Version 3.0 of WiredRed Software Inc.s E/pop Enterprise Instant Messaging software suite provides a secured end-to-end IM service for employees and business partners.
The updated E/pop system, released this month, has a server-to-client architecture, but companies can also run the system in peer-to-peer mode. The E/pop server and client provide text-based IM, chat, voice over IP, secured presence and collaboration features, as well as application-sharing capabilities and remote control.
The system is highly secured using a real-time engine that communicates over a combination of security protocols. E/pop also supports encryption methods such as RC4, DES (Data Encryption Standard), Triple-DES, Advanced Encryption Standard and RSA.
The E/pop suite competes with enterprise IM products such as Sametime, from IBMs Lotus Software division, and Microsoft Corp.s Exchange. However, even sites that already have an Exchange or Lotus infrastructure in place might want to check out E/pop for its extra security features and archiving capabilities.
Currently, E/pop can talk only to its own clients using a proprietary TCP/IP-based protocol. WiredRed officials said E/pop next year will support Session Initiation Protocol, which will hopefully allow E/pop to talk to public IM services such as those from America Online Inc., The Microsoft Network and Yahoo.
In tests, eWeek Labs found it surprisingly straightforward to set up the E/pop suite. We installed E/pop Enterprise Server and E/pop Audit and Reporting Server on a Windows 2000 system in a domain with AD (Active Directory) configured. AD is not required, because E/pop has its own directory for authentication and storing user information, but we recommend installing AD so corporations can quickly port current users over to E/pop.
IM auditing and reporting is handled by E/pop Audit and Reporting Server, an option in the suite. In tests, Audit and Reporting Server was robust and provided copious amounts of information, including message content, session date and time, presence, user status, and many more useful parameters.
E/pop Enterprise Server and Auditing and Reporting Server are easily managed using a console running on the local system.
WiredRed does not charge for the E/pop Enterprise Server license, and sites can install as many of these E/pop servers as they need. Audit and Reporting Server is priced at $4,000, which includes 100 client licenses. Additional licenses can be purchased for a 50 percent discount.
The E/pop client is currently available in three versions: a $15 Alert version, a $35 Basic version and the full-featured $40 Professional version. The current version of the clients, 3.0, supports only Windows operating systems, but this month WiredRed will release a $35 Java E/pop client that will extend E/pop to non-Windows machines, including Linux and Unix clients.