by Nathaniel Borenstein
The World Wide Web turns 25 today, and since its invention by Tim Berners-Lee, we have experienced tremendous social, personal and cultural shifts in how we share, access and consume information.
These changes will be dwarfed by what the next 25 years will likely bring. Nearly every part of our work and personal lives will be changed, including how we communicate, socialize and work, as well as our healthcare, travel and public services. Some of these changes will be obvious to us, others not so as the technology continues its assimilation into the invisible fabric of our lives.
Today is the 25th anniversary of the wold’s most powerful communication engine – The World Wide Web.
The web and Internet will be a key enabling infrastructure for wearable and embedded computing, robotics and more. The enormous role of this technology in our lives raises critical questions not just for technologists, but for policy makers and ordinary citizens as well.
Any anniversary like this is a good time for reflection. I’ve been thinking about some of these changes, and how they will impact the next 25 years, despite how tough it is to ever predict the future of technology.
While we can look forward to positive changes brought on by the Internet, the web, and technology in general – things like a reduction in crime due to tiny networked cameras nearly everywhere, and medical advancements – it is also clear that without a coordinated international effort, these same technologies could be used by criminals, result in social isolation, or cause a rise in privacy-destroying surveillance.
As we consider the future of the web, I thought I would take the time to create, in partnership with colleagues at Mimecast, a series of posts exploring some personal views on the future we can expect from the Internet – looking at both the good and the bad.
So, Happy Birthday World Wide Web, and thanks for inspiring our attempts to look deeply into the future! Check back later this month for my first blog post in this series.
by Matthew Ravden
If there’s one thing we can be sure about it’s that, at some point in the future, almost nobody will manage mailboxes on premises. The dominant players look like being Microsoft with Office 365 and Google with Google Apps, though of course others may emerge.
Not surprisingly, then, pretty much every CIO in the world has taken a look at these platforms and adopted a stance. The stance may involve proactive planning now with a rapid migration in mind, or it might be a case of keeping things as they are until the technology matures further. Or there might be any number of interim steps that will make a migration easier at some point in the future. I would wager that there is no CIO that hasn’t started thinking about migrating email, in its entirety, to the cloud.
The Road to Office 365 – It’s Not ‘If’ but ‘When’ and ‘How’
For the last few years Mimecast has positioned itself as a companion technology to Microsoft Exchange, optimizing our cloud services to deliver maximum value to on premises or hosted Exchange customers. And now, of course, we’re also providing services for Office 365 customers, in both cloud-only and hybrid environments. Of our 9,000 or so customers, almost all of whom are on some form of Exchange, we are seeing a growing number using Mimecast and Office 365 together. With Office 365, we support very clear use cases that address specific customer needs that can’t be met by Office 365 on its own. It could be a particular compliance or eDiscovery need, or a desire for a ‘cloud-on-cloud’ High Availability solution to protect against downtime.
Office 365 may be the eventual destination for most businesses, but that doesn’t mean there is a crazy rush to migrate there or indeed that it’s the only short to mid-term option. For example, we’re seeing the Managed Service Provider (MSP) market booming, as smaller businesses offload their Exchange infrastructures and move to hosted Exchange suppliers. At the other end of the scale, Exchange 13 is an attractive option for companies who want to keep their mailboxes on-site. And we’re seeing a fair amount of hybrid deployment, with IT moving a subset of users to the cloud, with an independent archive like Mimecast’s giving them the flexibility to toggle mailboxes back and forth between on premises and cloud as they see fit.
But let’s not kid ourselves. These are all interim measures, albeit interim measures that will be very profitable for those organizations operating in the space for some years to come.
The point, I guess, is that we’re all preparing for an Office 365 world. At Mimecast, we are building out and optimizing our Office 365-specific portfolio so the use cases are crystal clear. It’s not simply a question of offering alternative tools to those that Microsoft includes with its Office 365 SKUs, but showing how we offer additional layers of functionality that support specific customer needs. That way, over time, we actually see ourselves becoming an accelerator, or enabler for Office 365 adoption, since we effectively remove short-term barriers to adoption.
