Although Instant Messaging (IM) may be nearly ubiquitous in business environments today, it isn't always the case that an enterprise made a conscious, calculated decision to deploy and utilize the tool. Often, IM penetration happens as a result of employee demand, greatly aided by the wide availability of free consumer IM tools. The problem with this approach is that it precludes IT leaders from ensuring that key business considerations are met – issues such as security, compliance, and availability. If IM capabilities are deemed valuable, now is the time for a solution that addresses these critical areas.
The Typical Approaches to IM: On or Off
In today's work environments, where teams are commonly scattered across multiple locations, IM serves as a valuable tool for internal communications. Many enterprises elect to allow employees to utilize free external IM services, such as Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk, based on the fact they offer clear benefits in terms of real-time collaboration, at no cost. However, while external IM guidelines and corporate usage policies can be devised, the actual controls available to IT departments are minimal – which can subvert existing enterprise standards surrounding security and compliance.