• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Akonix L7 Enterprise

Jul 06, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* The Reviewmeister takes a look at enterprise IM products

The Reviewmeister is a big fan of instant messaging, so we decided to test out a bunch of enterprise IM products.

All the products we tested do the basics very well, and will meet many enterprise needs. The products log traffic, apply required policies and forward messages for delivery, if appropriate. They all were very adept at the most basic function of logging traffic into a database for later review. This core function is treated so straightforwardly by all four products that it is almost mundane.

Our favorite product was Akonix’s L7 Enterprise which featured excellent policy management and the ability to automatically run and deliver customized reports.

Each system we tested offers administrators a complete set of policies and configurations, immediately available upon installation. While this is a great start, we found that L7 Enterprise goes a step further by offering customization of specific users groups. With L7 Enterprise an administrator can create detailed rules and policies.

This difference is most noticeable in managing file transfers. Akonix lets administrators govern file transfers by type, size or time of day. For example, with the other three products we tested you would be hard-pressed to create a single policy rule to allow only the marketing group to send PDFs and JPEGs between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Akonix also included the ability to apply these rules based on IP address, IM handle and other standard user identity management systems. This is particularly useful if you have roaming users with laptops. Their credentials and screen names won’t change, but there might be times when you want to add restrictions (such as when they are connected through a VPN).

All the systems we tested leveraged existing enterprise directory and user management systems, firewalls and other network and communications administration tools to varying degrees. Akonix had directory integration and synchronization functions that could tie into several directory systems, including Windows Active Directory and Sun ONE Directory. Akonix also synchronizes with Novell’s eDirectory.

To comply with federal or industry rules (or just good housekeeping), it may be necessary to look for content that has been logged by these products. All four products have reviewer functions built in, but the feature sets vary quite a bit.

Akonix uses a Windows program that can create a summary or detailed reports, and charts and graphs. A wizard assists in creating a report to find required data. Customized reports can be saved for later use. Once a report is saved, it can be scheduled to run as needed.

As flexible as the rest of L7 Enterprise is, it was a little difficult to search for content on an ad hoc basis, unless it was included as a blocked keyword. Another shortcoming with Akonix is that there are basically two levels, either read-only or full access. However, the reporting tool is very easy to use and generates very attractive reports.

For the full report, go to