Reuters offers monitored IM

News and technology company Reuters Group PLC has developed an instant messaging (IM) application for the financial services industry, and on Wednesday announced an agreement to incorporate monitoring technology from FaceTime Communications Inc. into the software.

Reuters Messaging is a high-security IM service in the final stages of trials with 25 financial services companies. It should be available by about October, Reuters' U.K. spokeswoman Susan Allsopp said on Thursday.

"Instant messaging has been growing because it's a useful technology in business, due to the fact that it's real time and also because of presence -- you can see if the person you want to talk to is there," she said.

"But in the financial services market, any communication is likely to be about financial transactions and you have to log and audit all communications about those. You can't do that with standard instant messaging. Also, security is a big issue and other software isn't secure enough for talking about financial deals," Allsopp said.

FaceTime's IM Auditor logs and audits all messages from Reuters Messaging and any other IM systems being used within the company, she said. All records have to be kept and made available to any regulators who ask for them, she said.

IM Auditor also allows a company to control which members of staff can send messages outside of the organization, Allsopp said.

On the security side, Reuters has been working with Microsoft Corp. to develop security based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standards, Allsopp said. "It's an open technology so customers can adapt it to put it on their own desktops," she said.

Reuters Messaging will be available free to Reuters' clients, Allsopp said.

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