The world of instant messaging in European enterprises is about to be brought under control, according to Unipalm which has just become the first European value-added distributor for IMlogic’s IM Manager.

According to Unipalm, Massachusetts–based IMlogic is the leader in enterprise-class infrastructure software solutions for the rapidly growing IM market. "Security is at the top of the list of IT concerns by UK companies, but instant messaging is at the top of workers’ wish lists. If IM usage is uncontrolled and unmonitored it could lead to possible security breaches. Companies need secure control to reconcile and address head-on the potential security risk, and we are partnering with Unipalm to offer the best technology and services," explained Francis deSouza, CEO at IMlogic.

Unipalm IM product manager Christine Smith said "the problem is enormous. Teenagers who used IM at school and college are now entering the workforce but instant messaging is not protected because it's client installed software. "The problems are that the IM networks change protocols frequently, they use open ports, and there's no central management of the information that passes through instant messaging", added Smith, pointing out that with three major IM networks available, this meant a firewall was only a partial solution to an ever-changing problem.

Smith noted that, as a result, abuse is "enormous". Attachments containing anything from company confidential info or viruses can be passed through IM, for instance.

She went on to describe how enterprises believe they can make use of IM to enhance response speed -- people don't have to get up to see if someone's there, they can use IM instead of email, and discussions can be completed much more quickly than over email.

IMlogic allows the enterprise to archive all communications, to check for viruses and for keywords, as many do in emails, and to enforce company naming policies. The LDAP-aware product has APIs for AV, content scanning and archiving products from MacAfee, ClearSwift and KVS, claimed Smith, consistent with what many large enterprises already possess.

According to Smith, Merrill Lynch is a "big customer" for IMlogic, having bought 80,000 seats across the UK and US.