Ashurst saves and secures email with SaaS

Ashurst is using a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) email hygiene gateway and archive and retrieval facilities to improve the security and compliance of its email management.

With 2,000 employees in offices across 13 countries, the international law firm needed to find a way to minimise the burden of email administration on the IT team to concentrate on more strategic, business-focused tasks, according to Paolo Picone, Ashurst IT systems manager.

Picone spoke exclusively to IT PRO about the decision to take on the new SaaS email gateway. "A lot came down to the fact we'd handle this stuff internally," he said. "We had off-the-shelf products for anti-virus, another for spam and another for content management, that decided what email content we did or didn't allow through."

But he said maintaining these systems in-house was "causing a disproportionate amount of my team's time to manage". He added that, in looking for a suitable product to improve the situation, Ashurst upgraded its internal systems. "But we still spent too much time looking at false positives," Picone said.

The law firm has now adopted a SaaS email system from provider Mimecast, which has reduced the burden on the IT team without reducing the level of control over one of the business's most critical means of customer communication.

Picone said: "The Mimecast service did not fall into the same trap that we experienced with managed service providers and gave us the policy control and reporting we would expect from any on-premise security system."

The service, which includes a ten-year email archive facility, has had additional benefits on top of saving the time spent dealing with quarantine issues. The ability to offer a tamper-proof record of email with a forensic data trail of who had accessed or been copied on emails, as well as a complete record of where and when they had been stored, was a major asset that would stand up to scrutiny should the need arise.

And the security of emails can be assured before they enter the corporate network, while offering additional disaster recovery benefits.

Picone added: "As an international law firm based in the UK, all of our data, including email, must be stored onshore. Mimecast fulfils this requirement giving us an extra layer of resilience and we have a fully archived, always-on email service that gives us all the control we could wish for."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.