A blog focused on messaging, Web and collaboration issues, including email, instant messaging, VoIP, Web conferencing and other technologies that help people communicate more efficiently and effectively.

Monday, March 29, 2010

IMAuditor becomes Vantage

Real-time communications is a double-edged sword: it can make people more productive and enable people to work more effectively from remote locations, but it also creates a number of new ingress points for malware, new compliance issues with which IT and LOB managers must contend, and new policy challenges that add complexity to what IT is already doing with email and more traditional parts of the IT infrastructure.

FaceTime announced today the release of Vantage, the product formerly known as IMAuditor. Vantage is designed to address the security, compliance and management requirements for a wide variety of real time communications applications, and offers a range of capabilities, including:

  • Support for a number of enterprise-grade and consumer-focused real time communications tools, including Microsoft OCS 2007, Lotus Sametime, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Skype, among others.
  • The ability to set granular corporate policies for things as diverse as controlling how instant messaging is used on BlackBerry devices, managing ethical wall enforcement policies for Microsoft LiveMeeting and Lotus Sametime sessions, and controlling file management on a wide variety of real time communications platforms.
  • Managing anti-malware and anti-SpIM capabilities when users are connected to consumer instant messaging networks, as well as zero-day worm blocking.
  • The ability to monitor content across a variety of platforms.
  • The ability to archive real time conservations and integrate with various email archiving and WORM storage systems.
  • Management of potential data leaks through a variety of avenues, including content scanning for Microsoft Office documents sent via real time communications tools, blocking messages that contain keywords and expressions, re-rerouting consumer instant messaging conversations over internal networks, and managing the specific types of files that can be sent.

Of particular interest is Vantage’s ability to manage Skype conversations, including scanning the content of instant messaging conversations, preventing file transfers using Skype, and logging of Skype conversations. While Skype is not yet approved for use by most IT departments, according to an Osterman Research survey to be published this week it does find use in 29% of SMBs and 7% of enterprises, and so represents a potential security hole if not managed properly.

I’m really not trying to make this newsletter sound like a FaceTime press release! But I am quite impressed by the thoroughness of the Vantage approach both in terms of the number of different platforms it can monitor and manage, and in terms of the large number of features and functions that it provides. If your organization uses real time communications of any kind, I would definitely recommend giving Vantage a close look.

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