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Sybase Looks to Secure Instant Messaging

Sybase  subsidiary iAnywhere is readying mobile instant messaging and presence capabilities for its Information Anywhere e-mail suite. The new offering is due out by the second quarter of this year and will also be available as a standalone component. A 30-day free trial version will also be available.

Features include support for several enterprise instant messaging systems, including IBM Lotus Sametime, Jabber XCP, Jabber Wildfire, Microsoft Live Communications Server and Reuters Messaging as well as public instant messaging networks via XMPP, which includes support for Google Talk and Jabber. The company said it is in discussions with Microsoft  and AOL about supporting their IM clients.

The new IM offering gives end users access to multiple instant messaging systems from a single client. Presence  is another feature, giving the client the ability to transmit and receive status info, such as whether the user is online, busy, away or not available.

Custom alerts, including audio and vibrate, can be set up for notification of new inbound messages. The software supports Windows Mobile, Palm, RIM BlackBerry and Symbian mobile devices.

"For enterprises, the advantage we offer is a common infrastructure platform," said Senthil Krishnapillai, product management manager at iAnywhere. "With Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, enterprises are required to archive content from any approved device over a period of time. We're extending that capability to mobile devices."

The new iAnywhere technology provides logging and routing capabilities designed to ensure compliance with corporate auditing policies.

"Audit logs and the need for organizations to track and manage all components of their communications, including IM, is becoming very important," IDC analyst Stephen Drake told internetnews.com.

On the security side, iAnywhere said the software is compatible with IM security and management solutions such as Akonix, FaceTime and IMLogic. The software also supports end-to-end encryption through 168-bit 3DES. Another feature is remote "over-the-air" installation directly to the device.

Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2010, 90 percent of users with business e-mail accounts will have IT-controlled IM accounts. A Gartner report states that "as IM traffic becomes increasingly higher in volume and potentially higher in value, organizations will need to adopt enterprise-class IM technologies, as well as IM hygiene services, to ensure efficient, integrated, reliable and secure use of IM technologies."

The new IM features are part of larger mobility push Sybase has made in the past few years. In 2005, it paid $71.3 million for Extended Systems and its patented OneBridge software server that provides secure mobile access for applications from personal digital assistants and handheld computers.

Last fall, Sybase bought Mobile 365 for approximately $400 million. With the addition of Mobile 365, Sybase laid claim to being the number one provider of mobile messaging and content delivery.

IDC's Drake said the new offering should help iAnywhere sell its suite to companies thinking about a new e-mail deployment and adding features like presence and IM. "The main value they're providing is the suite," said Drake. "I'm not so sure it's that compelling as a separate component to companies that have already deployed something else."