Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) announced the availability of Symantec Instant Messaging Security.cloud (IMS.cloud) with support for Microsoft Lync. Symantec is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor that supports Microsoft Lync users, helping organizations that communicate using instant messaging platforms address their security and compliance issues. IMS.cloud scans messages and attachments for malware, blocks malicious URLs, protects organizations from data loss and logs messages for compliance purposes without the need for additional hardware and software.
IMS.cloud is designed to scan every IM sent to or coming from an organization such as incoming messages; attachments are scanned for viruses, worms, and URLs that may lead to malicious Websites. All incoming and outgoing messages are also matched against the organization's acceptable use policies. Any message that is malicious or suspicious or violates corporate policy is automatically blocked, and the user is notified.
"Instant Messaging is becoming a popular tool for internal and external communications in organizations of every size," said Tom Powledge, vice president of product delivery for Symantec.cloud. "According to Symantec Intelligence, one in 11.3 links sent over IM link to malicious Websites while our Symantec Instant Messaging survey revealed that fewer than half the organizations surveyed have suitable controls for monitoring IM."
Powledge said the casual nature of IM paired with a tendency to de-prioritize IM security leaves organizations susceptible to compliance breaches, data loss and malware infection. "IMS.cloud takes the risk out of IM so that companies can meet user demand for the latest technology while allowing a flexible and collaborative working environment anytime from anywhere," he explained.
The service can be purchased on its own or in combination with other Symantec.cloud services across email and the Web, and includes 24/7 support and service updates. A recent Symantec survey on corporate Instant Messaging use found that IM poses significant risk to organizations. Approximately 60 percent of respondents use IM to communicate with contacts outside the organization and 43 percent use it to share content not related to work. A further 29 percent reported using IM to send information they would not want their boss to know about.
"Instant Messaging in the workplace is becoming ubiquitous for both internal and external communications in organizations of every size," said Chris Christiansen, vice president of security products and services at IDC. "But this popularity is one reason why organizations are vulnerable to the risks that come with using desktop IM clients. Corporate IM needs the same high levels of malware protection and regulatory compliance required of email and Web services. Cloud-based security services can provide such protection."