SMB’s Get IM FaceTime

FaceTime recently unveiled RTShield, an IM and P2P -based security package geared to the small-to-medium business market.

A small network appliance, RTShield follows on the heels of the RTG500, a previously released product aimed at large enterprises. RTShield uses what FaceTime calls a defense-in-depth methodology that distinguishes between malicious and benign IM/P2P use through both application behavior and policy management.

“Securing, managing and extending IM and P2P in the small and medium enterprise has, to date, been prohibitively expensive and complicated,” says Kailash Ambwani, FaceTime president and chief executive officer. “With the introduction of RTShield, small businesses can now safely embrace IM and other forms of legitimate real-time communications while blocking P2P and meeting all corporate and regulatory compliance guidelines.”

RTShield includes 10 seats for one year on AOL’s AIM Identity Services. The identity services allow screen names to be matched with real corporate e-mail addresses. It also provides on-premises hosted editions that allow local corporate authentication of users. Other security features include Identity Services with support for encrypted IM communications and digital certificates.

Market Effects


FaceTime’s RTShield arrives just as the enterprise IM space has thinned out recently, with Yahoo!’s exit from the enterprise space, as well as AOL’s strategic shift away from IM management for enterprise customers.

In this release, FaceTime is an AIM Certified Application partner, and says it will work with AOL to help manage customers’ enterprise IM needs as AOL winds down AIM Enterprise Gateway.

Christopher Dean, FaceTime’s senior vice president of marketing, says the joint announcement between the two companies is intended to help alleviate any confusion that might exist about AOL’s recent exit from enterprise IM.

“There is no heir,” says Dean. “FaceTime is the obvious choice due to shared technology base. AIMEG (America Online Instant Messaging Enterprise Gateway) is our OEM‘ed technology.”

Ferris Research Analyst Ben Littauer said he doubts there will be any confusion among customers between AOL’s offering and FaceTime’s,” says Littauer. “The AOL enterprise offering did not gain a lot of market penetration primarily because of AOL’s position as a consumer-focused provider.”

In the research firm’s view, enterprise IM will continue to grow rapidly. “The genie is out of the bottle and will not go back,” Littauer says. “In addition, with the spam problem at the level it is, e-mail is becoming a much less “immediate” medium than it once was, and we expect that IM will take over a small percentage of communications that would previously have been e-mail.”

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