Instant Messaging And E-Mail Become One

As IT managers in that industry to look long and hard at how they archive IM interactions, new partnerships from records-management vendor Iron Mountain could come in handy.
The emergence of instant messaging as a mission-critical tool for financial-services companies has forced IT managers in that industry to look long and hard at how they archive IM interactions as they attempt to comply with regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission. To simplify the task, financial-services firms are marrying their IM archives with their E-mail stores.

That trend was highlighted last week when records management vendor Iron Mountain Inc. said it was teaming with four IM management vendors to ease archive integration efforts. Iron Mountain's technology partnership with Akonix Systems, Communicator, FaceTime Communications, and IMlogic may be the widest ranging such arrangement to date, and it serves as a clear indication that companies--especially in the financial-services sector--don't want to monitor separate IM and E-mail archives.

FTN Financial, a full-service brokerage, just finished deploying IMlogic's IM Manager software for layering IM-compliance capabilities over unmonitored consumer IM networks such as those run by America Online, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The company, which lets its employees use AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger for all IM interactions, plans to integrate IMlogic's archiving capabilities with its existing Assentor E-mail archive using a feature it purchased recently from Assentor, says Tommy Wright, VP and manager of information systems development. Once the integration is complete, IM archives created by IM Manager will be pushed into the Assentor E-mail store for convenient compliance monitoring of all electronic communications. "Our compliance officers will be able to go into a single system and see what was quarantined the night before," Wright says.

Investment firm Morgan Keegan Inc. already has done a similar integration between its Entelagent E-mail archive and FaceTime's IM Auditor tool, which, like IMlogic, lets companies log and archive its traffic from the consumer IM networks. Morgan Keegan had been using an in-house IM archiving tool, but the growth of IM usage forced it to turn to FaceTime early this year, and the ability to monitor E-mail and IM compliance from a unified archive has proved crucial. "That's a major plus when you have so much electronic content," network systems engineer Dan Evans says. "It has tremendous value."