How Does Computer Monitoring Software Work?
If you want to see your organization’s profits soar, computer monitoring technology could be the solution. But before you employ this technology, it’s best to understand how it works.
Computer monitoring software takes snapshots of a targeted user’s activity, such as the websites they visit, the files they open, and the apps they use. In some cases, the technology counts keystrokes and active sessions. The software then saves the information for future reference.
Whether you’re a small business owner looking for an effective way to monitor employee activity online, or a parent who wants to ensure your children only visit safe websites, you’re in the right place! Read on for a rundown of how to use this software and what to consider when shopping for computer monitoring tech.
How Computer Monitoring Software Captures Information
Organizations are increasingly relying on computer monitoring software to keep their operations running efficiently. To put things into perspective, research by the European Commission shows that online searches for strategies businesses can use to monitor employees working from home increased by about 1705% in April 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, a 2013 MIT study on the impact of this technology established that employee monitoring software improves profits by up to 7%.
This new tech is a game changer, collecting data across systems and networks and giving companies the insights they need to succeed.
Here’s a roundup of how this technology captures crucial information:
Browser History Tracking
Keeping track of a PC’s browsing history can provide employers and parents with valuable insights into what an employee or child is doing online.
Specifically, this step involves collecting information on what a given user views online, such as:
- The queries they typed in a browser
- The links they clicked
- The search engines they opened
With that information, you can quickly identify when an employee’s productivity drops without apparent reason and take remedial steps, including counseling or warning them. And if you’re a parent, you can identify harmful sites your child visits and blacklist them, keeping the young ones safe online.
Email Content Logging
Email content logging is a handy tool that lets you know how your business or family email accounts are used. In this case, the software takes snapshots of incoming and outgoing emails. As a result, you can easily track how much time employees spend on productive emails or who your kids communicate with online.
Below are a few crucial details email content logging collects:
- The sender’s name and address
- The recipient’s name and address
- The email subject line and body content
- Any attachments
You can then use these details to crack down on any malicious emails from outside sources or identify potentially harmful emails that employees might be sending. That way, you protect sensitive business secrets while encouraging increased productivity.
A case in point: Email content logging can come in handy if your business deals with sensitive information, such as client names and credit card details. It allows you to monitor staff that can access this type of data, deterring them from sending it beyond your network’s confines.
Instant Message Monitoring
We all know the importance of staying in touch with colleagues and family. In such cases, instant messages (IM) help us relay crucial information immediately, helping in emergencies and urgent assignments.
However, IM conversations can be risky for your business if left unchecked, and lost productivity or confidential information could easily slip through. However, this is where computer monitoring software comes in handy.
The technology can capture real-time information as employees (or kids) interact using the IM platforms you provide them, keeping you updated on the content they share or receive on those platforms. Employee monitoring tech (or parental control software) comes in handy in this context by recording the following data:
- Who your employee (or child) chats with.
- The conversation text.
- When it happened.
- Any files or videos shared – all while collecting the relevant IP addresses.
These details may vary with the software you use, but the bottom line is that they help you keep business data secure (and your kids out of trouble).
Caveat: Some employees may feel uncomfortable if they know you’re monitoring their messages, so set a clear policy on what’s allowed and what isn’t well in advance. In addition, consider confining them to using company-provided IM platforms and accounts, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, to ensure all conversations are recorded.
It also ensures you don’t intrude on their privacy or break the law tracking their private accounts or devices.
Recording Social Media Activity
Besides tracking emails and IMs, employee monitoring software can record a user’s social media activity. Your company can use this information to identify how the staff interacts with current, and potential customers on sites such as:
The technology collects crucial information on activities such as how employees respond to queries and their attitudes and behaviors toward customers. That way, it helps you identify instances where employees post inappropriate content or behave inappropriately, harming your reputation.
Remember, three main actors pose a significant threat to your business’s reputation on social media:
- Your employees
- Your customers
- The organization itself (you can read more about that in this study)
By taking real-time screenshots of social media activity, employee monitoring software helps you ensure interactions are handled professionally and in line with your company’s values.
And in the family context, you can use parental control software to check your child’s social media activity and keep them safe from harm, such as cyberbullying.
Did you know? According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, about 37% of teens in the US have experienced a form of cyberbullying at some point. Therefore, it’s best to take the necessary steps to protect your kids, and using computer monitoring tech is one of them.
Documenting Employee Activity
Employee activity documentation is a crucial piece of the puzzle regarding managing your staff. With the right information at your fingertips, you can gauge each employee’s activity and productivity when assigned different tasks, helping you match them with their best fit.
Employee monitoring software works in this regard by capturing the following information:
- The duration an employee spends on an activity
- The websites your staff visit during working hours
- The documents they access or share
In some cases, this software comes with advanced features, such as geofencing, which notifies you when an employee’s device has been taken outside its designated area or has passed a certain speed limit (crucial if you own a trucking company).
Tracking Application Usage Times
Employee monitoring software tells you much more than just what each person is working on – it can reveal who’s most productive and how business resources, such as apps, are used.
