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Symantec Releases Instant Messaging Security Tool

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.

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