Stuart Handley
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Inbox Zero: Plotting a Route to Less Stress

I was intrigued to see that someone named the fourth week in January, ‘Clean Out Your Inbox Week’. This was an initiative aimed at helping employees take control of their inbox and reduce email overload. Ever expanding inboxes are something we all have to deal with at work and home, and many people struggle to manage their inbox effectively…often cited as a major cause of workplace stress.

With Mimecast’s cloud archive service, the archive is bottomless and sits securely in the cloud, and off the corporate network.

With Mimecast’s cloud archive service, the archive is bottomless and sits securely in the cloud, and off the corporate network.

From our point of view, this is not just an issue for individuals but also a situation impacting corporates and their IT departments. As email inboxes get bigger and data storage costs rise, more and more management resources become sucked into looking after this growing email infrastructure and its mass of unstructured data.

But happily there are solutions to these problems.

Even the most hardened hoarder of emails can be helped. Firstly, if your organization uses a cloud email security service like Mimecast you can significantly cut the spam cluttering inboxes and clogging up costly data storage on the network. The vast majority of email that hits your network is unwanted spam (estimates vary in excess of 70%) and our service stops this even reaching your organization. If you don’t do this, checking and filtering this email wastes valuable IT time and resources unnecessarily.

Once you’re sure what’s in the inbox is ‘real’, next stop is effective filing and archiving.  The problem is that for many people storing their emails into an archive is a concern – they are sending the email and its attachments off to a dusty, never to be seen again archive out of their control. Once it’s there, it’s simply too difficult to recover– so these emails stay languishing in the inbox and squatting on the enterprise’s network just in case they need them.

With a cloud archive service like Mimecast’s, we help you get round that problem. The archive is bottomless and sits securely in the cloud, and off the corporate network. So IT managers can reduce their storage burden. For the user, the archive is interactive – they can search, access and re-use all their archived emails forever safe in the knowledge it’s being securely and safely stored indefinitely if they want. When we show IT managers and their users this, we see a major shift in attitude about the archive. The concern about using them proactively to help manage the burden on their inbox goes away. If this archive is then paired with end user productivity tools like our mobile apps, the archive can become invaluable – available to users where and when they want, on their device of choice.

So you can have the best of both worlds. A zero mail inbox and easy, searchable access to every mail you ever received or sent if that is what you want or need. This will be good news to those emailers who made a New Year resolution to finally get off their IT manager’s naughty list.

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Recent Press Articles on Mimecast Globally

Please excuse the sound of us blowing our own trumpet but I thought we should highlight a few press articles from around the world we’ve received in the last few months that we thought our blog readers might find interesting. Hope you enjoy.

We talked about this on the blog but we recently launched Mimecast Large File Send for Outlook and our support for Office 365. Here are just a few of the press articles on these products – CBR; V3; IT Online and Comms Business; MSP Mentor and IT Online.

Neil Murray, foresees a future in which businesses will move their unstructured data to the cloud to make it safer and more useful – Computer Weekly, July 2013

Neil Murray, foresees a future in which businesses will move their unstructured data to the cloud to make it safer and more useful – Computer Weekly, July 2013

We were delighted too when Harvard Business Review covered our research into how we all use email.

In July, Neil Murray, our CTO spoke with the UK’s Computer Weekly about our vision for information banking. In addition, Matt Ravden, our CSO talked about the risks of Shadow IT and data fragmentation with Computer Business Review and IT Pro portal. This came after we released our research into this issue with FreeForm Dynamics covered in IDG Connect and IT Web. Nathaniel Borenstein, our Chief Scientist has also been sharing his views on the future of technology and email with AllThingsD.

Our CEO has been out and about too of course. Peter Bauer has been talking about our plans with Real Business, The Guardian and Director; commenting on entrepreneurship in Redmond Channel Partner and the potential of London as a market for tech IPOs in City A.M.

The news that we’re expanding in the U.S. with a bigger HQ in Boston and office in San Francisco as well as new offices in Chicago and Dallas also grabbed attention in: Watertown Patch; Boston.com; Boston Business Journal and Texas TechPulse.

Also we opened our first office in APJ in Melbourne, Australia and aside from getting some good support from the local government, the press were welcoming too: ARN; CSO and Herald Sun (subscription only sadly).

Finally, it was great to appear for the fourth consecutive year in The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 – its ranking of the UK’s fastest growing firms. This year we secured 79th place. You can find the article here and a blog post on the subject from our CEO here.

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Drivers Start Your Engines

Last Wednesday night the Mimecast team joined customers, jumped into stretch Hummers and headed over to the local go-kart racing track here in Vegas.

A great evening was had by all. In my case, I was challenging for first place and was cynically taken out of the race by my colleagues, just as I was about to claim victory. But I took it with good sporting grace of course. Congratulations to Peter Smith who won our Mimecast team race.

