Analyst firm IDC has claimed that more than 28 million business users log-in to instant messaging accounts every day, despite claims from web security firm ScanSafe that the number of IT departments blocking access to the software went up 600 per cent in 2005.
"IM has quickly found its way into enterprise computing environments and is now integral to corporate communication and collaboration," said Dan Nadir, vice president of product strategy at ScanSafe.
"What's interesting is that many IT departments are treating IM in the same way that web-based email was handled a few years ago. They are banning or blocking it completely to stop potential security risks, such as malicious attacks, malware and the disclosure of confidential information."
ScanSafe estimates that enterprise users running IM clock up one billion messages a day.
"IM is not an issue that enterprises can afford to ignore," said John O'Keefe, senior analyst for internet and managed services at Current Analysis.
"One way that enterprises can take control of this trend is by implementing third-party security solutions. Corporations need to know what their employees are communicating over all channels."
"It is time for security managers to start addressing the problem in a different way. We believe that IM Control will become the enabling technology to allow businesses to manage, rather than mismanage, IM," said Nadir.
Nadir claimed that IM Control requires a simple configuration change to provide virus-scanning protection and content filtering for IM traffic, as well as giving an IT department control and reporting options.
The service is powered by IM security vendor Akonix and uses ScanSafe's Outbreak Intelligence heuristics engine.
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