May 10, 2017

Engineering Spotlight: Mimecast

Paul Sowden headshot
Paul Sowden, Platform Services Director at Mimecast

Mimecast is a cybersecurity company focused on protecting data and emails for corporations. Through Mimecast’s products and services, companies can be shielded from data breaches, malware and email based cyber-attacks. Mimecast is an international company which works with close to 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2015, the company went public and started trading on Nasdaq.

VentureFizz spoke with Paul Sowden, the Platform Services Director at Mimecast, to give you an in-depth look at the engineering team and the complex technology behind their MimeOS platform. 

Also, Mimecast is hiring! Check out their BIZZpage for the openings at their Watertown office.

Quick Hit Details

Year Founded: 2003Mimecast logo

Number of employees:  1,000

Number of engineers: 160

Industry: Security as a Service and Enterprise Archiving

Can you share the details on what Mimecast does?

Mimecast’s security, archiving and continuity cloud services protect business email and deliver comprehensive email risk management in one fully-integrated subscription service.

Mimecast reduces the risk, complexity, and cost traditionally associated with protecting email. You no longer have to manage an array of disjointed point solutions from multiple vendors. And you mitigate single vendor exposure if you have moved your primary email server to the cloud with services like Microsoft Office 365.

Our best-of-breed services protect the email of over 24,900 customers and millions of users worldwide against targeted attacks, data leaks, malware and spam. We give employees fast and secure access to sensitive business information, and ensure email keeps running in the event of a primary service outage.

Can you talk about the fundamental technical problem you help companies solve in terms of making email safer for business?

Security breaches, data leaks and email-based attacks are a real threat to your organization. Now, more than ever, you need a new approach to email security and management. Don’t let the limitations of traditional technologies prevent you from protecting email and corporate information.

We have made it our mission to mitigate the risks you face from email, and support you in reducing the cost and complexity of protecting yourself by moving this workload to the cloud. We live and breathe cloud technology. We developed our proprietary cloud architecture to offer you comprehensive email security, service continuity and archiving in a single subscription service. Our goal is to make it easier for you to protect your business in today’s fast-changing security and risk environment.

What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?

We have a number of languages and technologies in production used here at Mimecast. Objective C for our Mac and iOS apps, .Net for Windows services and C++ and Java for our core MimeOS platform. MimeOS is our proprietary microservices based SaaS operating system which underpins all of our technology and allows us to scale. Scale is something we’re seriously not short of here at Mimecast; in building MimeOS we’ve evaluated almost every open source ‘big data’ platform and found issues in many of them, it’s all just a question of how far you’re prepared to push.

What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?

Despite repeatedly reading “email is dead” articles, the world is sending more and more emails each year. Scaling MimeOS to handle both this and the new customers connecting to Mimecast each year is a continual challenge that few companies get to experience. Every year some part of MimeOS gets an overhaul and we have to throw out the playbook and think up some new (and sometimes bizarre) ways to make the systems stretch further.  Operating at scale creates new challenges, traditional approaches don’t always work and often counter-intuitive solutions are best.

Can you describe the type of background or experience that you generally look for when hiring for the engineering team?

Smart, creative and self-motivated. We work on problems that very few companies have, or will ever experience, so we look for people who thrive on that kind of challenge.

How would you best describe the culture and working environment for the engineering team at Mimecast?

We allow smart people to do smart things and put as little in their way as possible. Everyone is treated equally and all ideas and opinions are listened to. Engineers make their own path and move\rise to a place that suits them and their Mimecast Lunchabilities\aspirations. The environment is an open plan but not noisy – the soft hum of Engineering is noticeable when you enter the Engineering area. Technical discussions happen anywhere and whenever they are needed.

What does your team do for fun outside of work?  Are they involved in any local tech organizations?

A number of our engineers attend meetups and conferences throughout the year. Many play in bands and spend their weekends playing bars and clubs – everything from folk to grindcore!

Are there any other random fun facts that you’d like to share?

We’ve participated in a 100k walk!

Rapid Fire Q&A

What’s on tap?

Coffee and beer

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Red Dwarf

iPhone or Android?


Coffee - hot or iced?

Either, as much as possible

Favorite employee perk?

Varies – fruit, breakfast facilities, gym, flexible hours – everyone has their own!

What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?

Fawlty Towers

What music is playing in your office?  

Whatever people want – into their headphones.

Mimecast's Engineering Team is Growing in Watertown…

Mimecast’s team is in the midst of building their engineering team in their Watertown office. This is a great opportunity to be part of a growing company and make an impact to this local team.

Here a couple of the people you can interact with from the engineering team at Mimecast’s other offices:

Simon Tyler, Mimecast
Simon Tyler, VP of Engineering

Nathaniel Borenstein, Mimecast
Nathaniel Borenstein, Chief Scientist

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz.  Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.  

Images courtesy of Mimecast.