Instance Messaging Expose Companies to Vulnearbilities

By | December 12, 2005

IT managers do not monitor instance messaging use on their company’s network and leaving employee’s instant messaging communications uncontrolled which increase the exposure to security and compliance vulnerabilities and place the businesses in a higher risk of leaking intellectual property outside of the company.

A research conducted by Akonix highlights the fact that instant messaging is a growing threat to company’s security. With 27 percent said a supervisor controlled their IM use and 29 percent did not know if they were being monitored by their employer.

This indicates that companies are lacking communication policies and IM management technology to help increase employee productivity and protect corporate resources. With META Group predicting IM to be as prevalent as email by 2008, it´s critical that organizations protect themselves from its potential abuses.

Key findings of the research include: 50 new IM security threats were identified this past May, more than half of the total recorded for the first quarter of 2005 and 55 percent of businesses retain and review email messages for government and industry compliance purpose.

Because IM typically enters an organization through individual staff members logging on for personal communications, many companies don´t realize they are legally responsible for not just email, but instant messages that are sent by their employees across both corporate and public networks.

“It´s remarkable that organizations are still leaving their door wide open to security attacks and legal repercussions due to their lack of instant messaging management,” said Peter Shaw, CEO of Akonix. “We hope that by the end of 2005, more than 50% of global corporations will have adopted an IM policy, as well as the technology to protect their networks. Real-time communication offers huge productivity benefits for organizations who responsibly embrace its use.”

Further more, Businesses must have the ability to block and manage external IM communications. Otherwise, they run the risk of employees sending file attachments and other material to others outside of the organization. This can range from highly confidential product designs to internal financial data.

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