Are your employees using company computers for work? It is common for workers to send personal emails, visit social media websites, and watch YouTube videos on paid company time. According to Top Ten Reviews’ 2014 Employee Monitoring Software Comparisons & Reviews, 1/3 of workers waste two hours a week online. Companies have the legal right to set up employee computer tracking since the machines are their property. Fortunately, employee computer tracking is easier to do, since any activity will leave an electronic paper trail on the computer. If the user deletes files or their browser history, the evidence will still appear in another area of the computer the average person does not know about.
What are examples of personal use of company computers?
- Using the printer to produce personal materials, such as invitations and fliers.
- Spending company hours playing solitaire.
- Completing schoolwork on the clock.
- Doing side projects with clients that employees should bring into the company.
- Sending emails with private company information to a competitor.
- Using IM to make insulting remarks about other employees.
What are the benefits of employee computer tracking?
The above examples, and many other personal computer activities, puts the livelihood of a company at risk. Employee computer tracking can help:
- Increase efficiency: Your employees will not waste time on impractical websites.
- Lower legal risk: Users exposing employees to offensive content relating to race, sexual orientation, religion, and more can lead to harassment and discrimination lawsuits.
- Protect confidential information: Careful monitoring of computers can help your company spot people who are leaking business strategies, trade secrets, and private customer information.
- Bill clients fairly: Blocking time-wasting websites will encourage employees to stay focused on client work. Your employee should not bill your client whenever they are watching YouTube.
- Stay current with system updates: Many users postpone launching updates to their computers to prevent unwanted interruptions to their workday. Employee computer tracking will allow IT support to send updates remotely.
- Follow industry regulations: Employee computer tracking will help your company prove it is staying in compliance by keeping detailed activity logs. These reports can save the company from fines, penalties, and a public reprimand.
- Prevent the theft of company computers: Employee computer tracking systems can also find the location of your devices, saving hundreds or even thousands in replacement costs.
What can employee computer tracking software monitor?
- Websites visited
- Location of laptops
- Amount of bandwidth used
- Attempted system adjustments
- Email attachments sent
- Chat conversations
- File uploads
How can your company set up employee computer tracking?
- Track computer activities remotely: Remote monitoring software is available for following employee computer activity by sending a signal every time it detects activity. Other software, such as InterGuard Sonar, can record emails, IM, web, keystrokes, and websites.
- Block certain programs from your network: Software, such as Dell SonicWALL and SpectorSoft, will help your IT provider block time-wasting websites. Focus on limiting access to social networking, shopping, entertainment, dating, adult, and job search websites.
- Install and maintain endpoint protection software: This type of software typically is a combination of virus and malware protection, firewall program, and web browser security. Software, such as Symantec Endpoint Protection and Trend Micro Worry-Free Security Services, will allow IT support to adjust acceptable use settings and send system security updates.
- Apply additional monitoring for suspicious employees: If you suspect an employee is breaking company policies or any laws, you can have their activity reports emailed to you more often and block additional time-wasting websites.
- Check user reports regularly: Your IT support should check activity reports often so they can identify any problematic programs and then act accordingly. For example, if an employee is claiming to watch YouTube for educational tutorials, but is viewing funny cat videos instead, you can take away his or her privilege to the site.
- Create a written policy: Let your employees know that IT support is monitoring everything they do on company computers. Then mention how your company is monitoring computer use, whether it is keeping track of website visits, blocking certain websites, or recording keystroke activity. Afterward, set up rules for acceptable use for email, internet browsing, social networks, software downloads, and instant messaging. Warn them that failure to follow company policies could result in job loss or even criminal prosecution.
- Keep personal activities on their own devices: Employees should keep non-work-related emails, phone calls, and instant messaging on their smartphones over a cellular network. For example, if your assistant sends an email to her mother from her Gmail account on a company computer discussing an illness, the network can still pick up the message.
SwiftTech Solutions can help your company with employee computer tracking. Protect your business now by contacting SwiftTech Solutions to set up a remote monitoring plan. You can call 877-794-3811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.
Hardy, M. Monitoring employees online: How much is too much? (2012, August 20). Retrieved from: http://fcw.com/articles/2012/08/20/monitoring-employees.aspx
Texas Workforce Commission. Monitoring employees’ use of company computers and the internet. Retrieved from: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/monitoring_computers_internet.html
Petrecca, L. More employers use tech to track workers. (2010, March 17). Retrieved from: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2010-03-17-workplaceprivacy15_CV_N.htm
Richmond, R. 3 Tips for Legally and Ethically Monitoring Employees Online. (2012, May 31). Retrieved from: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223686#
Bonsor, K. Is your workplace tracking your computer activities? Retrieved from: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/workplace-surveillance.htm
Stevens, P. Employee Monitoring Software Review. Retrieved from: http://employee-monitoring-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
Strohmeyer, R. How to Monitor Your Employees’ PCs Without Going Too Far. (2011, March 22). Retrieved from: http://www.pcworld.com/article/222169/how_to_monitor_your_employees_without_going_too_far.html