The Month: Experts call for businesses to secure IM as a priority

Experts have called for businesses to assess and secure instant messaging systems as a priority this year, ahead of a predicted surge in attacks.

Although IM has become a de facto business tool, many businesses allowworkers to use downloaded desktop client tools rather than secure,enterprise-wide offerings.

"We'll see a big boost in enterprise use of centrally controlled IM in2007, said Mark Sunner, chief security analyst at MessageLabs(pictured). "It's a genuinely useful business tool. The threat levelsare low at the moment, and this is due to the lack of interoperabilitybetween IM clients. However, AOL, Googletalk, Yahoo and MSN are workingon interoperating this year, and with will create an ecosystem forattack."

A recent report from Gartner said that IT administrators who do notmanage and protect public instant messaging will experience 80 per centmore IM-related security incidents than those who do. 'IT organisationsmust keep this threat in context and balance it against the productivitybenefits of IM," the report warned.

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