Verizon Communications is offering businesses a hosted IM (instant messaging) service designed to offer protection against Internet threats such as worms and viruses, the company announced Wednesday.
The Hosted Secure IM Service will be provided through Verizon Business, created by Verizon's acquisition of MCI, the New York carrier said.
E-mail remains the most widely used and destructive vehicle for spreading worms and viruses over the Internet, but 2005 saw a sharp rise in the number of worms using IM to propagate. Several other vendors also offer products for securing IM use, including Akonix Systems, IMlogic, and FaceTime Communications.
A key feature of Verizon's service, available in two options, is its ability to stop Internet-based threats, including "spim" (unsolicited chat messages from unknown users), before they enter a company's network, according to the company.
The Enterprise IM option is for companies that want an IM system for use within their own networks. The service, based on Microsoft Live Communication Server 2005, makes IM safe by encrypting IM messages between users, according to Verizon. It also provides user authentication and search capabilities and integrates with Microsoft Outlook.
The Managed Public IM option is for companies using public IM systems such as those from Microsoft's MSN, Yahoo, and America Online. The service lets companies determine which individuals can access specific IM networks.
Both versions of the service include virus protection, content filtering and session logging capabilities. They can also block certain keywords to enforce "appropriate communications rules" and include attachment inspection and spim blocking.
Verizon Business couldn't immediately be reached for pricing information.