In IMlogic Inc.s IM Manager 5.1, administrators will find a good tool for designing and enforcing policies for instant messaging traffic.
Released last month, IM Manager 5.1 gains support for Microsoft Corp.s Live Communications Server 2003 and MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises. IM Manager pricing includes a one-time server license fee of $7,000 for unlimited servers and $15 per user for IM.
In eWEEK Labs tests, IM Manager 5.1 made it easy to control and audit IM usage across an organization. Overall, the product provides an accessible platform for managing IM, although wed like to see it provide more administrative roles to help companies with compliance needs watch the watchers.
IM Manager focuses on security, user management and usage compliance. For companies that need to manage instant messages that flow internally and externally, IM Manager provides the ability to register public IM network screen names against a directory name. We liked IM Managers capacity to automatically register names or provide users with the ability to self-register via a Web page.
Managing IM across the enterprise is fairly simple using the Web-based administrator and reviewer consoles. As administrator, we could block IM client features such as file transferring and could manage IM archiving, auditing and access.
IM Manager 5.1
IMlogics IM Manager 5.1 gives companies good tools for managing both consumer and enterprise IM platforms. Using IM Manager, companies can manage user accounts, audit traffic and enforce secure policies at a reasonable cost: $7,000 for a server license fee for unlimited servers and $15 per user for IM. Auditing and policy management features are strong, although more auditing roles and reports would simplify compliance assurance.
EVALUATION SHORT LIST
The administrator consoles granular control is impressive. We could suspend file transfer capabilities to block specific threats. Logging and content filtering can be always on, always off or linked to keywords.
There are areas where the administrative aspects of IM Manager can improve, however. For example, wed like the ability to notify senders of temporary disruptions of file transfers. When the content filtering engine blocks a message, it sends just such a message to the sender.
Managing external participants over public networks is a bit cumbersome; administrators must manually update allowed lists. Giving users the rights to manage these lists would reduce some management burdens.
In the reviewer role, we could search and view IM traffic, and we found the search and annotation features worked well. The ability to monitor usage is simplified greatly by the ability to tie public IM network names to corporate IDs.
Searching for and annotating threads is straightforward, although we would like more control over some features. For example, although we could manage data rights of reviewers and could audit them, a predefined auditor role with specific restrictions and canned reports would be a nice addition.
Support for MSN Messenger Connect for Enterprises means companies can provision accounts through MSN and communicate with others outside the organization. In instances where a user needs to connect to IM, the user can access a consumer MSN account, and the IM session will appear to come from the corporate IM account.
IM Managers dual network card support and proxy option features make it secure to deploy in a DMZ. However, platform support is limited to Microsofts Windows 2000, Internet Information Services and SQL Server 2000. Wed like to see IM Manager (and its competitors) support at least another Web server.
IM Manager also requires running Microsofts Message Queue engine, which kept us from losing any IM traffic during tests.
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Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.