Here’s how it works:
- The software records how long each person uses specific applications and programs.
- It then generates customized reports showing the most frequently used apps – so you can allocate funds more strategically.
- It also tracks the time it takes staff to complete assignments on different programs, helping you gauge their productivity. For instance, it can show you the duration a specific user took to respond to specific customer queries on social media, so you can assign employees the specific topics they can answer in the shortest time beforehand.
This helps you to understand which apps or programs drive collaboration or productivity within the organization – like chat platforms or document storage solutions – and which slow down operations due to resource drains (like gaming). Imagine taking this data-driven knowledge into every meeting from now on.
But that’s not all! By tracking app usage times, computer monitoring software handles your team’s progress and successes. You might spot an efficient employee who flies through tasks quickly or identify where you can save time and costs by encouraging multitasking.
File Server Access Logging
Data security is critical, and the best way to protect your business from potential cybersecurity risks is through file server access logging.
In this case, the employee monitoring solution tracks all activities on your file servers, such as:
- Who accessed which files.
- When they did it.
- And what they did to the files.
Plus, it records changes over time. For instance, this tech can help you determine if someone has been modifying or stealing sensitive information. That way, you can enforce policies that deter such behavior and ensure your business complies with data privacy laws.
Software Installation Logging and Verification
Another important way computer monitoring software works is by logging and verifying software installations. Suppose your business forbids using certain applications (or you’re worried that your kids may download and install software containing harmful content). In that case, an automated solution that tracks these activities is essential.
Computer monitoring software can help by recording and logging any software your employees attempt to install, enabling you to tell if they accidentally or intentionally installed malware or spyware on your systems. As a result, you can quickly spot suspicious activities and take corrective action before it’s too late.
A word of caution on using employee monitoring software: Despite the immense benefits of using employee monitoring software, it’s best to ensure you comply with all relevant data privacy laws in your country.
In that regard, here are a few guidelines to consider:
- Don’t install this tech on your employee’s personal devices without their consent. Instead, do it on company equipment where you have greater control and rights.
- Only monitor employees if you have a legitimate interest, such as improving productivity or enforcing company policies.
- Keep the data you collect private and secure.
Here’s a quick video from the BBC describing how businesses use employee monitoring software:
What To Look for in Computer Monitoring Software
Choosing the right computer monitoring software can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be a mystery. To help you make the best decision, I’ve created this list of essential features – so take note and set yourself up for success.
Ensure the Software Is Easy to Install and Use
The last thing you want when using employee monitoring or parental control software is wasting countless hours figuring it out. You need a solution you can set up and use in a breeze.
To achieve that, I recommend following these guidelines:
- Read customer reviews. If most previous users experienced difficulty installing or using the software, it might not be the best fit for your needs.
- Opt for feature-rich solutions with customizable dashboards. These features make monitoring a breeze.
- Check if the software can export or print reports. That will help you track and analyze data better.
Ensure the Software Is Secure and Reliable
Computer monitoring tech can be valuable in staying up to date with your business operations. Still, you don’t want to risk getting a solution that leaves you vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Unreliable software can be costly in the long term as it provides inaccurate, delayed reports. As a result, you may be unable to make informed decisions or enjoy your investment.
To avoid such headaches, follow these tips:
- Ensure the provider offers regular software updates. That will ensure your product is protected from potential vulnerabilities.
- Ask for warranties or guarantees. It shows the seller takes responsibility for any defects in the software.
- Check which backup features are included. That way, a worst-case scenario won’t cause major issues.
- Don’t forget encryption and two-factor authentication. Lock down those confidential details tightly!
Ensure the Software Is Flexible and Customizable
There’s no need to settle for cookie-cutter software; look for a solution tailored to your needs. The best computer monitoring software will be fully customizable, allowing you to control access rights and privacy settings easily.
Ensure the software you choose allows you to:
- Create and manage user accounts with different access levels.
- Customize the dashboard to show only the necessary details.
- Set up custom alerts when specific activities are recorded.
Recommended computer monitoring software: If you need a reliable and comprehensive employee monitoring solution, one of the best options today is Wolfeye Remote Screen.
The software provides real-time visibility into your employees’ or child’s activities on your PCs in a breeze. It also includes handy features, such as:
- Remote access
- Unlimited user accounts
- Saving and archiving records
- 60-day money-back guarantee
Plus, the product is easy to install and use, so you can get up and running in no time.
Employee monitoring can be a tricky balance to strike, but it’s worth the effort for creating a productive and secure business. With the right software, you’ll have your needs catered for – from gaining data access to making smart decisions – all while respecting employee privacy rights.
- Wolfeye: Wolfeye Remote Screen
- YouTube: BBC Click: Is Your Boss Monitoring Your Work? – BBC Click
- Cyberbullying Research Center: Cyberbullying Data 2019
- SpringerLink: Business Reputation and Social Media: A Primer on Threats and Responses
- European Commission: Electronic Monitoring and Surveillance in the Workplace
- Washington University in St. Louis: Cleaning House: The Impact of Information Technology Monitoring on Employee Theft and Productivity