AOL is partnering with VeriSign to provide the feature in AIM 5.2, as the new consumer client is called. Encryption costs $9.95 a year for individuals, but AOL also sells certificates in bulk to companies.
As part of the encryption feature, AOL also introduced version 2.0 of its AIM Enterprise Gateway. The product enables corporate technology systems to decode encrypted AIM messages leaving a company's servers. This lets information technology departments log and archive all IM messages. Industries such as financial services are governed by rules that require IM conversations to be monitored and archived. The AOL gatewayCommunications.
The announcements highlight AOL's attempts to sell versions of its popular AIM client to businesses. AIM has been the most popular instant messaging service for consumers, amassing millions of users who rely on the software to exchange text messages in real time. However, IM remains a free service for which providers, including AOL rivals Microsoft and Yahoo, have avoided tacking on fees.
The big three Internet giants have all launched enterprise IM products in hopes of tapping revenue from business users.as an alternative form of communication, but many corporate technology departments have cracked down on instant messaging programs for fear of security and accountability breaches.
Regulated industries such asand are beginning to crack down on unfettered IM use. Earlier this month, the National Association of Securities Dealers said for three years.
Enterprise software makers, including other divisions in Microsoft, IBM and Sun Microsystems, are also trying to sell enterprise IM products to existing clients. Later this summer,, initially as an enterprise IM product, but eventually, perhaps, one that includes Net phone calling and videoconferencing features.