Naturally, Microsoft is working hard to add functionality of its own and make Office 365 as robust and feature rich as possible. Many of the ‘gaps’ that Michael Osterman calls out in his paper, Office 365 for the Enterprise: How to Strengthen Security, Compliance and Control, will be filled by Microsoft over the coming years. So does that mean third parties will find it hard to build businesses within this ecosystem? No. In fact, as the platform matures, more use cases will emerge just as happened with Exchange many years ago.
Microsoft will certainly want to make sure that the common elements of customer need are properly served by Office 365 off the shelf, but this is a company, unlike Google, that has always been committed to its partners, and to the creation of a vibrant community of ISVs around its core platforms. Office 365 will be no different, and there will be plenty of room for third parties who can help customers not only see over the short term hurdles, but enjoy a first class, zero compromise cloud experience in the longer term.
by Malcolm Tinkler
Taking a break: Mimecast Developer Azam Khalidi on the office pool table
On the 2nd March, The Sunday Times in the UK published its annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For 2014. This was the first year we’ve been listed and we’re proud to place 43rd in the ‘Mid Company’ category. If you’d like to take a look at the full list you can find it here.
Best Companies’ methodology, BCI Measure, is widely recognized as one of the most academically rigorous measures of workplace engagement. Data is collected from over 1.5 million employees, exploring workplace performance areas such as personal growth, wellbeing, leadership and team work. In essence it‘s recognition by your own employees about how they view the company.
We’re particularly pleased as we’ve worked hard to build our culture in tandem with our focus on creating a fast growth company that has expanded significantly geographically.
We pride ourselves on attracting and retaining the most talented people to Mimecast which is why we invest heavily in training, mentoring and recognition in new and innovative ways. From the yoga studio in our Boston office to our ergonomically designed meeting pods in London, Mimecast pushes the boundaries for progressive working environments both physically and in the work we do.
As we look to our future, we realize that to fulfill our aspiration of being the largest and safest repository of human-generated data, we need a special team of the most talented people to achieve this right across our business from engineering to sales.
Which is why it was so great to be recognized last week – it’s a step in the right direction to forming the best company to deliver on this ambitious goal.
by Mounil Patel
Risk management concerns cause many healthcare organizations to neglect using email as a communication platform. In the U.S., these concerns are heightened by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Protected Health Information regulations which are explicit about the security requirements for sharing patient information. HIPAA-regulated communications typically fall into two categories: Easily identifiable communications based on relevant medical terms, and free-form communication that isn’t always easy to predefine, but should be sent securely.
Risk management concerns cause many healthcare organizations to neglect using email as a communication platform.
It’s no wonder that healthcare providers are afraid of using email for communicating patient information. But with the right technology in place, they don’t have to be. Technologies exist that can help with content control that use predetermined libraries to automatically identify sensitive content and enforce encryption and secure delivery requirements. Effective solutions allow communication between partner organizations that fall under the HIPAA umbrella and can be sent encrypted through simple policies set up by an IT administrator.
Good news. Healthcare organizations can stop living in fear of stringent policies, rules and regulations. Here are three ways healthcare organizations can implement secure email communications using advanced technology:
- Transport-level encryption: Emails should be encrypted during transmission between email servers to provide protection from interception.
- Message-level encryption: Because issues can arise with the servers themselves, message-level encryption can be used to protect content on the remote email server.
- Secure webmail: The most secure approach is some form of secure webmail delivery, in which the message is stopped at the gateway. The recipient of the email gets a delivery notification with a link that is used to access the original email. Secure webmail delivery solutions typically require a password to access the email which adds another layer of security to message access, giving worried doctors peace of mind. Ideally, the solution will also track recipient access. Use transport-level encryption for access to the Web server.
Healthcare organizations can stop living in fear of HIPAA rules when it comes to email communications. In fact, they can have it all: compliance, security, efficiency and a positive patient experience. Ready to learn more? Read our Healthcare Security Checklist.