Public IM services have deeply entrenched themselves in the enterprise. Although the free services are a lightning rod for malicious network attacks, banning them from corporate networks may not be the best answer.
According to The Radicati Group, most IM accounts in 2005 -- approximately 816 million -- reside on public IM networks. In comparison, the enterprise-specific IM software segment comprises approximately 51 million accounts this year.
“There is still a lot of use of public IM networks in businesses,” said Matt Anderson, market analyst at The Radicati Group. “With all the worm attacks this year [businesses] realize they have to be secured.”
Adding enterprise-grade armor to services from AOL, MSN, and Yahoo, Postini this week will roll out managed security and archiving services for IM.
Postini’s Perimeter Manager for IM uses the Postini proxy architecture and Active Policy Management framework to manage and secure instant messages. The Archive Manager service provides message archiving and immutable storage for IM and e-mail.
To use the Perimeter Manager for IM, customers make a small change to their DNS server. After that, all IM traffic will pass through Postini’s datacenter before hitting the corporate network.
Similarly, IMlogic last week introduced RTTPS (Real-Time Threat Protection System), a preemptive security system designed to predict and fight IM attacks. RTTPS automatically detects and quarantines suspicious enterprise IM traffic before IM worms and viruses can infect corporate networks.