A degree of autonomy is always required in order for employees to do their jobs, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep track of employee activities when they are using company computers. Such information can be especially important for organisations that deal with sensitive data, or can simply provide insights into how an organisation’s processes can be improved.
Employee management software allows organisations to monitor how employees are using their computers in order to provide this information. Data that can be tracked varies depending on the employee management software package that is being used, but data that can typically be tracked includes what applications have been used, system setting adjustments, websites visited, emails sent, chat logs and device location.
In addition to these fairly common tracking features, a variety of other functions are often available. It can be possible to set what things should be tracked and receive notifications should any issues occur, block access to certain websites such as social media sites, and restrict activities like file-sharing or connecting external storage devices. Software packages typically provide users with a management dashboard and a means of compiling reports.
The best employee monitoring software package for an organisation depends on the requirements and activities of the organisation itself. It’s important to have a good idea of what functionality is required before looking at different packages. This article looks at some of the most popular employee monitoring software packages available, and provides an overview and brief description of each one.
SpectorSoft Spector 360
SpectorSoft was founded in 1998 and has offices in Florida, Utah, and Surrey, UK. The company says it has over 36,000 corporate customers and over 900,000 home users. It provides monitoring software for both home and business and has won a variety of awards for its products and services. Amongst its offerings are event log monitoring software and smartphone monitoring and tracking software.
With its product Spector 360, SpectorSoft aims to “deter, detect and detail harmful employee activity across Windows and Mac devices.” According to SpectorSoft, the software uses a combination of keyword detection and snapshot playback to monitor and capture activity on employee computers. Activities that can be tracked include emails sent and received, what is being typed, chat and instant messaging, volume of activity, websites visited, online searches, file transfers, applications used and network activity.
Spector 360 records employee computer activity and archives it securely. Users are able to view the data collected via a dashboard and analyse the trends and patterns that emerge over time using the selection of graphs and charts that are built in. The software can provide high quality management reports on how employees are using their computers, and has over 50 different reports built in.
The User Explorer tool allows individual employees to be “investigated” should inappropriate or unethical behaviour be flagged up. The Web Filtering tool, meanwhile, allows users to block certain websites based on over 30 different pre-defined categories or using customised lists.
SpectorSoft says the software helps to minimise data leakage, detect employee fraud and improve efficiency. It also allows organisations to “watch the watchers” and proactively provide HR departments with work habits and productivity levels, interactions between employees and activities governed by employment law and company policy.
iMonitorSoft claims that its iMonitor Employee Activity Monitor (EAM) is “the most powerful and complete employee monitoring solution.” The company says that the software is used by thousands of organisations worldwide, including Siemens. The software is aimed at helping organisations improve employee productivity and protect corporate confidential information.
iMonitor EAM allows organisation to monitor up to 1000 computers from one central server and group computers by, for example, department or location. The platform can monitor a host of activities, including keystrokes, clipboard activities, screenshots taken, document activities (such as copying, moving, pasting, deleting, renaming and creating), printing, emails, online storage usage, websites visited, online searches, downloads, application usage and time, removable storage usage, network traffic and system events.
Amongst iMontor’s additional features are the ability to run up to ten different remote desktops at the same time to monitor employees’ work in real-time, and the ability to set up real-time alerts for specific activities. For example, notifications can be sent to a user when an employee types specific keywords or if, for example, they connect a removable storage device to their computer. Removable storage can be blocked from working and access to websites can be filtered. It is also possible to take control of a computer remotely and open a computer’s webcam to view its surroundings.
The platform can also generate statistics and analysis reports that including ready-made graphs and charts. The report module provides a means of viewing pattern and trend insights that can be used to improve productivity and efficiency within an organisation.
EfficientLab Work Examiner
Work Examiner was launched in 2006 by EfficientLab LLC. EfficientLab says the software is now used by over 1500 companies. Amongst the benefits it promises are accurate tracking of when employees arrive at and leave their desk, the ability to schedule reports on users or departments (received via email), and the option to set flexible policies for controlling employee work time and ‘free’ time.
Work Examiner is broken down into three main purposes: web usage control, surveillance and work time tracking. The platform provides data on how an organisation’s web traffic is distributed between users, computers, user groups, departments, sites and website categories. It can be viewed by days, dates and hours. Detailed web access reports are provided and, as with other platforms, it’s possible to filter what websites employees can access. Users can receive notifications when specified websites are accessed and employees can be issued a customisable message when they access specified sites.
The surveillance functionalities in Work Examiner allow users to view screenshots of what a user is viewing in real-time, and there’s the option to capture screenshots at regular intervals and then play them back like a movie. All emails can be captured and saved and it’s possible to filter emails by keyword. Activity on instant messaging applications can also be recorded.
Work time tracking allows users to view what employees are spending their time doing, such as which applications they are using the most, what websites they are visiting and how much time they spend on non-work activities. Employee attendance can be tracked, including when they arrive at their computer and leave, specific applications can be blocked for specified employees, and it’s possible to view which employees are working at the current time.
Awareness Technologies Sonar
Awareness Technologies was founded in 2002 with the aim of providing security technologies to national intelligence agencies. It counts Cabinet-level agencies in the US, major global corporations, schools, law enforcement agencies and hospitals amongst its clients. The company says that its Sonar employee monitoring tool “delivers the most comprehensive security in the industry, without adversely impacting existing network infrastructure.”
Sonar monitors all emails, instant messaging, all keystrokes typed, documents created, accessed, changed or edited, applications used, websites visited and database queries amongst other data. The software can be deployed silently over a network without any prompts to employees.
In addition to its tracking functionalities, Sonar is able to block applications and websites, monitor keywords and take screenshots triggered by specific actions, such as a keyword that has been typed or a website that has been accessed. Awareness Technologies says that the software can scale to thousands of business units and that it works in both terminal server and Citrix environments.
Image and article source: techradar.com
Author: Stu Roberts