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CipherTrust Launches IronIM

CipherTrust is taking its experience with e-mail security and applying it to manage instant messaging traffic on the enterprise network.

The CipherTrust IronIM appliance, announced today, encrypts, logs and provides policy control over all IM traffic on the network as well as prevents viruses and spim from polluting the network.

The hardware is available today, officials said.

The offering comes at a time when IM use, once a consumer favorite, is reaching mainstream status in the workplace.

According to research firm IDC, the enterprise IM (EIM) market will grow from $315 million this year to $736 million in 2009, a 133 percent increase over four years.

The report's author noted that IM will continue to grow and become a substantial collaboration tool within the enterprise.

With enterprise use, however, comes the need for enterprise safeguards. Compliance measures like those stipulated by the Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, will require IM protections you won't find on a downloaded version of AIM.

The challenges to e-mail management in a corporate environment are the same with IM, said Alex Hernandez, CipherTrust director of advanced product development. Both are prone to viruses, phishing attacks and need compliance policies -- something they've been doing for years.

"We're building upon our base security appliance model that we've been running for several years now, we've really pioneered that market segment for messaging security appliances for enterprises," he said.

The IM protection covers the major providers of the service: AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Microsoft's Live Communications Server and IBM's SameTime.

The hardware, which sits between the network and the corporate firewall, sifts through messages and looks for suspect traffic in a method similar to its TrustedSource method for e-mail security.

A reputation score is placed on the IP address of incoming message and blocked if it reaches a certain threshold. CipherTrust also compares incoming and outgoing traffic against known threats in its anti-virus database.

There are several ways to protect messaging traffic in the enterprise, either through hardware appliances like CipherTrust, through a managed (or hosted) service or through software.

In September e-mail security vendor Postini launched an IM protection service of its own, the Postini Perimeter Manager for IM, a managed service handled through its data centers.

A month prior, Akonix released its IM and P2P hardware security offering, the Akonix L7 CM5000. The company reported in July that IM and P2P threats jumped nearly 400 percent from the previous month.



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