Oh, the water cooler. What once was a mecca for employee interaction is now a mere bubbling shell of its former self. For those of you who don’t remember, the water cooler dispensed more than just liquid; it dispensed news and gossip to anyone with an ear to listen and five minutes to waste. For all intents and purposes, the water cooler has been replaced by instant messaging…and businesses should be weary.

Its not that gossip is dangerous, or that the rumor mill can hamper productivity that makes IM risky. Heck, it isn’t even how fast an IM can rely information. The problem with IM is that it is so prevalent. One study suggests that 80-90% of companies have some sort of IM in use by employees, but that number may be too conservative.

Furthering this, a 2013 survey concluded that IM users send nearly 20 billion IMs each day—outranking “traditional’ SMS text messaging. Now, for an organization to understand the real power of IM, they need to understand both the positives and the negatives.

Speaking specifically to Cisco users, Jabber IM allows a company to IM internally, as well as send an IM to federated users. What this means is that with Jabber, a company can IM anyone else who also is using Jabber. This opens the floodgates for potentially harmful infractions of compliance mandates.

Unlike water cooler conversations, instant messages can be captured and archived. The government knows this, and therefore has mandated that many industries save a record of all IM interactions. To combat this, some organizations have decided to simply prohibit employees from using IM.

Prohibiting the use of IM at an organization may help in the short term, but it limits the overall ability to conduct business quickly and efficiently. Cisco Jabber is a fantastic solution for communicating when used correctly. So, instead of limiting Jabber’s potential, organizations should search for tools that compliment the system.

Enhancements for Jabber, such as collaboration recording from ISI and Verba, integrate directly with Cisco’s solution. This provides a single user experience, where the ability to archive IM interactions is searchable and discoverable.

There is no reason to be intimidated by Jabber Instant Messaging. With the integrated ability to record and archive these interactions, a company can be certain that they are providing their employees with the best possible tools for communicating, while staying compliant with all federal regulations.

Has your company gotten over its fear of IM?