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.
- What is a messenger?
- What is the difference between messengers and chats?
- What messenger can you use in the local network?
1. What is a messenger?
Messenger or instant messaging system (IM) — it’s a technology which allows to send text messages in a local network or on the Internet. Unlike email, IM works in real time. Interlocutors can see messages after sending them at once.
If the receiver is offline, the message will be saved on the server and delivered to the recipient after his next 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 because you use the 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 are also called conferences. Many users think that chats are for entertainment, but it’s one of the methods how to use them.
3. What messenger can you use in the local network?
Simple question, but we have a long list of choices. A lot of messengers and chats are presented on a market. We have to divide them into some sections by the technologies they are based on.
The most common versions of IM are ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and MS Messenger. These are free programs (with some advertisements), but can we use it for secure corporate conversations? I can say with no doubt – no.
There is no confidence when we talk about privacy when using these programs. In this case, you can’t control the network traffic, configure the IM server, manage user rights and restrictions.
Beside this, we can’t track the co-worker conversations with the 3rd party users. Leak 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.
Take a look at the server-loss solutions, for example, VyPress or Network Assistant. These are commercial shareware products. Messengers of such types are simple to install and use 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 on the broadcast or multicast technology) 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 don’t need it. In this case, it can lead to the network broadcast overflow 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 work 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 via the Internet (software architecture limitation).
Also, there is no centralized user management and logging system. The protocols are located on user local workstations only.
The most optimal way to organize the corporate messenger or chat in a company is to use a client-server model.
This technology allows to work with combined networks (LAN, GPRS, Dial-up, WAN, VPN, WiFi etc.) and provides an ability to combine geographically remote offices into a single information environment.
You can be sure about conversation 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 a guarantee that messages will be delivered to recipient, even if 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 from one side and MS Windows from another side. One of the most common messengers for *UNIX are IRC and Jabber.
In the UNIX world, the software can be configured by the text files and console commands. It’s very flexible. As a rule, these programs are open source software.
We know that all software have disadvantages. In our case, it is very difficult to configure, because of its flexibility. That’s why we have to be well prepared using these technical skills or to hire IT professionals to do this work.
Also, client apps like these are usually very difficult to understand. They have bad looking GUI and they also have very rare major updates.
On the other hand, there are a lot of client-server messengers and LAN chats under Windows. Basically, they do not have a big difference in their functionality. Main differences are quality, easy to use and, of course, price.
The most successful combination of all these things is the product of Network Software Solutions — MyChat. All customers, 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 reliability and quality inside a company.
MyChat Client first installation and deployment on all computers in a company can be done manually or by GPO in the Active Directory.
The messenger includes auto-update system for the remote clients.
This enterprise instant messenger ensures the complete privacy of user conversation, even if it works via the Internet. All network traffic is 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 private or conference conversations.
There is an internal FTP server which can be used as the file and document storage inside the company.
All system events and conversations are saved on the server encrypted database and can be viewed by the administrator or IT Security Service of the company.
Also, MyChat has the broadcast system to notify employees about important events in the company.