Mimecast and the future of email

Email remains the biggest business app in the world says Peter Bauer, the CEO and co-founder of mail management service Mimecast.

Boston based, South African born Bauer founded his company to “make email safer for business” and after launching in his home country and attracting 14,000 customers and spoke in Sydney about his company and how email is changing in the world of the cloud.

In many respects email is one of those applications – like SMS – that happened by accident. In it’s early days no-one intended or expected those messaging systems to become key communications services.

“I started my IT career in the mid-1990s as an e-mail systems engineer and if you think back to the mid 90s no business cared much about email at all,” says Bauer who believes the experience gave him a unique perspective to how the service evolved into a key business application.

Over the next ten years Bauer saw how email became the personal filing systems for most workers and put systems under pressure as companies had to manage large file stores with the associated compliance and discovery risks.

The security risks too were huge as email became the preferred malware delivery system as virus and spyware writers used infected messages to get onto users’ systems, a problem that has become worse as ransomware and phishing attacks have become common.

“Because business operations and process became dependent upon email, it became necessary to make the service highly available,” says Bauer in emphasising how important it has become to most large and small enterprises.

Even with the shift to the cloud, most companies have remained with email with companies moving to Microsoft’s Office365 – Bauer claims the take up has doubled in the last twelve months. Google’s Apps are gaining traction in the small end of the industry but the enterprises are really wedded to the Microsoft platform.

Bauer sees that shift to cloud based services as changing the risk profile for businesses and this is another opportunity for his business.

Email faces a number of challenges as social media and instant messaging apps become preferred communications tools for younger groups while some businesses are banning email.

For the moment though, it looks like the service is safe as companies remain wedded to email as the preferred form of business communication.