In a world where communication and cost are equally key, finding an inexpensive yet effective means of communications between employees, whether they be across the hall or across the nation, is a requirement for many organizations.
Since most people have some sort of portable computer available to them, and an enterprise often must find a way for those portable computers to access the Internet from remote locations, the first technology that comes to mind that offers such communication capabilities is a chat room type of software package.
Ranging in price from $875 to $1,890, Chat Blazer Enterprise offers all of the functionality of its younger brother, Chat Blazer Gold, with some enhanced features and improved security.
Like Chat Blazer Gold, Enterprise offers highly customizable chatting services for community Web sites as well as corporate intranets. Because Chat Blazer is Java based, it can be activated from any Web browser or via the use of Sun Microsystems’ Java Virtual Machine.
Chat Blazer Enterprise, however, is full of pros and cons, starting with the fact that
having employees make a long distance call to an ISP defeats the purpose of having a chat server in the first place.
First and foremost among Chat Blazer Enterprise’s positive attributes is the capability to encrypt data between two chat clients. This is perfect for organizations that wish to share vital and sensitive information between two or more clients, especially if one of those clients is using a network with unknown security, such as that of a regular Internet service provider or hotel-room-based WebTV. The encryption in Chat Blazer Enterprise works just like any other encryption, information transferred between two or more clients cannot be read without knowledge of a shared key or password by other users listening in.
Chat Blazer Enterprise can also communicate from behind a firewall. This feature is useful because it enables the network administrator to set up a secure firewall between the LAN and Internet in the corporate office while still allowing clients to chat. It also allows clients to chat from any location when they are in the field, be it from behind an “evil” hotel room firewall or on an unknown network with a firewall blocking access to most services (such as a highly restrictive ISP).
Chat Blazer Enterprise’s “Smart Protocol Toggle technology” automatically configures the client software for proper communication between the server and other clients. Thus, there is no need for the user to worry if he or she is even behind a firewall.
Chat Blazer Enterprise, with its added security features, seems to be directed more toward the corporate environment, whereas the Chat Blazer Gold seems more appropriate for community Web sites that wish to offer a place for users to chat in real time. An enterprise looking for secure online communication capabilities should certainly consider this product for its short list to evaluate.
Pros: 7 Secure; 7 Cross-platform compatible due to Java Implementation; 7 Adapts well to different networks
Cons: 7 May be difficult to find local ISPs for roaming clients; 7 Long distance calls defeat the purpose of inexpensive communication
New in v4.5:
Importable Avatar character icons;
chat user profiles;
can save chat transcripts for chat sessions;
improved server architecture;
more-advanced text component with a lower memory footprint;
enhanced load-handling architecture;
allows a minimum of 1,000 concurrent connections;
Upgrade Meter: 4
Version Reviewed: 3.1
Last Updated: 3/19/02
Date of Original Review: 11/1/01