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Reporting who uses IM most

colin911 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
I administer a small corp network (10 users).  Some employees are using IM products to chat and over-using certain websites.  While the company would like to block the services, i feel that this will just lead to more side uses of the internet and cause some disrupt to the fairly laid back approach to the company.  Some of these are also used to do business.  

Instead, I wish to inform the users of just how much time they spend using these services per month.  Perhaps a small reward will be give to the person who uses it the least.

From other posts I have been told that ISA 2004, which came with the Small business server 2003 would be a good idea.  I have it running and have looked a bit at the reports section but can't seem to make reports that will show me application usage by user.  Can someone explain to me how to do this?  Do I need the CLient Firewall to do this?

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Yeah, but can't I do this with ISA?
Not easily... It's abit hard to do it with such software... You need to detect IM softwares, their ports and their servers... Then maybe you can! For example Yahoo! Messenger uses port 5050 (just one of ports it uses)

But that kind of softwares specilized for this kind of stuff
Rich RumbleSecurity Samurai
Top Expert 2006

While it's possible you can track this info, and even block the service as you know it, those users can be resourceful, and use proxies, or quite simply the web versions of the IM clients... http://www.aim.com/aimexpress.adp?aolp=0  http://webmessenger.msn.com/
http://www.iloveim.com/ http://wwwm.meebo.com/ (I think yahoo 360 has a web client too... http://360.yahoo.com/login.html )

There are also lots of IM sniffers out there that will likely be able to produce the metric you desire

With so few people there think that perhaps you'd be better off monitoring the entire pc's BW, and asking users who may be utilizing too much BW to stop or cut back on anything non-work related. It helps to have Acceptable Use and other policies in place as well: http://www.sans.org/resources/policies/
Ntop can do this with ease, as can Cacti (Cacti.net) You just need to setup a spanned aka port mirror for Ntop to sniff... cacti uses SNMP to get it's info, Ntop is far more detailed http://www.openxtra.co.uk/freestuff/ntop-xtra.php

I agree with Rich on this one - if you try and block or restrict IM access, users will only find another way.
If you incentivise the 'least user' of IM, then users would just find other ways to chat to 'win' the monthly prize!
IM, email, web surfing...  it's all part of life these days, and it's very difficult to discourage their use.
What you should concentrate on is whether or not your staff are doing their jobs properly.  Set realistic targets, expectations, office etiquette policies.  In theory, if they're busy and productive enough, then who cares what they do in their slack time?
The only places where IM should be of concern is if your company is regulated, as in this case you need to make sure confidential/sensitive information cannot be leaked.
Any good corporate firewall will provide such stats. Ask your network administrator


I appreciate all of your comments but the budget cannot pay for other specialized software.  We were under the impression that ISA could do things like this and this is really what I am looking for.  FYI, the best for such reports and buying other software I think will most likely be Spector 360.
Security Samurai
Top Expert 2006
Cacti is free, as is Ntop
I think snare can parse the ISA logs, but not sure about trending/metrics... http://www.intersectalliance.com/projects/index.html (mostly free)

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