But now that that’s done, we’ve definitely seen an improvement in spam control with Mimecast versus our previous solution.”

Email server outage proves value of Mimecast: Email outage ‘completely invisible’ to clients

With regard to disaster recovery, DeMille says, “We don’t even have to think about it. Instead of having a separate system that we need to interface with and manage, it’s built right into Mimecast. It’s one less level of complexity and one less thing to worry about.”

Recently, Fish & Richardson had the opportunity to test Mimecast’s disaster recovery features during a planned outage on an email server. “The switchover to Mimecast was instantaneous,” says DeMille. “Users needed some training, but were able to send and receive email without a hitch. Most importantly, it was completely invisible to anyone outside the company that the server was unavailable.”

The biggest change for DeMille and his team has been the archiving capabilities of Mimecast. “If we had to find an archived email today, it would take just seconds,” says DeMille. “Before, it would have taken days.”

Mimecast has become favorite tool for resolving users’ email search & retrieval issues

“The ability to search archives and logs instantly has been a huge help in solving user issues,” says DeMille. “If one of our users says, ‘Inever received an email that someone sent me,’ we now have the tools to investigate quickly. In the past we’d have to manually search through log files to see what happened – it could take hours. Now I just sign on to Mimecast and search the logs – I usually have an answer, and all the detail behind it, in just a few minutes. Mimecast has become one of my favorite tools for resolving user issues, and has definitely helped us be more responsive to users.”

DeMille also commended Mimecast on its support, which he describes as “dramatically better than any other email management vendor we’ve worked with in the last two years.”

“When you take into account all the costs associated with our previous system – the tape, storage, integration, staff time and three point solutions – Mimecast has reduced our overall cost of email management by about one-third, even as we added new capabilities that we didn’t have before. In fact, the total annual cost of Mimecast is less than what we used to spend just on tape each year,” says DeMille. “But more importantly, we now have an archiving solution that works. We were able to replace three point solutions with minimal impact on users, and we improved our service. You can’t put a price tag on that.”

Fish & Richardson
1,300+ End Users
United States