Survey: Instant Messaging Dangerous for Businesses

Aug 28, 2007

A joint survey performed by security experts from Infowatch and Russia's Securitylab points to the dangers that Instant Messengers (IM) can mean to enterprise communications structures.

The antivirus specialists investigated the potential risks of IM by means of an online survey. Some 1200 users responded to an online survey on the portal between May and June 2007. The majority of responders (61.3 percent) worked for companies with up to 100 computer workplaces, 22 percent for companies with between 101 and 500 workplaces, and 17 percent in larger enterprises with more than 500 workplaces.

The results of the survey revealed that the responders see disclosure of confidential information as the main risk for the enterprise. 43 percent see this as the biggest source of danger. Some 60 percent stated that they had never sent confidential information via IM channels. Malware and attacks on enterprise networks via client vulnerabilities were also seen as a major weakness.

If enterprises react at all to IM-related security risks, it is typically by blocking IM traffic; policies and monitoring are less common. Technical issues and resistance by staff are quoted as the main reason for not using these methods. Around half of all responders stated that their companies did not deploy any security.

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