Employee Monitoring Software

 

Know What Your Employees Are Doing On Workplace Computers!

Why bother you say?  Sure, computers are a tool provided to employees that assist maximizing performance, but they’re also a doorway to an endless list of distractions.  That funny Saturday Night Live sketch on Youtube that everyone’s talking about, the search for a better birthday gift or new job, the Facebook updates and Tweets, where do the non-business related activities end?

The American Management Association conducted a “2007 Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey” stating that “over half of all employers combined fire workers for E-Mail & Internet Abuse”.  Here are some of the surveys noteworthy findings:

 

E-Mail Related Terminations

28% of employers fired workers for the following reasons:

–          Violation of company policy (64%)

–          Inappropriate or offensive language (62%)

–          Excessive personal use (26%)

–          Breach of confidentiality rules (22%)

–          Other (12%)

Internet Related Terminations

30% of employers fired workers for the following reasons:

–          Viewing, downloading, or uploading inappropriate/offensive content (84%)

–          Violation of company policy (48%)

–          Excessive personal use (34%)

–          Other (9%)

 

Why Do Companies Care?

 

Fraudulent and inappropriate activity, productivity loss, these are some of the reasons companies are taking computer misuse seriously.  There is also a growing concern about confidential, company/propriety data.  An article in ABI Research states that “Cyber-attacks directed against enterprises have grown both in numbers and sophistication over the past decade to a point where breach and data theft have become inevitable. In 2013, more than 800 million records were exposed as a result of data breach incidents… A data breach incident can have disastrous consequences on all businesses resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue and potential fines, not to mention the lingering impact on a company’s brand image and reputation… ABI Research calculates that the market for Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions will hit $1.7 billion by the end of 2014.”

Either unintentionally or maliciously, employees can reveal proprietary information, jeopardizing business strategy, customer confidentiality, data integrity, and more.

 

 

The Small Business Solution

 

For a small business, in addition to ant-virus/malware software, security hardware & software, it is important to deploy a monitoring system of PC/employee activity that consists of server and client installed software.   Unless you have a dedicated IT staff, a qualified 3rd party IT managed services provider specializing in such services is your best bet giving you the flexibility to install, program and monitor compliance with acceptable-use policies from a single management interface.  Good activity monitors are also capable of deploying system security updates automatically, blocking malware, and protecting sensitive files to prevent data from leaking out of your company.  They can also monitor laptops, Ipad’s, phones and other devices dispatched from your office making sure no unauthorized activity occurs, and that alerts are activated if any inappropriate activity is attempted.

 

Cost

 

The cost for a hosted endpoint-monitoring service is generally very low.  Packages such as Computer IT Solutions’ Activity Monitor monitors e-mail and IM sessions, tracks and filters Web usage, logs user keystrokes and program usage, and captures screenshots on command for a very small annual fee.

 

Best Practices

 

Ant-virus, malware, adware protection strategies, Firewalls and software for security protection are necessary components for the safety and operational requirement of every small business network.  So too is a monitoring policy ensuring productivity and accountability for employees performing business related tasks during business hours at your office, and while away.

 

Be upfront:  Inform your staff that their activities are monitored for the protection and security of company data as well as to ensure the continued good working performance of office computers and the network.  This can serve as a powerful deterrent against unwanted activity.

 

Legal considerations:   The law favors employers in regard to privacy disputes related to the use of business property.  Employees should assume anything sent or received is subject to discovery in the case of termination, promotion or lawsuits.  It should be recommended that employees only do on office computers what their employer would approve of (imagine the boss is watching over your shoulder!)

 

Filter access:  Most good monitoring tools provide e-mail and Web content filters that block inappropriate sites and prevent users from sending or receiving data jeopardizing your business.  By limiting the ways trouble can occur, you are preventing problems up front.

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