According to the latest industry report from Gartner, 95% of all corporate employees will be using instant messaging (IM) as a primary form of communication by the year 2013.

Sales of enterprise-class IM systems, on the other hand, will surge from the current $267 million in 2005 to more than $688 million in 2010.

Says David Mario Smith, an analyst at Gartner:

We saw IM start as a social phenomenon. Now it’s crept into the enterprise.

Understandably, the rise of the IM in the office is a development that has both CIOs and IT managers paying some serious attention to. Chief among the concerns, obviously, is the increased potential of viruses and malware infestations, as well as risk of serious security breaches.

There is also a risk of falling afoul of regulatory and compliance guidelines or laws due to the external hosted nature of consumer IM.

This has resulted in 25% of large companies biting the bullet and abandoning (or banning) all consumer-based IM products in favor of enterprise versions such as IBM’s Lotus Sametime and Microsoft’s Live Communications Server.

Gartner predicts that almost all large companies will be using enterprise-class IM systems before the end of the decade.

On the other side of the fence, some companies are turning to security software from vendors such as FaceTime, Akonix, and Symantec that allows staff to use AIM or MSN without putting the network at risk.

You can read more about this topic from the Baseline article here.

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