Instant messaging program Archives

Instant messaging program Archives

instant messaging program Archives

instant messaging program Archives

How Instant Messaging Works

IM capabilities have greatly expanded in recent years. Most services offer file-sharing, and AOL, Yahoo!, Google and MSN have integrated IM service with e-mail service, so users can receive e-mail notifications while instant messaging. Many providers also allow users to IM and file-share from their cell phones and mobile devices, allowing access to their services any place, any time. A Google Talk user can archive IM conversations and also drag files and folders directly onto the chat window, with photos showing up instantly in their friend's chat window. Windows Live Messenger allows instant-messaging between Xbox 360 gamers. Personalization capabilities have exploded, with IMers able to customize personal icons, screen interfaces and greetings.

­Most IM programs, including Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk, allow users to talk just as you would over a telephone, and some offer video-chat capabilities. (For more information, see our article on Voice over Internet Protocol technology.)


Several free utilities combine various services. Trillian provides a centralized location for AIM, ICQ, Windows Live, Yahoo! Messenger and IRC contacts. All contacts are shown in the same window, with different-colored circles representing each service. Trillian's "metacontact" feature displays one entry in the contact list for people with multiple IM memberships, and it's the only multiservice client that offers video-chat capabilities (although you'll have to shell out $25 for a Pro membership).

Users of Pidgin can IM, transfer files and share photos with contacts in AIM, ICQ, IRC, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. Its "Buddy Pounce" feature sends notifications when selected contacts change their online status or send IMs. Universal IM providers Meebo and eBuddy are Web-based, meaning they don't require a software download. eBuddy also offers a version of its service for cell phones. Friends IMing on Qnext, which works with all the major IM providers, can listen to each other's music files without having to download them.

The future of instant messaging is very bright. All of the utilities described in this article continue to be updated by their owners, and IM providers continue to collaborate on allowing more interface between users of their services. Business users can now have virtual conferences and collaborate on projects very easily. If you have not tried IM, you're missing out on a whole new world of communication.

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, instant messaging program Archives

Frequently Asked Questions about Instant Messaging

What is Instant Messaging (IM)?

How does IM differ from email?

Does IM content qualify as a Federal Record?

How do I manage my IM content?

What are the current best practices for capturing IM?

How can I schedule IM content?

How do I get assistance with specific records management questions relating to IM?

What is Instant Messaging (IM)?

Instant Messaging (IM) is an electronic messaging service that allows users to determine whether a certain party is connected to the messaging system at the same time. IM allows them to exchange text messages with connected parties in real time.

To use the service, users must have IM client software installed on their workstations. While there are many types of IM clients, they all tend to function in a similar manner. Client software may either be part of an agency's IT network and available to only registered users, or be public and available to anyone on the Internet. The client software logs into a central server to create connections with other clients logged in at that same time. Users create and exchange messages through their local client application.

Other important points:

  • In addition to sending messages, users may have the ability to attach and exchange electronic files such as images, audio, video, and textual documents. This capability depends on the configuration of the individual client software as well as on protocols established at the client server.
  • Depending on the software, users who are online may have the ability to respond to messages.
  • Users may also block other users with whom they do not want to exchange messages.
  • Users may only communicate with others using the same or a compatible client software.

How does IM differ from Email?

Fundamentally, the difference between IM and email is the notion of presence. This means that users of the IM system are aware that other users have logged in and are willing to accept messages. Unlike email, IM content can only be sent to users who are logged in to the system and accepting messages. If users are not logged in, others do not have the ability to send them messages.

Because IM is not predicated upon an open standard, there is no uniformity regarding message transmission and structure.

Does IM Content Qualify as a Federal Record?

The statutory definition of records (44 U.S.C. 3301) includes all machine readable materials made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business. Agencies that allow IM traffic on their networks must recognize that such content may be a Federal record under that definition and must manage the records accordingly. The ephemeral nature of IM heightens the need for users to be aware that they may be creating records using this application, and to properly manage and preserve record content. Agency records management staff determine the record status of the IM content based on the overall records management policies and practices of their agency.

How do I Manage my IM Content?

Agencies developing a comprehensive policy need to ensure that IM content is managed consistently across the agency in its component offices. An effective policy addresses the authorized use of the IM technology and provides guidelines for the management of the records generated during an IM session. This is especially important because IM content may be subject to various types of access requests, including under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or as part of a discovery process in a litigation context.

IM content that is a record must be managed as such. Here are two ways:

  • Provide policies that inform users what steps to undertake to manage the content;
  • Configure the IM client or server to capture IM without user intervention.

IM content that is a Federal record must be managed in conjunction with related records.

What are the Current Best Practices for Capturing IM?

Nearly all IM client software has the ability to capture the content as either a plain text file or in a format native to that client. Generally, the location and maximum size of that file is determined by a configuration setting in the client. DoD 5015.2 certified applications have the ability to capture and manage records in any electronic format. Such formats include those files produced by the various IM clients.

In addition, various IM management products have the ability to address the monitoring and management of IM content, either from those clients that are part of the agency's enterprise or the various public clients. Generally, these products operate at the server level and should be able to capture IM sessions regardless of the configuration of the individual client.

Determining which solution is appropriate for your agency involves collaboration among the program staff, the information technology (IT) staff, the records management staff, and NARA.

How can I Schedule IM Content?

