Instant messaging isn’t just for teens anymore. “IM’ing,” as we experts (or addicts) like to call it, is quickly gaining popularity in workplaces across the country. But instant messaging at work is a kind of double-edged sword – it definitely has its benefits as one study linked it to increased productivity, and it reduces the amount of emails flooding your inbox.  Overall it can be very beneficial as long as you make sure not to say anything embarrassing, inappropriate, or otherwise incriminating.

That’s because IM’s have an uncanny way of coming back to haunt people (or so we’ve heard), which is why law firms and other businesses have a number of legal and security issues to consider before adopting IM as a mode of office communication.

We don’t have to tell you what kind of liability issues may accompany IM use in the workplace, but we can provide you with some security tips, which is especially important where client confidentiality is concerned.

Most offices use Yahoo, AOL, or Microsoft for IM. But law offices may be better off using a secure instant messaging program or else signing up for a service that automatically encrypts IMs, regardless of the program.

With secure IM, messages are encrypted to reduce the risk of information breaches—from outsiders or other employees.  If you want to try secure IM, check out some of the options below:

•    IMSecure from Zone Labs
•    VeriSign

You can also perform a Google search for “secure instant messaging” to find additional options, offers and suggestions.

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