Asynchrony rolls out secure IM for cautious companies

Asynchrony Solutions Inc. rolled out a new secure instant messaging (IM) product Monday that it developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), figuring that if it's secure enough for the DOD, it's secure enough for your enterprise.

The communication and collaboration software maker unveiled Envoke, a server and client side secure IM system, at the Instant Messaging Planet Conference in San Francisco.

Envoke offers buddy lists, multiple-user chat, secure file transfer, saving and logging of chats and e-mail forwarding of offline messages. The system is interoperable, with cross-platform support and allows users to bridge the product with other collaborative systems such as Lotus Sametime Calendar events and Microsoft NetMeeting Conferences.

Companies can choose whether or not they want to encrypt all messages with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), ensuring that all communications are secure. The servers include a Web-enabled administration console and administrators can also chose to specify and authenticate all IM users, as well as track and log communications.

Additionally, the client comes in a Web, wireless and Java standalone version.

The St. Louis, Missouri-based company worked with the DOD for a year and a half to develop the system, which is currently being rolled out to the first 50,000 department employees this month as part of a new suite of collaboration tools, said David Elfanbaum, Asynchrony vice president of marketing and business development.

Envoke servers support up to 2,000 users each and are currently priced at US$20,000, or about $10 a seat, but will go up to $25,000 in January, Elfanbaum said.

The servers can be federated, or tied together for workload sharing, so even if one server goes down, the system will remain up and running, Elfanbaum noted.

Asynchrony is currently showcasing Envoke at the Instant Messaging Planet Conference, which runs through Tuesday.

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