Controlling Your IM Environment

By Marina Golinder

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While more and more organizations are implementing instant messaging as their primary source of communication, security issues are on the rise. Companies are also under pressure to comply with regulations on all of their means of communication and this poses a compliance challenge.

Deploying an instant messaging management system will help companies to maintain a secure environment.

Available Solutions

There are a number of available solutions when considering an instant messaging management system. FaceTime Communications, Akonix Systems and IMlogic are some of the vendors that offer instant messaging management solutions. All of these solutions are very similar in functionality.

What follows is a list of their primary capabilities and an overview of each company:

  • The virus scanning feature can scan the instant messaging content for viruses. When viruses are identified, they can be blocked.
  • The spam protection feature enables IT administrators to identify and block spam from entering the instant messaging content.
  • The content filtering feature allows IT administrators to monitor the instant messaging content. IT management can ensure that employee communications are work related and that there is no inappropriate content. This will discourage employees from using instant messaging as a chatting application and encourage business communication.
  • The internal routing feature allows IT administrators to route local instant messaging communications to protect private information. To certain organizations, specifically healthcare and financial, this feature is extremely beneficial. With the new regulatory acts, companies are required to protect their information. Internal routing will ensure that proprietary information will not leave the network.
  • FaceTime Communications was founded in 1998 with headquarters in Foster City, California. They provide solutions that allow businesses to secure, manage and increase the use of instant messaging. FaceTime Communications has more than 350 customers and more than half of their customers are financial institutions.

    Their core product consists of two components: RTG500 and IM Auditor. The RTG500 component ensures that the instant messaging content is authorized, while the IM Auditor component ensures corporate and regulatory compliance, archiving and logging, and user policy management.

    The advantage of IM Auditor is that it is the only solution that runs on multiple operating systems, which is beneficial for organizations that have a number of operating systems in place. IM auditor is also the only solution that supports Oracle databases.

    Akonix Systems was founded in 2000 with headquarters in San Diego, California. They provide solutions for secure, controlled and compliant instant messaging environments. Akonix has more than 400 customers with more than 500,000 users across all industries.

    Their core IM management solutions are: Akonix L7 Enterprise and Akonix Enforcer. Akonix L7 Enterprise is deployed at the network perimeter and functions as a software gateway. Some of the key features of this solutions are: content filtering, virus scanning, spam blocking and an enterprise wide instant messaging activity reporting.

    Akonix Enforcer is a perimeter security software solution that works to detect, report and block unauthorized instant messaging content. Akonix L7 and Akonix Enforcer provide the most features when used together.

    IMlogic, headquartered in Waltham, MA, offers an enterprise-wide IM management solution, called IMlogic IM Manager. IMlogic has customers in the financial services, energy, healthcare, government, media, telecommunications, technology, manufacturing and consumer products industries.

    IMlogic's core product, IMlogic IM Manager has a one-solution approach. This solution provides the following key features: virus scanning, spam blocking, logging and archiving and content filtering. The deployment of IMlogic is fairly simple because it is entirely network based, therefore it can be done without involving the user. Employees can focus on their work and not be interrupted by the installations.

    The administrative content of IMlogic is very user friendly. This makes it easy to deploy and administer. This will help administrators or IT managers to learn and navigate through the system quickly and without any problems.

    The Bottom Line

    An instant messaging management solution is the right technology for organizations that have instant messaging in place. By deploying such a solution, companies will benefit by having a controlled instant messaging environment including:

  • controlled information security. With an instant messaging management solution in place, it will be easier for companies to keep their valuable information and comply with regulations. This is especially beneficial for financial and healthcare sectors; and
  • better managed employee time. By enabling companies to monitor instant messaging content, employees will now spend less time chatting and more time addressing work related issues.
  • The ROI benefit of an instant messaging technology is that it helps companies increase productivity, address security issues and deal with regulatory compliance.

    Marina Golinder is a research analyst with Nucleus Research, a global provider of ROI-focused research and advisory services.