Peter Bauer is the CEO and co-founder of Mimecast, which he launched in 2003. In this next installment of Legends of Mimecast, we sat down with Peter to talk about the common themes learned from our global customer base, how the threat landscape has changed over the years, and the Mimecast solutions he now can’t live without.
Be sure to also check out our recent -- and first -- Legends of Mimecast interview with customer and community champion Les Bessant.
Together with CTO Neil Murray, you founded Mimecast in 2003, and this original team is still in place. 14 years is an eternity in the tech world – what keeps you coming into Mimecast every day?
There's three things here. Firstly, knowing how important our work is. We are responsible for protecting critical communication and data for so many organizations across the world. This is such a huge and important responsibility: It’s a very good reason to get up in the morning.
Secondly, the enjoyment of being a part of innovating and building something uniquely useful is another reason. Software and the challenges of understanding how it can positively impact users is engaging work. We have a constant stream of ideas that often leave us with a sense of unfinished business.
Lastly, it's about the people that make up Mimecast: We get to work with such cool and inspired people internally on the employee side, and also within our customer and partner base. Between all of these groups, Mimecast is a really fun place to be.
What do you think has changed the most in terms of the scope of business threats, from the earlier years of Mimecast, to Mimecast in 2017?
I think it's the shift from general email pollution to more directed and targeted email attacks. We moved from seeing significant nuisances to significant threats. For example, it’s easy to gain access to pretty deep social and organizational data on LinkedIn, and there’s a growing cyber underworld that is increasingly well-connected and resourced. This is shaping the threat landscape. Email remains the number one attack delivery tool for these adversaries.
You grew up in South Africa, started Mimecast in London, and moved with your family to the United States to help spearhead the US operations. What have you learned the most from our customers in your travels, with our customer base dispersed globally?
I've learned that everyone is pretty much in the same boat. IT teams are largely all under-resourced, dealing with an accelerated rate of change, and are forced to be responsive to so many things.
Managing email remains a complex undertaking, with so many important computing workloads beyond the fundamental delivery of a mailbox. Your email infrastructure needs to meet your gateway delivery and routing needs, security needs (and that spans multiple issues from DLP and encryption, to spear phishing protection, and so on), data management and compliance needs, and, of course, disaster recovery and high availability needs.
These diverse and often infrastructure-intensive workloads are important, but frequently underappreciated or underestimated by the business. Those responsible for managing technology to ensure email works for an organization do understand the challenge, though. So we are thrilled to be able to help so many IT teams globally make this hard stuff easy with our platform.
What’s the one feature of Mimecast’s products that you as an everyday user couldn’t live without?
There are two, actually.
One, our graymail management feature saves me a lot of time and mental energy. All ‘newsletter’ or ‘store card promotional’ types of emails are automatically held for me. So I don’t have to sift those out of my inbox myself. I’ve used that feature for a while now and I don’t know how I lived without it before. I used to spend a lot of time sifting through, and being distracted by, low priority bulk email.
The second thing I love is our iOS app, which allows me to find emails going back over 10 years in a matter of seconds on my phone. I might be looking for a particular document or trying to recall the name of a contact at a certain company. Inevitably, it is in my email archive somewhere, and being able to just dip in and find it in this vast bank of corporate memory is very useful.
What keeps you busy off the clock?
I love spending time with my wife and kids, doing outdoors activities. On this outdoors side, running and snowmobiling are both things I enjoy.
Be sure to also check out some of the other Legends of Mimecast Q&As in the series:
Legends of Mimecast: A Q&A with Dawn Cronin
Legends of Mimecast: A Q&A with Les Bessant
Legends of Mimecast: A Q&A with Onyi Ejiasa
Legends of Mimecast: A Q&A with David Ignash
Legends of Mimecast: A Q&A with Johan Dreyer