What corporate messenger have we to choose for work in LAN and through the Internet?

Nowadays companies pay attention on the instant messages exchange systems.

It’s very actual question what corporate messenger we need to choose. There are several types of corporate IM described in this review, their advantages and disadvantages.

1. What is messenger?

Messenger or instant messaging system (IM) — it’s a technology which allows having text messages conversations in a local network or in the Internet. Unlike email, IM works in a real time. Interlocutors can see messages after its sending at once.

If the receiver is offline, the message will be saved on the server and delivered to the recipient after his connection immediately.

You can organize the effective conversations inside the company and save money on phone calls (e.g. if the company divisions located in different cities or even countries). In this case you won’t need to pay phone bills, as you use internet traffic.

2. What is the difference between messengers and chats?

What is their main difference? Messengers designed for tet-a-tet conversations mainly. But chats works as a group messaging systems. Such type of conversations also calls conferences. Many users think the chat is just an entertainment, but it’s one of the methods how to use it.

3. What messengers can be and which of them we have to choose in LAN?

Simple question, but we have a big choice. A lot of messengers and chats are presented on a market. We have to divide it into some sections by the technologies they are working on.

Variant #1

The most common versions of IM are ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and MS Messenger. This is free programs (with some advertisements), but can we use it for incorporate conversations? I can say with no doubt – no.

There is no confidence about talking privacy through these programs. In this case, you can’t to control the network traffic, configure the IM server, managing the users’ rights and restrictions.

Beside this, we can’t tracking the co-workers conversations with the 3rd part. Leaks of critical information can lead to financial losses.

Ok, this variant is not for us.

Messenger or chat server must be inside of the company and has to be fully controlled.

Variant #2

Take a look at the server-loss solutions, for example VyPress or Network Assistant. These are commercial shareware products. Such type messengers are simple in using and installing, and don’t need special configuration for work starting. If you use it in the simple peer to peer network (up to 30 workplaces), the work will be comfortable and stable.

We have a problem: these programs (working by the broadcast or multicast) can’t work stable in the complex networks with many segments. So, the program is the server and the client at the same time. It sends broadcast packets to everyone in the LAN, even who doesn’t need it. In this case, it can lead to a network broadcast storm and become a reason of partial or full network downtime.

Peer to peer chats have one more problem: messages may not be delivered to the recipients.

For example: there is a company where employees working remotely via GPRS in the Virtual Private Network (VPN). 20% of messages lost because of the poor connection quality. There is no ability to connect user through the Internet (software architecture limit).

Also, there is no centralized user management and logging system. The protocols locate on user’s local workstations only.

Variant #3

The most optimal way to organize the corporate messenger or chat in a company is to use a client-server system.

This allows to work with combined networks (LAN, GPRS, Dial-up, WAN, VPN, WiFi etc.) and provide an ability to combine geographically remote offices into a single information environment.

You can be sure in conversations confidence by using the client-server corporate messenger, located inside the company. The server is fully controlled by IT department and security service of this company.

Server messenger gives guarantee that messages will be delivered to recipients, even the user is offline. All messages are reliably saved in the server database.

One of the important features of corporate IM is an opportunity to exchange files and documents during the conversation between co-workers. It does greatly elevate the work efficiency.

The client-server messengers can be divided by OS: *UNIX and MS Windows from other side. One of the most common messengers for *UNIX are IRC and Jabber.

In the UNIX world the software configures and setup by the text files and console commands. It’s very flexible. As a rule, these programs are open source.

We know that all software has disadvantages. In our case, it is very difficult to configure, because of its flexibility. That’s why we have to be well prepared in these technical skills or to hire IT professionals to do this work.

Also, client apps like these usually very difficult to understand, have not good GUI and they also have very rare major updates.

From the other hand, there are a lot of client-server messengers and LAN chats under Windows. Basically, they do not have big difference in their functions. Main differences are: quality, easy to use and, of course, price.

4. MyChat

The most successful combination of all these things is the product of Network Software SolutionsMyChat. All clients, who use this software, talk about its reliability and price-quality ratio.

MyChat is protected client-server messenger with all necessary features for IM system reliably and quality inside a company.

First installation and deployment of MyChat Client to all computers in a company can be done manually or by GPO in the Active Directory.

The messenger includes auto update system of the remote clients.

This enterprise instant messenger ensures the complete privacy of user’s conversations, even if it works through the Internet. All network traffic encrypted by the OpenSSL technology.

The chat network provides the co-workers different statuses such as: “away”, “do not disturb”, “online” or “offline”.

The company users can have a private or conference conversations.

There is an internal FTP server which can be used as files and documents storage inside the company.

All system events and conversations are saving into the server encrypted database and can be viewed by the administrator or IT Security Service of the company.

Also MyChat has got broadcast system for employees’ notification about important events of the company.

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