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IM at Work Means Extra Security Threats

May 17th, 2005

The emerging use of Instant Messaging (IM) as a business communication tool in the UK is exposing companies to new security threats, according to a poll of more than 2000 UK consumers. The polls findings indicate that over 60 percent of companies are unprotected from the threats arising from misuse of instant messaging.

The poll, conducted by Akonix Systems, showed that 25 percent of all respondents said they had used IM to say something their boss wouldn´t approve of, 16 percent of people admit to having used IM at work to send or receive sensitive company information or documents, 21 percent of companies have a general policy in place regarding IM use, 19 percent have technology installed to manage and/or block IM, 62% have no policy or technology in place.

The use of IM in the UK workplace is growing rapidly, but our research shows that the majority of organizations are unprepared to deal with the potential security and management issues associated with this rise in use,” said Peter Shaw, Akonix CEO.

“IM benefits companies enormously by improving productivity, speed of decision making and increasing efficiency of communication in the workplace. We know that 97% of IM transactions are constructive and legitimate, but the 3% of inappropriate transactions could be hugely damaging to businesses. The findings of this survey should be a wake-up call to UK companies: IM should be embraced but protect your business adequately or the consequences could be severe.”

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