Corporate LAN Messenger 101

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Most IT directors and managers understand the basics of an office LAN messenger and the fundamental functions it should handle. But what about the rest of the world? Lots of small to medium businesses can’t afford a pro to help with day-to-day decisions. So here’s a rundown of the basic intranet messenger features you should be looking for when you choose an enterprise instant messenger.

1. Security
Before anything else, security should be your #1 priority with a business-oriented messenger. No matter how functional or pretty the IM client is, if it can’t keep your valuable information safe then it has no right being on your list.

When looking for security, be sure to check whether or not the local chat application can handle encrypted chats and file transfers. Also, be sure that the public has zero access to your employees as this will help in productivity as well as prevent accidental loss of valuable information to imposters.

2. Tools
What’s a good network IM if it can’t handle the basic chatting and file-sharing functions? Not much. Make sure your corporate messenger of choice has these basics, but look for more. Advanced features should have screen sharing, co-browsing, video chatting and conferencing, and even voice chatting, plus a whole lot more.

3. Support
This one tends to get ignored, but support for your company messaging software is critical. Who do you call if the system goes down? If you have an app from a software company that is too big, and you don’t spend enough time with help files, you might get stuck on hold for extended periods of time. Look at smaller software development firms that will value your business.

4. Cost
Of course, the cost is important with a corporate messenger. No, these aren’t free and for good reason. You get a LOT of protection and support when you pay for it. The key is to know your costs on the front end so you don’t get surprised later.