CIOs bothered by the unrestricted use of instant messaging within their companies might care to look at SME cloud services provider Star's instant messaging and telepresence service, free with its £8.99 per month hosted e-mail service.
Star has optimised Microsoft Office Communications Server and Communicator 2007 technology to include the two new hosted services.
IM is enjoying a resurgence. Research house Radicati predicts there will be more than 3.2 billion IM accounts worldwide by 2013, up from 2.1 billion last year, and Blackberry maker Research in Motion has recently added hosted IM to its product portfolio.
Star's director of hosting strategy James Griffin said the UK's workforce was increasingly mobile. "Instant messaging with 'Presence' status is becoming an increasingly valuable internal communications tool," he said.
Griffin said he expected fast take-up of the free IM service. This was an opportunity for CIOs to remove uncontrolled consumer applications from their organisation, many of which can be a significant security and compliance threat, he said.