Business use of instant messaging is growing fast, but CIOs need to beef up their security to cope.
An IDC study of the worldwide enterprise IM applications market has revealed that revenue shot up 37% in 2004 from the previous year. It expects further meteoric growth, from £180m in 2005 to £420m in 2009.
"Especially in compliance-driven sectors like Wall Street, financial services, and government, instant messaging is a critical differentiator,” comments Robert Mahowald, programme director for IDC's Collaborative Computing research.
“In the next few years, IDC expects instant messaging - once the plaything of teenagers - to continue to grow into its role as a substantial business collaboration application.”
The study pointed out a number of suppliers who are staking their ground in the market. Alongside usual suspects Microsoft and IBM, Jabber has encouraged Wall Street users to ditch consumer products like AIM.
Inevitably, wider corporate usage is creating a new playground for hackers. IMLogic has already warned of a worm targeted at Windows-based machines running IM software, which could send PCs into a perpetual reboot.
IM security specialists such as IMLogic, FaceTime and Akonix are teaming up with the market leaders to fight the new threats.