Stuart Handley, Group Communications Director, Mimecast, seconds before glory was cruelly plucked from his grasp

Stuart Handley, Group Communications Director, Mimecast, seconds before glory was cruelly plucked from his grasp

Anyway – I feel better getting that off my chest. Now to honor our customer winners.

After a hard fought race, Ken Orgeron from Gardere Wynne Sewell was the evening’s winner. Second place went to Damian Burdette from Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips and third place to Jason Russo from HDP.

It was great to get a chance to spend time with some of our valued customers at ILTA 2013. After a busy show, everyone seemed happy to get out of the conference center for a while and let loose their inner F1/NASCAR driver.

We’re already thinking about our next challenge when ILTA moves to Nashville, Tennessee in 2014. Perhaps I’ll get a clear track and a chance to get my deserved place on the winner’s rostrum next year.

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A Change is Gonna Come…

We’ve all heard that ‘change is a constant’ but like King Canute in ancient English history, it’s tempting to want to hold back the waters of change and cling on to the old way of doing things for just a little bit longer. To eek out just a few more dollars from our business doing it the way we’ve always done it.

But the change is coming. How deep are you going to let the water get before you join in?

Technology, and the cloud in particular, is forcing legal firms to reconsider their approach to doing business

Technology, and the cloud in particular, is forcing legal firms to reconsider their approach to doing business

Here at ILTA 2013 there has been a lot of discussion about how technology, and the cloud in particular is forcing legal firms to reconsider their approach to doing business. It’s a challenge to those partners in law firms who, like Canute, are trying their best to hold back the tide of change. Unwilling to look at their technology as a potential to transform the running of their business, and the quality and nature of their client services.

In my experience, meeting a number of attendees here now the last couple of days, there’s no shortage of innovative thinking and inspiring ideas for how technology can have a profoundly positive affect both on how law firms are run and how they serve the changing needs of their clients. But the question seems to come down to how open the senior leadership of these firms are to listening and acting on these ideas. These guys hold the purse strings after all.

Mimecast has the privilege of working with many law firms around the world who are tackling the challenges and opportunities of new technologies including the cloud every day. We see some great change and innovation on a day to day basis. We like to think that we’re playing our part in showing how our technology can play a part in positively transforming their businesses for future readiness too.

On Wednesday I attended a workshop exploring tech trends already impacting legal firms today. I was struck in the conversation that there is plenty of room left for law firms to embrace what most would consider are now mainstream technologies. Lots of talk about the transformative impact of HD quality video conferencing over the web and IM/presence services in freeing up lawyers from the burden of travel to client meetings and reducing the cost of these sessions with the client too. Both popular outcomes.

There was also plenty of talk about how big data (wouldn’t be a conference without at least one reference to this) means lawyers and customers have access to ever growing volumes of historical data to make informed decisions. And that the widespread availability of this reduces the time and energy it takes to source evidence to support a decision. The sense being this can be a positive thing – reduce the time it takes to help a client and a counter view that this will transform the historical billing model for law firms. Depending on your perspective that’s an opportunity or a worrying development.

But clearly video is hardly a new technology. Same with the discussion about voice recognition or dictation software. Both of these have been available for many years. But the point is that they are now mainstream and high quality. Cheap and even free in some cases, while commonly used by many people in their everyday home and work lives. Bringing them into the legal practice is an obvious thing to do that lawyers and importantly, their clients are now open to.

Then there is the question of expectations from a whole new generation of lawyers. The Gen Y’ers who’ve been bought up to expect open access to the Internet, at home and at work are using it (and cloud services) throughout their day to day lives. It’s natural that they will challenge the status quo – find places where these technologies can mean more efficiency, improved billing and client service. If they can work and win more cases and bill more, they are going to progress quickly. Potentially bringing them into conflict with the Canutes ‘upstairs’ of course.

There also seemed to be a lot of openness to bringing new technology into their practices. Even looking at how to outsource to specialist service providers like Mimecast, technology viewed as outside the core competency of the firm.

But for all the enthusiastic talk of powerful uses of technology in the end-user productivity or client service area, I kept coming back to the simple truth that profound benefits particularly in the cloud come in the area of infrastructure. The case is more compelling than ever to transition infrastructure to the cloud for example. A case of improved efficiency, cost, ROI, security and reduced complexity that appeals not just to the technologists wanting to free up time and resources to tackle bigger challenges, but to the Canutes with the purse strings – they already spend a great deal on technology they may not understand so here is a way to take some of that pain away.

A quick walk of the exhibition hall here at ILTA confirms this. Many of our fellow exhibitors are showing just these kinds of tools and services designed to make the business of running a legal practice easier, faster and cheaper. From cloud based secure email, archiving and file sharing in our case to billing systems; case management and collaboration.

So while we all get distracted from time to time by the bright shiny boxes – take a moment to look again at the technology that runs the business. Innovate here first and free up the time and resources to make all the other things possible.  And for the same IT budget potentially.

So I guess the real question comes down to this – how well can you swim?