Instant message attacks to triple
Virus and malware attacks over IM will triple this year, claims Akonix Systems. The IM monitoring and security developer says that analysis of data from its customers shows a big rise in IM threats for the third year in a row, with more than 50 IM viruses, worms and other threats being detected during 2004..

"In 2004, IM growth led to its use on virtually every corporate network, whether the CIO was aware or in favour of it or not," says Akonix CEO Peter Shaw.

He predicts that spam over IM will also double this year, and that 2005 will see the first big fine levied on a US organisation for failing to archive business IM traffic. On the positive side, he says we should see the first authorised cross-system links between enterprise and public IM - followed, unfortunately, by the first cross-network virus attack.

Good news travels by meeting, bad news travels by e-mail
People are increasingly hiding behind networks when it comes to bad news, while 90 percent prefer to deliver pay rises and promotions face-to-fface, according to research commissioned by comms provider Bailey Teswaine.

The study reports a preference for passing on bad news via e-mail, phone or text, with some taking this to extremes: 20 percent of people in accountancy firms said they would avoid a face-to-face meeting even when making someone redundant. This is despite 50 percent of those in the study agreeing that e-mail can easily be misinterpreted.

The study, which covered a variety of business sectors and sizes, also found big differences in communications preferences between the public and private sectors, with 42 percent of public sector staff preferring to discuss issues in meetings, four times as many as in private industry. Unsurprisingly for a comms company, Bailey Teswaine reckons there is scope for meetings to go online too, as video conferencing services improve in quality.

Temporal network tracking
Monitoring network health over time and checking the performance of distributed networks are two of the additions in the latest version of Observer from Network Instruments. The company has added the ability to pre-schedule any report - to run at regular intervals, for example - and those reports can now include network delay as a separate metric, independent of client and server delays.

Other new or enhanced features in Observer 10.1 include preprogrammed packet captures to help analyse recurrent issues, support for 802.11a/b/g wireless LANs, extended SSL support, and the ability to do expert analysis on captured data as well as in real-time. The software costs from £995, or £3995 for the full suite including expert analysis.