Close the IM Loophole


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You already know you need to archive your e-mail, but should you archive instant messages (IMs)?

The answer seems to be yes, even though, thus far, the need for IM archival "has not been as clearly articulated as other forms of electronic communication," says Christopher Dean, senior vice president of marketing and business development at FaceTime, an IM management vendor.

But that's changing. In March, New York Stock Exchange executive VP Salvatore Pallante sent out a memo reiterating the NYSE's records retention policy, which covers communications "including, but not limited to e-mails, instant messages and similar communications devices."

To that end, Iron Mountain recently partnered with Akonix Systems, Communicator Inc., FaceTime and IMlogic to provide IM archiving and retention tools.

For storage managers grappling with a glut of data, the prospect of archiving IMs may cause some alarm. But an IM conversation doesn't take as much space as e-mail, says FaceTime's Dean, because IM management packages assemble IM conversations into a stream and archive them as a single e-mail, he says.

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This was first published in July 2003

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