Employee monitoring software: top four on the market

Keep an eye on your staff's computer usage

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

Web: http://www.spector360.com

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.