Open University secures IM chat

OU, your starter for 10, how vulnerable is instant messaging?
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

OU, your starter for 10, how vulnerable is instant messaging?

Further education institution the Open University has signed a deal to secure its instant messaging communications after realising many staff had taken to using IM within the organisation.

The deal with secure IM vendor FaceTime marks a growing awareness of the threat posed by instant messaging applications which typically offer a direct link from the internet onto the user's desktop.

Chris Wigglesworth, senior systems programmer at the Open University, said IM isn't used as part of the OU's core business and nor is its use promoted, however it was noted that staff were increasingly using it to communicate with one another.

IM has become a popular application in offices where email has now been seen as too slow and clunky for some business needs. Its use has also often been driven by users acting independently of the IT department. But the rate of adoption and the implementation of greater security haven't always kept pace.

Wigglesworth said the greater security now provides him with "peace of mind".

The Open University bought 1,000 perpetual licences from FaceTime for around £17,000, according to a spokeswoman for FaceTime. Currently FaceTime's IMAuditor product is monitoring 400 users within the organisation.

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