Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Symantec Tunes Up IM Monitoring

The new software can block new IM viruses based on behavior it detects on a network. So if a virus with no known signature starts sending messages with a consistent pattern to everyone on a user's buddy list, the software could block that traffic as a likely virus by blocking the machine from sending IMs.

Symantec is making it easier to monitor and control real-time applications being used on corporate networks. With Release 8.0 of its IM Manager software, the company is adding tools to apply security policies to VoIP and videoconferencing and expanding its ability to do the same to instant messaging and text messaging, the company says.

The benefits of the new capabilities are twofold, according to Eric Ogren, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group. It gives businesses a way to discover just how much peer-to-peer traffic is on their networks, information they might not be able to get now. And IM Manager logs traffic, creating records that can be used to meet regulatory restrictions on how sensitive data is handled.

"You can't prevent use of Skype and Yahoo Instant Messenger, but you can control the corporate risk," Ogren says. "And you might not want to block them. You don't have to worry about software installation and you get business benefits for free."

The 8.0 IM Manager software integrates its archived IM transcripts with another Symantec product, Enterprise Vault, which archives e-mails. The company says this lets customers store and search these archives from a single console rather than opening IM Manager to look for archives and opening Enterprise Vault to search through stored e-mails.

The new software also can block new IM viruses based on behavior it detects on a network. So if a virus with no known signature starts sending messages with a consistent pattern to everyone on a user's buddy list, the software could block that traffic as a likely virus by blocking the machine from sending IMs. A person would have to investigate to see whether the behavior represented an actual virus.

With the new release, the company is changing the pricing of IM Manager to $40 per seat, including the IM Manager server. It previously cost $25 per seat with a $7,500 fee for server software.

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