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Messenger benefits vs problems during working hours

I need your opinion on this matter. We have about 60-70 pcs across the network in the company. Recently we noticed that more and more people chatting to each other and I must say that Messenger is one of the favourite software in our office.
This issue need to be handled by the department. We don't want to stop people communicate to each other, but if it is too much, then decision need to be taken seriously as not to misuse working hours for personal stuffs. Unfortunately, there is no intteligent system that can differentiate these, which  one to allow and blocked.

Has anyone know any problems that caused serious technical problem to our pc or network caused by people who extensively use messenger in the office ? How to tackle/handle it ?

Blocking Messenger through our Firewall will be considered as our last option.

Thanks.
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KG1973
Asked:
KG1973
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2 Solutions
 
Zak GunnellsIT Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
My company had the same situation a couple years ago, but the issue was people using Yahoo or another chat program with people outside the company, not inside.  To take care of this we purchased Microsoft Live Communication Server and then blocked the other chat programs from the firewall, or through Active Directory Permissions denying the install of said programs.

As for problems with the network or PC's we didn't have any, we strictly had issues with people talking with friends/family outside the company.
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nicolasnCommented:
Data security is another concern - instant messaging applications are a very easy way to move files in/out of a company without them being routed through a mail server where they could be traced.  Just something to bear in mind.
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KG1973Author Commented:
Thanks guys,
I agreed with you all, but is it possible to configure all messengers to disable files in/out features ?
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Zak GunnellsIT Infrastructure ManagerCommented:
Yes, in the current version of Live Messenger called Office Communications Server 2007, you can filter out or block all files.  In Microsoft's article Configuring Intelligent IM Filtering it discusses the configuration options to help with security of both sending URLs and Files http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb936612.aspx


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KG1973Author Commented:
What if we don't have Office Comm Server 2007 ? Are there free download version ?
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KG1973Author Commented:
hi there,

I just been told by my friend that even if the user don't have msn installed in their machine, they still can chat using www.ebuddy.com.  Any advice ?

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KG1973Author Commented:
Hi there,
I am gonna close this question. Thanks for your contributions. I knew this is not about right or wrong answer, but merely a discussion.
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nicolasnCommented:
Thanks for the points, although it was hardly an answer!
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