Instant Messaging is rapidly becoming accepted in the business community as a viable communications tool and process – it’s faster than e-mail, free on the client side, even a novice user can easily grasp the interface in just a few minutes and it enables remote workers and business partners to “talk” and share files and information effortlessly using the in-place infrastructure of the internet. Its mushrooming in popularity too – according to IDC, corporate and general business users will jump from 5.5M in 2001 to close to 200M by 2004.

What are some of the pitfalls and concerns you need to have when assessing and integrating Instant Messaging (“IM” another biz acronym) with your business processes? Be aware you are sending clear text messages over the public Internet – so all IM technology is inherently insecure. Privacy issues can also be raised – these messages are typically archived via the IM servers of the company whose services you are using and can be made public at a later date. Anyone with a network scanner may have access to and be reading your messages and if your are downloading files, you need to ensure your anti-virus software is setup to scan these files when you open them.

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