Symantec Releases Instant Messaging Security Tool

IM Manager 8.0 includes management and protection tools for public and private IM programs.

April 5, 2006

2 Min Read
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Symantec Corp. is attacking one of the greatest hidden threats to corporate security -- instant messaging programs -- with the release of Symantec IM Manager 8.0, which includes management and protection tools for public and private IM programs.

The product is Symantec's first IM security product, and is a descendant of products developed by the company IM Logic, which Symantec purchased in January.

IM Manager is targeted at two types of IM dangers: viruses, worms, spam, phishing attempts, and similar attacks; and ensuring that enterprises comply with increasingly complex federal compliance laws such as Sarbanes Oxley that govern what information may be released to the public or shared with others.

The product is designed not only to fight specific threats, but can also be used to deploy and enforce messaging policies. In addition, it integrates with Symantec Enterprise Vault, an e-mail compliance archiving product, and will archive the text of instant messges.

IM programs are increasingly becoming full-blown collaboration tools, and not just used for text-messaging tools, and IM Manager can enforce policies related to those new features. It can manage policies related to IM-based VoIP, IM-based video, IM-based file sharing, and IM-based application sharing. So, for example, it allows each of those features to be blocked for the entire company, or on a person-by-person basis. It also records when employees use any of those features.Symantec says that the greatest IM-related threats come from public IM networks, such as AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), GoogleTalk, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger, all of which IM Manager 8.0 supports. But that's only one part of the equation, because companies increasingly are turning to private IM networks such as Microsoft's Live Communications Server, IBM's Lotus Sametime, and Jabber, which the product also handles.

Companies looking to secure complex collaboration systems, such as VoIP or enterprise collaboration tools not in IM systems will have to wait for a solution from Symantec. John Sakoda, Director of Product Management for the Enterprise Messaging Management Group, says that IM Manager does not yet include features to secure those system. He hinted, though, that such features may be in the works.

"Our customers have asked us for those kinds of capabilities, and we listen to them," he says. He adds, "I don't think that we can say we'll support every collaboration platform out there."

For a look at the scope of the IM threat, read Instant Messaging Is The Enterprise's Achilles Heel: Report.

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