As instant messaging (IM) quickly gains popularity, organizations need to address the potentially costly challenges it brings to the workplace. Instant Messaging Rules helps you maximize the business potential of IM technology, while establishing and enforcing essential rules and policies to protect your company.

Because IM creates a written, legal record of what goes on in your organization—and its personal use can run the risk of negatively impacting office productivity--Instant Messaging Rules gives you sample policies and best practices for IM usage, covering essential areas like security, training, management, and legal issues. It is an essential, timely guide that will help you take control of this important, cutting edge-tool.

About the Author

Nancy Flynn is founder and executive director of the ePolicy Institute and the author of E-Mail Rules, The E-Policy Handbook, and several other books. She has been featured in US News & World Report, Fortune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and on CNBC and National Public Radio.

Instant Messaging Rules—A Business Guide to Managing Policies, Security, and Legal Issues for Safe IM Communication

Nancy Flynn

Special discounts on bulk quantities of AMACOM books are available to corporations, professional associations, and other organizations. For details, contact Special Sales Department, AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Tel.: 212-903-8316. Fax: 212-903-8083. Web site:

While this book is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered, it is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. The book is presented as a general overview and guide and does not provide legal, regulatory, compliance, technology, or security advice or opinion on any topic contained within. The author of Instant Messaging Rules did not and could not contemplate every situation, problem, or issue that may arise when using instant messaging or e-mail, and this book does not purport to be exhaustive of all situations that may arise when using, implementing, or relying on IM and/or e-mail tools and technologies. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Flynn, Nancy, 1956–

Instant messaging rules : a business guide to managing policies, security, and legal issues for safe IM communication / Nancy Flynn.
p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 0-8144-7253-2
1. Instant messaging. 2. Electronic mail messages. 3. Business communication. I. Title.

HE7551.F59 2004
651.8 469—dc22
2004 003413

2004 Nancy Flynn All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Printing number

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

To my husband, Paul Schodorf, and our daughter, Bridget Flynn Schodorf


Sincere thanks to those who generously contributed encouragement and support, expertise and information, time and contacts to help make this book possible.

This book would not be possible without the generous gifts of time and encouragement from my husband, Paul Schodorf, and our daughter, Bridget Flynn Schodorf. As always, thank you for your patience and support!

A big thank you to my research assistant, Desiree Blankenship, for her on-time and on-target delivery of valuable information and leads.

Sincere thanks to the following industry experts: Alan Brill and Jason Paroff, Kroll Ontrack,; Jonathan Christensen, FaceTime Communications,; Gini Courter, TRIAD Consulting,; Joseph D. Grandinetti, Jr., Technology Counselor, www.technologycounselor .com; Mike Gundling, iLumin,; Greg Hampton and Ken Sokol, Clearswift,; and Kian Saneii, Websense,

Thank you to American Management Association (AMA) for their ongoing support of my books and The ePolicy Institute through joint programs including AMA/ePolicy Institute surveys and seminars.

I am grateful to AMACOM books for permission to excerpt material from my two previous AMACOMtitles, E-Mail Rules and The ePolicy Handbook. I am particularly grateful to Executive Editor Jacquie Flynn for her belief in this book and help in making it happen.

Finally, a special thank you to the global clients, partners, and friends of The ePolicy Institute,, for their ongoing support of our services and programs, including worldwide employee training programs, workplace e-mail and IM surveys, and ePolicy consulting services.

About the Author

Nancy Flynn is executive director of The ePolicy Institute, an organization dedicated to reducing e-risks and enhancing ecommunications. An in-demand speaker and corporate trainer, she is the author of six books published in four languages. Her books include E-Mail Rules (AMACOM, 2003), The ePolicy Handbook ( AMACOM, 2001), and Writing Effective E-Mail. Flynn is a popular media source who has been featured in US News & World Report, Fortune, TheWall Street Journal, and the New York Times, and on CNBC and National Public Radio, among other media outlets. ePolicy Institute services include IM and e-mail training for employees and executives; expert witness services and litigation consulting; and IM and e-mail policy development and implementation, including retention and deletion strategies.

To schedule employee training, book a consultation, or conduct a media interview, contact:

The ePolicy Institute #
Nancy Flynn, Executive Director
2300 Walhaven Ct., Suite 200A
Columbus, OH 43220