Monitoring software review
Most employee monitoring software can be deployed as an on-premises solution, which means the software is installed and operated on your company's own servers. This type of implementation carries a higher upfront cost and requires an IT team that can maintain your servers, but it grants you greater control over your own data. While federal law generally gives employers a lot of leeway in monitoring employee actions on company time, state laws vary. Understanding your state's laws and whether any legislation or legal proceedings are likely to occur in is key to making sure your employee monitoring strategy doesn't end up costing you more than it's worth.
The general recommendation is that a well-crafted BYOD policy should include an agreement that explicitly describes how and why data will be captured, and employees should be required to consent to this monitoring prior to being permitted to use their own device at work. However, as BYOD grows in popularity, the possibility that state legislation could crop up around the issue also grows. It's important for employers to keep an eye on any legal developments around BYOD that include regulations on employee monitoring. Cybersecurity has gone mainstream, but businesses typically focus on external threats.
Managing those threats is important, but what about your internal security? Could employees be leaking vital business information, accessing inappropriate content, or simply wasting time goofing off on the clock? Internal vulnerabilities exist to your network as well, and that's where employee monitoring software comes in. To ensure employees are informed of what is acceptable and what is not, devise an acceptable use policy. These policies mitigate threats from misuse of devices or malicious activity, and they're enforced through the use of content filtering and internet management software — tools which are baked into the most comprehensive employee monitoring software on the market.
To give your acceptable use policy teeth, you need an effective employee monitoring solution. The best small business employee monitoring software helps you manage and enforce your acceptable use policy without investing too much time in it.
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You'll likely want a business internet filter that tracks user profiles with time limits, as well as real-time threat detection to block sites whose content has not yet been classified. You may want to consider supporting employee devices as well to monitor their mobile activity. Always consider the different types of monitoring features an employee monitoring application offers.
For example, how much do you want to control your employees' internet time? Will you allow them to surf the internet during breaks and lunches, or not at all? Are there some websites that your employees need to access in order to do their jobs and help your business grow? Some software applications allow you to select times when the internet or sites are blocked and times they're not blocked.
Most applications also allow you to create user groups, each with their own rules and permissions. Blocking disruptive sites and creating customized permissions for specific groups is one way that business internet software can help increase your productivity. Also consider the specific areas of computer activity you want to track. The most comprehensive programs keep detailed logs of the websites your employees' visit and the applications they use, along with emails, online chats, keystrokes, created and downloaded files, print jobs, inserted devices, and even their physical locations when they're on company devices.
You may not want to keep such detailed tabs on your employees, but make sure that the software covers everything you need to monitor. For example, software that is strictly focused on filtering web content, such as ContentProtect, usually won't have all these features. If you do opt for a full suite of features, they are usually customizable, so you can choose what to record and in how much detail, as well as when exceptions are in order. Pay attention to how software's reports and notifications work. It should provide regular reports at the intervals you choose with easy-to-read statistics and visual breakdowns of employee habits.
For more detailed information, though, you'll need extensive notification options, and the best software gives you control over when and how you are notified. For instance, you may choose to be alerted if an employee downloads a document online or tries to access a forbidden website. Since notifications alert you to specific occurrences and reports give you a staff-wide overview, you'll get the most out of your software when you use both options together.
If you travel a lot and manage your network and employees remotely, then you want remote access to your internet filter data. In addition, make sure your office web monitoring software includes automatic archiving. You never know when you may need to review an employee's internet history. Consider choosing internet filter software that will record your employees' online searches and take screenshots of their monitors. These can come in handy if you ever find yourself in litigation with a disgruntled employee and need to back up your claims.
Good internet filter software should be intuitive to use and not leave you in the dark if you have questions. The best programs have visually appealing interfaces that clearly lay out all your options without feeling cluttered or overwhelming. Administrative users should feel confident using the software, with a good grasp on all your monitoring options, after just a few minutes of clicking around.
In case you do have issues, though, you'll want to go with a company that is easy to reach.
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It's ideal to have help options via phone, email, live chat or online ticketing, though even some of the best companies only offer one or two of these support avenues. Live chat is typically the fastest way to connect with a representative. Some companies charge you extra for ongoing upgrades and support after the first year. You can forgo this option, but you'll run the risk of operating outdated and possibly insecure software without help from the manufacturer.
We also examined their websites to get a sense of what their solutions entailed.
From there, we selected a pool of finalists from which we would determine our best picks. To determine our best picks, we studied each program's list of features more closely, ensuring that it offered all the most important features, as well as more advanced features that would give administrators more insight or control over employee activity. We also downloaded free trials so we could test the software for ourselves and determine usability. We also compared pricing and put ourselves in the shoes of a small business on a budget.
Most employee monitoring software companies are transparent with their pricing and post rates on their websites. However, if you have a lot of employees, most companies encourage you to speak with a sales representative for custom pricing. Look for the following discounts as you compare costs:.
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While monitoring employees' emails seems like an infringement of privacy, the U. Supreme Court ruled in that it is legal for companies to monitor employees' actions while they are on the clock or using company equipment, including laptops, pagers, USB drives and mobile devices. However, there have never been any regulations on the type of programs companies can use to monitor employees. This means you can use programs that monitor keystrokes and capture passwords; however, there is some ethical controversy surrounding whether these features should be used.
While the federal government doesn't place restrictions on employee internet monitoring, some individual states have protections in place. An increasing number of states require employers to notify their workers if they monitor online activity, including emails and keystrokes. You can disclose this within the employee handbook or as part of the new worker orientation, or simply send out an email reminder to employees.
You can choose to run employee monitoring software in either stealth mode or transparent mode. Stealth mode, also known as silent mode, means that your employees cannot see that they are being monitored. Start free trial. Online computer monitoring Time tracking Productivity analysis Computer screen recording Violations monitoring Productivity metrics Remote pc access Keylogger Remote employee monitoring Classroom computer monitoring. Reviewed: 20 Nov Kirill P. Reviewed: 21 Sep Verified Reviewer , Human Resources. Pros: The software is insanely easy to use.
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