Mirus IT Solutions offers a large variety of services, including IT consultancy, managed services, disaster recovery planning, virtualization consultancy, software licensing, wireless security audits and network health checks. With two data centres, the company’s customers typically comprise up to 200 users, though several of its customer organizations include up to 900 users. Thor Internet Security is Mirus IT’s service provider business offering, among other services, hosted email security services to existing Mirus IT customers and new organizations.
According to Paul Tomlinson, Managing Director of Mirus IT, “Our prime business model is built around delivering quality services to our customers. What makes us different from other service providers is our commitment and dedication to providing an extremely high quality service experience that customers are looking for. Because customer service and retention is the very core or our business objective, we are willing to sacrifice our own profitability to ensure utmost satisfaction.”
Mirus IT’s Service Level Agreements (SLAs) commit to extremely fast issue resolution: four hours for critical issues and eight hours for non-critical issues—all of which they meet consistently. Moreover, in keeping with their customer service objectives, the company’s targeted SLAs are even more aggressive, striving for 15 minutes for critical issues and two hours for all other issues.
Initially, Mirus IT used MailWall from Omniquad to provide hosted messaging security services to its customers. This meant relying on a third party to provide prompt, reliable service to its customers and meet its SLA targets. Unfortunately, support issues and slow service from Omniquad prompted Mirus IT to seek alternatives that would enable them to bring the messaging service in house.
“By bringing the service into our data centres, we could better control its delivery and ensure we meet our own SLAs,” Tomlinson explained. “We decided to create a separate service provider business in order to offer managed services to our own customers and new prospects as well as to other resellers and managed service providers.“
As part of the evaluation and purchasing process, Mirus IT considered solutions from various vendors, including MessageLabs and Postini. Though Postini was more affordable, it offered no benefits to differentiate it from the incumbent MailWall.
Based on M86 Security’s proven technology, Mirus IT ultimately selected M86 MailMarshal Service Provider Edition (SPE) to be an integral part of its new managed services business, Thor Internet Services.
“Many of our existing customers already used M86 MailMarshal SEG, the email gateway solution, so we had developed knowledge around the product. Most importantly, our customers were very pleased with M86 MailMarshal SEG, and that gave us extra confidence to evaluate the hosted service platform from M86,” Tomlinson explained.
In addition, the fact that M86 MailMarshal SPE supports the Microsoft platform was extremely beneficial because Mirus IT already was a Microsoft Gold partner. The company had also invested in a large VM environment and therefore the capability to virtualize the M86 solution was especially valuable.
“This allowed us to grow organically and cost effectively, which is key to our success. If we need additional resources, we simply add nodes, and that couldn’t be easier,” Tomlinson continued.
Mirus IT also selected M86 MailMarshal SPE based on other features, including:
· · Multi-tenancy
The company sought additional features over the existing hosted solution, and multi-tenancy provided the necessary flexibility needed to customize services for its customers.
· · Flexible platform
Mirus IT was able to expand as their requirements grow into other markets, such as in South Africa and the U.S. The ability to filter messages within a specific region is a critical function.
Mirus IT first installed M86 MailMarshal SPE in early 2011, finding the deployment process to be easy and expeditious. Full installation took only two days, after which the company tested the solution for four weeks. According to Tomlinson, this pilot period “cemented our decision to proceed with M86 MailMarshal SPE.”
The ability to own the end-to-end delivery of a messaging security service was crucial for Mirus IT. Before switching to M86 MailMarshal SPE, the company sometimes waited up to 14 hours for an update from their previous vendor. This conflicted with its SLA commitments and interfered with its overall customer service vision.
“The issue with deploying a managed service run by a vendor is that resolution response times can be long, as the ownership and control lies with the vendor. The M86 MailMarshal SPE solution appealed to us because it allowed us to build our own hosted services offering and run it independently from our data centres,” Tomlinson explained. “For us, working with M86 meant that we could bring the service in-house and under our own control.”
Now, Mirus IT is able to pinpoint messaging security issues much faster, and because the company owns and runs the service, conflicts with a third-party vendor have been eliminated. This has enabled the company to improve the quality of its service.
Benefits of the M86 MailMarshal SPE solution for Mirus IT include:
· · Lower per-unit cost to purchase licenses
· · Improved quality of service for customers
· · Reduced cost of supporting customers; improved ROI
· · Capability to deploy in virtualized environment
· · Multi-tenancy to differentiate the service
· · Flexible tool kit
· · Cost-effective scalability
· · Ease of implementation and support
· · Ease and speed of acquiring new customers (setup takes mere minutes)
· · Excellent technical support from M86 Security
· · Ability to brand service as its own offering
Benefits to Mirus IT Solution’s end-user customers include:
· · Spam-free email
· · Detection and blocking of malware before it enters the network
· · Reduced bandwidth usage
· · Seamless, almost immediate service setup
· · Excellent customer service
In one example, Tomlinson explained, “Recently, one of our large customers was being spammed, and consequently was likely to be blacklisted. Their existing service provider no longer wanted their account. This posed a huge problem for our customer who was very important to us. With the new M86 MailMarshal SPE solution, we were able to provide our customer with a simple and cost-effective solution by setting them up on their own filtering node without impacting our other customers or our own environment. As a result we not only retained the business but were able to even increase our revenues from this customer.”
Mirus IT Solutions no longer depends on a managed services vendor. With M86 MailMarshal SPE, the company can offer its own flexible, cost effective email security services, including various package options, to its customers.
“Because we control customer service and support, we can deliver on our commitments and provide a high-quality experience to our customers,” said Tomlinson. “Troubleshooting is extremely fast, enabling us to achieve all of our contractual SLA obligations.”
Mirus IT is currently transitioning its MailWall customers, which comprise 50 percent of its customer base, to M86 MailMarshal SPE. Subsequently, the company plans to promote the service to additional customers as well as to other managed service providers.