If an agency determines IM content to be a Federal record, the record must have a NARA-approved disposition authority. Do not identify IM content as a single series of records with a universal disposition. Instead, evaluate IM content within the context of the overall records of the program to which the IM relates and the business rules that may apply. Disposition instructions for IM should be consistent with similar agency records. Schedule in accordance with the agency's established records management policy. IM records may already be scheduled as part of other series, such as records typically found in a case file or a correspondence system. For further assistance, please contact your NARA appraisal archivist.

How do I get Assistance with Specific Records Management Questions Relating to IM?

NARA's Life Cycle Management Division provides assistance and advice to agency records officers of agencies headquartered in the Washington, DC, area. The Records Management staff in NARA's regional offices provides assistance and advice to agency records officers of agencies headquartered in the field and - in consultation with NWML agency liaison staff - of field offices subordinate to agencies headquartered in Washington. Your agency's records officer may contact the NARA appraiser or records analyst with whom your agency normally works. A list of the appraisal and scheduling work group and regional contacts is posted on the NARA web site at The Records Management staff in NARA's regional offices provides assistance to agency records officers across the country. A complete list of NARA regional facilities may be found at

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instant messaging program Archives

Can Advisors Use Instant Messaging for a Competitive Edge?

As a recent article in Investment News pointed out, “Clients who rely on Amazon’s Alexa to order dog food on command and Venmo to instantly transfer cash to friends are not going to be satisfied with a financial adviser who promises to answer account questions in a day or two.”

Along with text messaging and social media, instant messaging (IM) is one of the top tools that advisors should be using to communicate with clients and each other. Like text messaging and social media, IM allows advisors to collaborate and deliver a higher level of service with ease.

With this demand, the most innovative firms have invested in collaboration tools and platforms including Symphony, Slack Enterprise Grid, Instant Bloomberg, Skype for Business, and Cisco Jabber. Each of these platforms has its own specific set of features and benefits, but they all deliver a way for advisors to communicate internally across teams, and with clients.

There’s a catch with these platforms, though.

In financial services, not knowing who says what to whom can be damaging and costly. Like all other forms of electronic or mobile communication, firms must also meet their FINRA and SEC requirements for recordkeeping and oversight when using IM.

As a result, firms must incorporate IM policies and procedures into their practice that explicitly state which IM platforms their advisors can use. Many firms choose to deploy firm-controlled devices, and implement IM platforms that allow incoming /outgoing messages and other content between advisors and clients to be archived for retention and supervision.

How to Archive and Supervise IM

As noted above, while many IM platforms are extremely effective business tools that give firms a great way to help advisors and clients communicate, they often don’t provide the compliance and archiving functionality required to meet compliance and eDiscovery needs for firms.

Here are the most important points you need to know to properly archive messaging and collaboration tools:

  • IM conversations should be fully threaded and policy-checked when archived, and not flattened and stored as email. To mitigate risks, firms must be able to produce IM conversations in their entirety when responding to audits, regulatory examinations, and eDiscovery requests.
  • Your compliance team should be able to quickly and securely search, review and produce IMs alongside email, social media, text messages, and other electronic communications. Since conversations can start in IM, move to email or text, and then return to IM, it’s essential to be able to see and produce records of these interactions in context across various communications platforms.
  • Your archiving processes should not disrupt or impact how your advisors interact with each other or clients on the IM platform. Your archiving solution should securely capture all IM conversations and content in real time, for every advisor in your firm, whether they are in the office or traveling, without missing a beat.

You’ll also want your archiving platform to:

  • Capture, index, and search IM messages, notifications, files and more in their original format, regardless of a user’s device, location, or network
  • Search across all communications (by person, keywords or content type) within the IM platform and review fully threaded conversations to see the context of messages, updates, comments, and files
  • Leverage a full supervision audit trail that tracks each IM review session and actions taken on specific messages
  • Escalate and tag IM content based on cases, events or topics
  • Assign or forward IM messages to supervisors for further review
  • Export only necessary IM data in multiple formats securely and directly to outside counsel, regulatory examiners or third-party eDiscovery providers during litigation events
  • Preserve IM communication on non-erasable, non-rewriteable media in its native, unaltered format to meet recordkeeping obligations
  • Search IM content alongside other message types, such as email, text messaging, and social media, in one archive

A word of caution for firms reviewing their IM and archiving options: make sure you use an enterprise-grade IM platform. Some firms continue to use consumer IM products, including AOL Instant Messenger, for advisor communications. However, Smarsh does not recommend using these platforms for business, since free consumer providers often do not prioritize the unique business and compliance requirements of financial services firms.
Smarsh supports many business-class IM platforms and trading platforms, including Skype for Business, Slack Enterprise Grid, and Symphony.

To learn more, please visit, or call Smarsh at 866-762-7741.


Smarsh® is the recognized global leader in electronic communications archiving solutions for regulated organizations. The Smarsh Connected Suite provides innovative capture, archiving, e-discovery, and supervision solutions across the industry’s widest breadth of communication channels.

Scalable for organizations of all sizes, the Smarsh platform provides customers with compliance built on confidence. It enables them to strategically future-proof as new communication channels are adopted, and to realize more insight and value from the data in their archive. Customers strengthen their compliance and e-discovery initiatives and benefit from the productive use of email, social media, mobile/text messaging, instant messaging and collaboration, web, and voice channels.

Smarsh serves a global client base that spans the top banks in North America and Europe, along with leading brokerage firms, insurers, and registered investment advisors. Smarsh also enables federal and state government agencies to meet their public records and e-discovery requirements. For more information, visit

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