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Reality IT: Making the Peer-to-Peer Connection


Richard and Melvin spent a good deal of time doing research and developing a pilot-program recommendation that would work for both companies. They also obtained input from online newsgroups and peers at other firms. The two companies shared knowledge on the technology and jointly worked out many implementation issues for the proposed system. After reviewing the plan, John and I agreed on three priorities for the project: management, usability and security. However, our companies each had a different IM policy--Splockets was blocking IM traffic at the firewall, but ACME had decided not to regulate IM until a corporate solution could be put in place.

On the management front, we wanted to ensure that the IM system would not add unnecessary complexity to our networks--or too many administrative tasks for our staffs. We weren't too worried about bandwidth, because the addition of IM, fortunately, would not stretch the network resources at either company.

For both organizations, usability was a key factor. We wanted a simple IM client--emoticons, fancy fonts and colors were not required. And we didn't want our employees to have to remember another user name and password to yet another system.

Both ACME and Splockets wanted security products that would work with our directory services for authentication. Only products that provided encryption were considered. For external access, we'd only allow remote users to run the IM client within our current thin-client remote-access solution. No file transfer would be allowed. We wanted a product that could do logging and auditing for records retention and accountability tracking. And the product had to fit with our existing IT and security policies.

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