Instant messaging is convenient and more cost effective than traditional forms of communication; however, instant messaging can pose a security risk, allowing viruses to damage the computer and the network. Additionally, instant messaging has the potential to compromise the security of sensitive information.

Instant messaging reduces the cost of communicating with someone using long distance or international calling. These calls can consume large chunks of a business's profits, especially if the business is involved in the foreign market. Instant messaging is basically free except for the cost of the Internet connection.

Instant messaging also reduces time spent off-task. Once a message is sent or received, other work may be in progress while the communication is being transmitted. Worker productivity is increased, costing the business less money.

Instant messaging services were not originally designed for business use, but rather for entertainment. Many of the security features necessary to protect the computer from viruses are not included in instant messaging programs. Using instant messaging increases the system's vulnerability to this problem.

It is difficult to control the viewing of an instant message. Once the message is sent, anyone can read it. Additionally, it may be hard to verify that the message originated from the identified source. This can invalidate the integrity of the information received and compromise information security.