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Iron Mountain Will Add IM To Storage Offerings

The vendor will let customers search for E-mail and IM data based on a person's E-mail address.
Any tolerance the federal government had for a shrug of the shoulders when it comes to requests for broker transaction data ran out two weeks ago when the Securities and Exchange Commission's rule 17a-4 regarding archiving and retaining such records became official. Those requirements include instant messaging, so financial companies that have E-mail under control better get IM under enough control so that it can be retained and accessed when needed.

Iron Mountain Inc., the company known for storing paper files deep in mines, said Monday that it will provide IM support in its electronic archival outsourcing. Iron Mountain already archives and manages E-mail for companies; those companies now can search for E-mail and IM data based on a person's E-mail address or IM address. Companies can also turn to Iron Mountain for the Third Party Downloader services for Instant Messaging, as mandated by SEC compliance standards.

As big and experienced as Iron Mountain is, it faces competition from Zantaz Inc. and is partnering with some IM vendors for enhanced support. Iron Mountain's Enterprise Value Archives Architecture formulates and translates instant-message communications into an electronic record that can be retained in a searchable index database and retrieved through a Web interface. But the vendor will also work with Akonix's Akonix L7 Enterprise, Communicator's Hub IM, FaceTime Communications' IM Auditor Enterprise, and IMlogic's IM Manager.

Although Iron Mountain has rivals in its market, Meta Group analyst Charlie Brett says the company has a great track record with records management and is in the right position for a convergence of physical and electronic media retention. "Before, companies had their hands over their ears about instant messaging," Brett says, referring to 17a-4 and other rules. "Some of them have been fined a lot more money that it would cost to implement this sort of system."