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Unified Communications Poses Risks in '08

Akonix forecasts 2008 real-time communications trends

SAN DIEGO -- Akonix Systems, Inc., provider of the most deployed instant messaging (IM) security and compliance products in the world, today published its top predictions for real-time communications in 2008.

Akonix forecasts the predominant security and management concerns for companies in 2008 will surround new unified communications (UC) platforms, creating the need for a higher and broader level of risk prevention and compliance:

  1. UC adoption will take off in 2008, with real-time components becoming the de facto means of collaborating in the workplace. The IM client will dominate the desktop, from which employees will initiate and manage chats, conferences, emails, faxes and telephone calls. The first vertical industries to take advantage of UC will include financial services and trading companies, then technology and media / entertainment, with others to follow.

  2. The implementation of UC platforms will increase corporate vulnerabilities and liabilities, including the number of entry points for hackers and methods for workers to send inappropriate content and distribute confidential information to unprivileged parties. It will also amplify the number of electronic business records that require archiving and add to the amount of places for private data to reside. The recognition of the weaknesses created by UC will create a rapidly growing category of products that provide unified policy and risk management.

  3. Akonix theorizes that a company's 'risk quotient' will rise in direct proportion to the square of the number of communications applications deployed. For example, an organization that implements unified email, IM and VoIP faces risks nine times greater than for email alone. The use of email, IM, VoIP, online conferencing and mobile communications creates a risk that is 25 times higher.

  4. 2008 will see an increase in publicized cases of inappropriate use of real-time communications in workplaces. Employees perceive IM as an informal medium, and often use it to send unwelcome advances or inappropriate messages to co-workers. A survey by Akonix in 2007 revealed that 31% of employees have been harassed over IM at work. Akonix expects that percentage will grow in 2008 as IM becomes a more prevalent business communications medium, and other UC applications provide employees more immediate and rapid ways to deliver messages.

  5. The growth in off-network computing (laptops, teleworkers, travelers, mobile handsets, VPNs, etc) will reach an all-time high, fueling the demand for security, policy and compliance management products that enable corporate and regulatory enforcement for remote workers. For example, an employee using a corporate laptop and connecting through Wi-Fi to a public IM network in an airport to conduct business is outside a company's ability to archive and monitor that communication. However, the liability and responsibility still exists. Products will emerge to help organizations close security and compliance holes for all corporate computing and networking assets.

"After years of anticipation, 2008 will finally be the year that organizations truly adopt and implement unified communications platforms," said Peter Shaw, CEO of Akonix. "As companies begin to operate across a variety of real-time applications, unified policy management will become a necessity in order to regulate activity across all levels, keeping them secure and compliant. Products that can support and simplify this process will become the foundation of communications policy, security and compliance in 2008."

Akonix Systems Inc.