Should that fortified security not meet your needs, Validian has also partnered with Sony to produce its Flash Communicator, an implementation of its SIM that works on compact flash media devices and provides three factor authentication: your fingerprint, your password, and the serial number of both the device and the software. Flash Communicatorô works on USB flash memory drives, digital camera memory sticks and other compact flash media. It transforms these storage media into secure, interactive communication devices, allowing rich text communication, message exchanges, image and content distribution and file transfer when connected to the Internet.
Validian defines its main focus as the corporate customer whose available resources are in short supply and who have a need to minimize the oversight of complex systems.
"An ideal customer for Validian is a company sensitive to security, one that is well distributed, and who employs mobile users. Virtual corporations, companies with a large, multinational sales force, users that need to have meetings within meetings to discuss strategy; all of these are models of who would use Secure Instant Messaging," states Maisonneuve.
The SIM also acts as a gatekeeper in that it prevents users from using IM to communicate with unauthorized users outside of the corporation. This can prevent the exchange and transfer of sensitive corporate information with parties who should not have it. Case in point, Instant Messaging was used as a continued source of communication in planning the Enron crimes as it was relatively anonymous, lacked session logging and didnít archive data.
For corporations using lack of interoperability as their argument for sticking to an open IM system, Maisonneuve counters, "If you want to have an insecure system, you can use just about anyone you prefer. For the corporation that wants to have the capability for their CFO to talk to their CEO without the risk of interception, Secure IM is a necessity. By definition, it cannot be interoperable with private, insecure systems just as Yahoo IM and MSN IM cannot communicate without the use of a third party hardware. There is no compatibility in open IM systems and it isnít foreseeable in the near future. A company can choose to have secure IM communications or insecure, but not both. A secure IM environment is a gated community. There really is no other way."
Melisa LaBancz-Bleasdale is a freelance technology writer busily deleting spam while living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
By subscribing to our early morning news update, you will receive a daily digest of the latest security news published on Help Net Security.
With over 500 issues so far, reading our newsletter every Monday morning will keep you up-to-date with security risks out there.