Bankers Want Some FaceTime

Instant messaging (IM) is making inroads into banking, according to FaceTime Communications, makers of IM software for businesses. The Foster City, Calif.-based company announced today that it landed a new client, Wachovia Securities, a financial services firm. FaceTime's IM Auditor enables real-time communications for institutional traders by leveraging public IM networks such as AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo!, as well as private IM networks. But it's not your everyday Internet chit-chat technology. Security and regulatory issues arise whenever traders communicate with other institutional traders; and with instant messages flying back and forth over the Internet, which often go unmonitored and unrecorded, the risks are even greater. Just ask Andy Nybo, analyst at market researcher TowerGroup. "The widespread use and easy availability of public IM services have caused financial services firms to take a hard look at the compliance issues surrounding instant messaging with clients," he said. "Although many firms have turned a blind eye to the use of these services in the past, the pressure from regulators and the potential for abuse of company resources have forced securities firms to re-evaluate internal instant messaging policies." To this end, FaceTime IM Auditor runs on a server that sits behind the corporate firewall, enabling companies to manage and monitor instant messages regardless of the IM network they're on. "From there, IM Auditor can be used to look for key words or phrases that might alert the company to an employee's misuse of the messaging system," explains Barry Shurtz, director of marketing at FaceTime. The software also provides compliance, access and identity-management controls. Moreover, FaceTime IM Auditor has an export capability, meaning users can send complete IM conversations as emails to clients and data storage systems. This ability to manage and control IM usage on many networks lured Wachovia to the product. "Wachovia views its choice of FaceTime's IM Auditor as a significant competitive advantage for our traders who can now use an already familiar IM tool to conduct time-sensitive business transactions," stated Tony D'Agostino, COO of Wachovia Equity Capital Markets. FaceTime touts an impressive list of customers, many of which fall in the financial sector. Its customers include: BankOne, Thomas Weisel Partners; Western Union; Alaska Airlines; Amica Insurance, Compaq, Dell, among others.
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