Know the risks in Instant Messaging
Instant Messaging or IM is the online form of communication on the computers, mobile phones, smart phones and other gadgets that can interact with each other (think of gaming consoles, Digital mp3 players). The IM provides real time chat experience to the users. Similar example is chat rooms where the recipients are multiple and the communication is not directed at particular individual – although it may be directed at someone but this is considered inappropriate in open online forums. Along with personal use, the IM is now being used for businesses too. The numbers of users who use IM technologies for businesses is increasing rapidly. The most popular example of IM are Facebook Messenger, Google talk, AOL and mobile IM services such as Whatsapp etc. With the rising numbers of users, the risks involved in communication over IM are also increasing.
Security Risks: In the beginning, the IM was a harmless outlet for communication. The user base sored and all types of people joined the trend. Unfortunately, the additional users included hackers, crackers and eavesdroppers too. Hackers found a new avenue for their malicious activities. IM now could be used to send viruses, trojan horses and malware. Similarly, socially engineered links to the host websites are also passed on IM. The damage could be minor as stolen passwords to as big as online theft and crimes. To counter, these threats the business and individual users should adopt safety precautions. They should not open links from unreliable sources. Similarly, links to third party websites should be clicked cautiously. Firewalls and anti-malware software can reduce the security risks.
Compliance Risks: The IM communication has not remained a casual form of communication anymore. The words you use on IM software can have legal repercussions. There are thousands of laws locally and internationally that regulate the IM communication at workplace. If the employees don’t comply to the laws and regulation they and the company fall into legal jurisdictions. The courts could ask for the records of IM communication. To educate your employees to follow the rules and be more careful about the IM Communication.
Inappropriate Use and Business Secret leaks: The anonymous and instant mode of communication make IM perfect for inappropriate use. The abusive language in chat rooms may not be a big problems but the same language could cost a job in the workplace. Another risk is leakage of business secret. Monitoring software installed on devices in the workplace could protect your confidential data.