Managing Instant Messaging Security: A Pilot Study of Recommended Practices

Document Type



Published in Business Quest, 2007. Bryant users may access this article here.


Richards College of Business, University of West Georgia


Instant Messaging technology has the potential to be a valuable communication tool at many levels of the business enterprise and is already in use by employees in 85 percent of North American companies. Worldwide business use of IM is expected to reach 670 million in 2008. IM is a primary means of communication for college students and many institutions are learning to exploit IM to improve communications. However, instant messaging presents some serious security risks. This paper will review some of the major security risks and recommend management practices to enhance the level of IM security. The security posture of internal staff plays a major role in an organization’s security. A survey of IM business users conducted by the authors indicates that a higher level of security is found at companies with sound management practices.