In 2007, Palo Alto Networks, a purveyor of enterprise instant messaging security based in Alviso, Calif., launched a six-month study to find out more about the IM user in the workplace, including more about their behaviors online and the clients they use most.
Based on analysis from 20 top enterprises across the United States, researchers discovered many in the workplace utilize instant messaging clients whether approved by their enterprise’s IT department or not; these practices have exploded over the last few years, researchers said, due to relaxed company policies regarding the installation of such applications, the advanced development of clients built to bypass security and control methods introduced by their IT departments, or a combination of both.
Most Utilized IMs in Business
Of the businesses analyzed, ranging from the financial sector to health care to government institutions, the following IM clients were found most common among their own computer networks:
- Windows Live Messenger – 85 percent
- Yahoo! Messenger – 55 percent
- AIM Express – 55 percent
- AIM – 50 percent
- QQ – 25 percent
- Google Talk – 20 percent
- Yahoo! Web Messenger – 20 percent
- MySpaceIM – 20 percent
- eBuddy – 15 percent
- IRC – 10 percent
- Lotus Sametime – Five percent
- Jabber - Five Percent
- ICQ – Five Percent
- Meebo – Five Percent
Statistics of Note
In addition to revealing the most utilized IMs among American businesses, the study also revealed how the IM end user’s experience affected the businesses analyzed:
- Video Overload. At 100 percent of the sites focused on for this study, researches found workplace access to video services such as YouTube and similar sites was consuming significant amount of bandwidth. Streaming audio was just as big a culprit as video, found at nearly 95 percent of the sites analyzed. Both video and audio services are now common features of popular IM clients.
- Peer-to-Peer Rears Its Head, Too. Placing significant risk for data loss and security issues, peer-to-peer file sharing network access was found in 90 percent of the sites tested. File sharing, like video/audio access, is commonplace in most instant messengers today.
- Browser-based IMs Likely Challenge in Near Future. Researchers revealed 75 percent of instant messengers present were of web-based applications, accessible via web browser and without a download. Ninety percent were client-based, requiring download and installation.