News Analysis

Instant messaging headache for IT

Analyst firm Osterman Research has suggested that organisations are increasingly worried about the potential security threat of instant messaging, and how it could distribute viruses, worms and spyware.


The research shows that instant messaging is now concentrating the minds of IT departments as staff download a range of consumer instant messaging clients for both personal and business use, leaving IT with the headache of securing them.

The number of threats to date in 2005 is considerably higher than for all of 2004, with instant messaging's greatest benefit – speed of communications - also creating its greatest threat if allowed to spread unmonitored throughout the enterprise.


The survey revealed that 52% of
organisations in the US are using IM for serious business applications although 75% of companies surveyed had yet to settle on an IM standard, with AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger the most popular.

 

This may simply be a US trend, but does IM have a place in the corporate world? It is fine for chatting teenagers, but what is the relevance for companies? If e-mail is not getting answered quickly enough, how will IM help? I hear the phone is pretty good – unless you are one of those who must rely on a voicemail barrier to prevent interruptions.


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