Archiving tool could plug the corporate SMS hole

LegiTime Technologies Inc. [] is beta testing Enterprise Server, which allows IT departments to control and archive short messaging service (SMS) communications.

The LegiTime Enterprise Server (LES), which includes an appliance and LegiText Personal Edition – which the Westport, Conn.-based vendor launched in January – will probably be released next month, said Eric Strauss, LegiTime’s chief executive officer. Pricing will range from US$5 to US$15 per month per user, depending on what additional services the customer buys with it, whether it’s archiving, security or the ability to create groups.

“It’s actually bewildering that no one else has rolled out a secure enterprise class SMS application when SMS is the only ubiquitous messaging application for the mobile device,” Strauss said.

Although some companies combine mobile e-mail or instant messaging with their enterprise communications systems, SMS has the advantage of working even when handset have no connection to the Internet, provided they have cellular connectivity, Strauss added.

“I’m surprised no one’s done this before, but it probably is a little bit of a niche market right now but I think one that will probably grow and emerge,” said Mark Tauschek, senior research analyst with the London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

Although LES may not become as popular as Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion Inc.‘s BlackBerry, LES will be popular with companies that need to comply with financial accounting regulations, such as Sarbanes –Oxley law in the U.S., Tauschek added.

“SMS is becoming more and more a communications tool within enterprises and whether sanctioned or not, it’s there and if you can’t stop it — and maybe you don’t want to stop it — maybe it’s a good productivity tool to use,” Tauschek said. “You certainly want to be able to control it .”

LES synchronizes SMS messages and contact information between LegiTime client software and corporate messaging systems, such as Exchange, Lotus Domino and Black Berry Enteprise Server.

Next month, the company plans to announce a client for Windows and BlackBerry devices that would let companies manage control and secure mobile SMS.

In addition to archiving messages, LES lets users create threaded, searchable SMS strings.

LegiTime’s products use the companies “demonstration of legitimacy” or DoL technology, which verifies senders and is designed to prevent spam, spoofing and denial of service attacks .

With DoL, each message has a tag which is unique to the sender, so the recipient can be assured the message is coming from a colleague and has not been spoofed. It also lets users prioritize messages, create groups and keep records of SMS communications.

“Every tag is unique, because every message is unique based on time of day, based on sender recipient and the body of the message,” Strauss said. “It has almost like a unique fingerprint so when you create a brand new message you create a brand new tag. You can check for data integrity. The recipient can validate it with minimal work to determine you are who you say you are and the message is valid, it hasn’t been tampered with.”

Strauss added American financial regulations require some firms to treat work-related SMS the same way they treat e-mail.

“For the folks who have the smart phones, which is only about five per cent of the work force today, they’re starting to use SMS and take it seriously as a form of communications,” he said. “But for communications that are required to be confidential, there’s a big gap in their security solutions that leaves SMS wide open. So while they’re ensuring security for their e-mail, messages that originate from the mobile device that don’t have a corporate server to mange and control it are at risk of leaking confidential information.”

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