Instant Messaging and Enterprise Security

by Thea Neuman 250 views0

The skirmish between consumerized users and enterprise IT may as well kill Instant Messaging (IM). Last year, many big banks like Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Barclays were planning to ban IM. Enterprises are worried that IM is being used to leak sensitive data. They also want to keep a tab on the different ways employees use to communicate on their mobile devices.

Executives are not sure that their organization can preserve mobile chat data for regulatory, investigation or litigation purposes. That explains why organizations want to ban IM. But how will that decision affect productivity? Well, it is going to have a huge impact.

IM has always been under constant scrutiny because it is quick and free. Mobile IM is always at your fingertips. Employees who want to quickly exchange information with their colleagues start all sorts of discussions on consumer IM apps. But this can put sensitive corporate data at risk.

The solution that the CIO prescribes is often enterprise instant messaging. Unfortunately, enterprise IM apps have always been sub-par and hence no employee uses it. They will probably ditch IM or they may continue using the ‘prohibited’ app until they get caught. What about banning? While that is easy, it is not the answer.

How BlackBerry is tackling the situation

In June, BlackBerry added a new feature to BBM. BBM Protected as it is called is specific to enterprises. Employees want ease of use and organizations need security. BBM Protected will bridge the gap in between. That makes it a true crossover application.

Over 85 million people use BBM per month. Most companies that use a BES server use BlackBerry Messenger as a productivity application. BBM was the first IM app that allowed users to know whether their message was delivered and read.

BBM allows business users to separate their work contacts from personal contacts. Also, it supports features such as video chats, work contacts, file sharing, shared calendars, BBM Group chats, and lists.

BBM Protected is tailor made for enterprises. It is the only IM app that uses the FIPS 140-2 encryption. For security conscious organizations and restricted industries BBM Protected offers a better security model for messages sent between BlackBerry 10 and/or BlackBerry OS devices. In the near future, BBM Protected will also work with Windows Phones, Android and iPhone.

BBM Protected comes with an extra layer of encryption. This protects corporate data in transit. Also a chat session on BBM Protected is encrypted end to end. This makes it impossible for data thieves to intercept BBM Protected chats.

BBM

Rolling out BBM Protected is easy. You can add it as an IT policy through your BES console. Since this is a cloud-based service, you don’t have to invest in additional servers.

Using BBM Protected, your employees can chat with employees of another organization provided that both companies have BBM Protected enabled on their BES. In addition, since it is a BES service, the IT department can audit and preserve BBM Protected chats. Better still, BBM Protected makes use of the same BlackBerry Messenger that your employees already have. This will allow them to chat with their friends and family who are not BBM Protected users.

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    Thea Neuman
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    The skirmish between consumerized users and enterprise IT may as well kill Instant Messaging (IM). Last year, many big banks like Citigroup, Deutsche
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