Instant Messaging: Security, Control And Compliance
by Melanie Turek
Published June 2006; Posted December 2006



IM vendors are refining their solutions for protecting networks and meeting regulatory requirements.

There’s no doubt about it: Instant messaging (IM) is a fact of life in the enterprise. More than three-quarters of IT executives report that employees in their companies use IM on the job, and countless vendors - from small start-ups to large enterprise stalwarts - are making it easier for companies to deploy a single IM client or service across the organization.

Instant messaging has the potential to change the way people work, especially in this increasingly virtual workplace. With more than 90 percent of employees working away from headquarters, and up to two-thirds working in a location separate from their managers’, employees need a way to get in touch quickly and easily - right when they need to. The presence capability that powers instant messaging assures users that they can contact their co-workers or partners whenever those people are available, speeding information delivery and ultimately boosting productivity (no more phone tag, no more endless email threads).

What’s more, vendors are branching out with their IM clients, enabling industry- and job-specific capabilities (such as trade orders or contact center support), as well as productivity enhancements (for instance, Microsoft embedding its Communicator IM client into the rest of its Office applications, for one-click messaging capabilities within a Word or Excel document).

But IM is also a potentially risky technology, opening up enterprises to threats from viruses, spam and other malware, much the way email does today. It also requires that rules and policies be set and maintained to ensure compliance with regulations.



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About the author:

Melanie Turek, Nemertes senior vice president and founding partner, covers collaboration and virtual workplace tools for Nemertes.


This article is reproduced by special arrangement with our partner, Business Communications Review.


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