Products > eCourier UK Ltd case study
 
Creating a robust and secure infrastructure with GFI products

"We have been continually impressed by the level of passion GFI has for its products-evidenced in the quality of support and the frequency of new, exciting features for existing products." - Jay Bregman, Co-founder and Technology Director at eCourier, UK

 
  Jay Bregman
eCourier's mission is to revolutionize the same-day courier industry in the UK and beyond through the use of innovative technological offerings and a strong commitment to service. The company is located in London, where it services clients across the UK, and has 40 subcontractors and 15 office staff to support them. For the creation of a robust and secure infrastructure, eCourier turned to several key GFI products: GFI FAXmaker, GFI MailEssentials, GFI MailSecurity, and GFI MailArchiver.

How use of fax technology decreases lead times and increases revenue
The eCourier sales process is based around the account form: A physical document which must be signed and returned before a customer can begin booking. As such, speedy and secure use of fax technologies decreases lead times and increases revenue. To automate its fax systems, eCourier chose GFI FAXmaker 12 for Exchange, recently having upgraded to 30 users and 4 lines.

"GFI FAXmaker appealed to us as an out-of-the box solution that required minimal set-up and zero administration thereafter, but provides significant benefits, such as direct dial fax lines, the ability to receive two faxes simultaneously or send/receive simultaneously (with ISDN2), the ability to receive faxes as PDF documents, and send faxes from our desktops," said Jay Bregman, the co-founder and Technology Director of eCourier.

"Salespeople can fax pre-filled out account forms without leaving their desks, and then receive account forms instantly and digitally. We estimated that with the old single-fax-machine system, salespeople spent at least 20 minutes per day preparing fax cover sheets, travelling to and from the fax machine, and punching in numbers. With GFI FAXmaker, less than five minutes per day is spent on administrivia, leaving 75% more selling time."

In addition, GFI FAXmaker proved extensible enough to allow eCourier to offer automated proof of delivery confirmations with signature via fax, with no human intervention and very little development costs other than instructing the company's own application to send messages to phonenumber@FAXmaker.com.

"Using the SMSmaker facility included in GFI FAXmaker, we are also able to send confirmations via SMS," said Mr. Bregman. "These provide value-added alternatives that preserve eCourier's technological competitive advantages."

From an administrator's perspective, Mr. Bregman described GFI FAXmaker as being simple to set up. He particularly likes the fact that it integrates directly with Active Directory for easy user management, and allows all faxes to be archived in a SQL database for compliance purposes.

eCourier opted for Microsoft Exchange because of its scalability, ease of use, and ease of maintenance. "We wanted to make the most of one systems administrator - enabling a single person to oversee an office of nearly 60 users. We provide email addresses to all of our employees and webmail (via Outlook Web Access) to all of our couriers, most of whom are subcontractors," explained Mr. Bregman.

Constant protection against the latest email threats
eCourier deems spam blocking and mail security, such as protection against virii and inappropriate content, to be extremely important concerns "which have the potential to severely affect productivity and uptime". After exploring numerous anti-spam and anti-virus software options for Exchange, the company settled on a GFI MailEssentials/MailSecurity bundle for 75 mailboxes.

"As email is the number one route for malicious traffic onto networks, and as any second of downtime disrupts our ability to provide our services to clients, our primary criterion in judging mail security packages was quality at any price. GFI MailSecurity's vendor-neutral architecture allows us to use four separate virus scanning engines to minimise the possibility of a new infection getting onto our network-unlike products from other vendors which only offer protection from their own virus scanning engine," Mr. Bregman affirmed.

The company also found that the GFI MailSecurity HTML threat engine and email exploit engines-which scan for threats other than traditional virii-are extremely effective at combating the flood of spyware that masks itself as legitimate email, but the result of which is just as damaging to network resources. The product's email and web-based quarantine modules mean that administrators can approve or delete suspect messages from any Internet-enabled device, anywhere in the world. "The products virtually look after themselves-updating virus definitions hourly-meaning we are always protected against the latest threats," Mr. Bregman said.

The best anti-spam protection money can buy
For eCourier, spam started as a mere annoyance but ended up having a significant impact on productivity. Inboxes infested with junk made it difficult and tiresome to separate genuine customer communication from noise. The company found this to be even truer of mobile devices; as eCourier uses Blackberry devices in its operations team and for communications between senior managers, it is critical that the team is not desensitised by a flood of irrelevant messages.

"By utilising every conceivable means of filtering-from keyword checking to DNS blacklists, to Bayesian analysis-to newer methods such as spam URI and SPF, GFI MailEssentials gives us the best protection money can buy. And its use of public folders means that all employees can participate in teaching the filters to be more effective by marking missed or mislabelled messages as spam or ham. And all this is done in real-time-with no impact whatsoever on email transit time or mail-server performance," Mr. Bregman pointed out "We also utilise the GFI MailEssentials list server functionality for communication with groups of customers and investors."

Minds at rest through corporate mail archiving
GFI MailArchiver is the newest GFI product in eCourier's portfolio. "We view GFI MailArchiver as complimentary to the phone recording software which is necessary in case of disputes over bookings. It is a product that allows senior management to sleep easier at night, knowing that in the case of a customer dispute or suspected misuse of corporate information or IT resources, we are in possession of the evidence necessary to make prudent business decisions," Mr. Bregman revealed.

A true passion for its products
One other aspect has impressed eCourier about GFI, "apart from the strengths of the products themselves": "We have been continually impressed by the level of passion GFI has for its products-evidenced in the quality of support and the frequency of new, exciting features for existing products. I can recall submitting a support request on New Year's Eve-not expecting an immediate response, of course-and receiving a reply direct from the CEO stating he was passing it on the appropriate team and assuring me I would receive a prompt reply."

Regarding updates, Mr. Bregman says that eCourier virtually never subscribes to maintenance agreements as he rarely sees cases of companies actually producing any upgrades of merit during the period of the agreement: "This is decidedly not the case with GFI-with GFI MailEssentials alone during one maintenance agreement period we have seen the introduction of SPF, Spam URI, and the ability to specify a larger array of DNS blacklists."

By providing peace of mind that its email and faxing systems are functioning proficiently and effectively, eCourier's use of the GFI product quartet enables the company to better focus on its core business of supplying a highly competitive, fast and efficient courier service.

More information about eCourrier is available from http://www.ecourier.co.uk/.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

 

May 2005