Trend Micro's IM Security suite is designed to sit on top of a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 machine already running Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005. From the offset we got the feeling that this suite was going to be bolted down pretty tight. For starters, to activate the product you need to log into Trend Micro's website and use your registration key to get an activation code.
Although we've reviewed Microsoft Live Communications Server in this group test, Trend Micro's offering further hardens the Microsoft platform against malware, offensive content and other unwanted instant messaging phenomena. The only downside is that this product is Microsoft-focused and does not allow you to defend against other IM threats, such as those from consumer applications.
The wizard-based installation gives way to a browser-based management interface. The accompanying documentation did not specify whether it was a security feature, but we could not access the management console from the server on which we installed the software, even though we reactivated ActiveX support.
Later on we discovered that we needed to install the latest version of either Microsoft or Sun's Java Virtual Machine, but by then we had accessed it remotely.
The PDF documentation gave a pretty thorough step-by-step guide to the installation procedure, but we experienced no other problems anyway. The IM Security suite also has a reassuring way of dealing with password choice: it makes no bones about telling you if you fail to create robust passwords.
When accessed remotely via SSL, the management console gives you an intuitive and comprehensive rundown of options to handle virus scanning, file blocking and content filtering, while the IM-specific element of the suite comes with a rules list preconfigured for filtering profanities and sexual and racial discrimination. For small organizations this could be all that's needed.
The alerts management section felt a bit underweight, but this was offset by a user-friendly manual and automatic reporting procedure. The reports themselves are very easy to digest, with the software outputting a single report with multiple charts