IM Inspect version 5 is billed as an IM and P2P usage monitor capable of sniffing out potentially dangerous traffic on corporate networks. Designed to expose hidden IM and P2P traffic, it provides network managers with statistics detailing their use.
IM Inspect solves the problem created by the fact that blocking real time P2P and IM traffic at the firewall level has become ineffective. This is due to the fact that these applications are being designed to port crawl until they locate an unblocked port on the firewall or revert to port 80, which is traditionally reserved for internet traffic.
The product, which is based on the Microsoft .NET architecture, is able to inspect all traffic at the application layer of the Open System Interconnection model, from where it refers to administrator-set policies to decide if traffic is going to be allowed or blocked.
IM Inspect is designed to monitor popular IM protocols, including MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. It also features automatic detection of IM network IP addresses and ports used by the above services.
For P2P, the product monitors FastTrack used by KaZaA, KaAaA Lite and FastTrack; Gnutella used by BearShare, Gnutella, Gnucleus, Grokster, iMesh, LimeWire; Morpheus, Shareaza and Xolox and MFTP as used by eDonkey.
Installation of the software could not have been simpler. The wizard-based procedure finds the IP address of the client on which it is being installed, checks for the presence of Microsoft's .NET platform, and allows administration permissions to be set before prompting for registration.
Upon firing up the main screen for the first time, the administrator is presented with a very clearly laid out monitoring console providing a comprehensive breakdown of all IM and P2P traffic detected.
Statistics are provided that give exhaustive detail of traffic, including the number of connections and messages sent or received, number of files sent or received and the amount of bandwidth consumed. An impressively wide variety of useful and clear graphs can be generated from these statistics.