How to Monitor Employees’ Computer Activity
Employee Monitoring

How to Monitor Employees’ Computer Activity

Whether monitoring security risks or checking an employee’s use of work time, there are several reliable ways to track a team’s computer activity, including software. Choosing a tool that works for the organization requires some forethought and planning, as well as a thorough vetting process that considers company policy and culture without eroding workforce trust and the management team’s credibility. Activity tracking can bring a negative perception into the workplace, ironically affecting employee time instead of optimizing it for productivity and security.

What is Computer Activity Monitoring?

Computer activity monitoring tracks and records users’ actions and behaviors on computers and networks. It encompasses monitoring software usage, internet activity, file access, email communications, and other activities to ensure productivity, security, compliance, and troubleshooting.

How to Monitor Employees’ Computer Activity

There are multiple ways to monitor computer activity, but the most common one is to use software that records all keystrokes and mouse clicks. An alternative method is to use a hardware device that records all computer activity.

Let’s dive deeper into each.

Software-Based Monitoring

The most common method is software that records all keystrokes and mouse clicks made by users on company computers. This software can operate discreetly in the background, allowing employees to work without awareness of being monitored. It captures various activities, including website visits, application usage, and document access.

Hardware-Based Monitoring

An alternative approach is using hardware devices designed to record all computer activity. These devices are typically plugged into the back of the computer and capture everything displayed on the screen. While software-based monitoring focuses on digital interactions, hardware-based monitoring provides a comprehensive view of all on-screen activity, including images and videos.

Both methods offer unique advantages and considerations, depending on the organization’s monitoring needs, privacy policies, and compliance requirements.

The 9 Best Employee Monitoring Solutions to Consider

The world has moved to remote work in earnest, and companies need precise, reliable insights into employee productivity to compete and win. Here are the top employee monitoring tools you should consider to monitor employees computer activity:

  1. Teramind
  2. Veriato Cerebral
  3. ActivTrak
  4. Controlio
  5. Insightful
  6. Hubstaff
  7. BambooHR
  8. Clockify
  9. Kickidler

1. Teramind

Teramind’s monitoring platform provides comprehensive team tracking functionality that captures a wide range of user activities: screen recordings, live (and recorded) views of employee hardware, email tracking, user keystrokes, Zoom sessions, and more. This tracking range produces best-in-class insights for rapid team reviews and continuous productivity, keeping your business ahead of your competition.

Teramind Platform Key Monitoring Solution Features

  • Real-Time Employee Activity Monitoring: Teramind’s software platform tracks multiple objects in real-time, including web pages, applications, emails, console commands, file transfers, instant messaging, social media, keystrokes, clipboard content, searches, printing activities, and on-screen content through OCR.
  • Sensitive Data Classification: Instantly access hundreds of ready-to-use policy templates for classified and sensitive data types, such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Personal Health Information (PHI), Personal Financial Information (PFI), OGD, GSCP, Special codes, etc.
  • Built-in Productivity Optimization: Specify which applications and websites are productive and receive detailed reports on employees’ usage. Optimize business processes by monitoring schedules, projects, and employee engagement rates to improve productivity. 
  • Audit and Forensics: Teramind provides extensive auditing and investigative features, including video and audio recording of employee activities, session tracking, unchangeable logs, alerts, and optional OCR search capabilities.
  • Third-party Vendor Management: Monitor activities of third-party vendors and remote users accessing critical systems with Teramind, ensuring control over vendor management and third-party service level agreements (SLAs).
  • Enterprise Application Monitoring: Teramind provides seamless, real-time enterprise application monitoring for apps like SAP, Salesforce, Teams, and Slack. It also auto-forwards threat alerts and session logs to your internal or external SIEM team.
  • Compliance and Regulation Support: Teramind’s User Activity Monitoring (UAM) feature allows your teams to create activity-based rules to ensure continuous compliance with current and planned standards. Establish audit trails for overseas rulesets like GDPR, restrict unauthorized access across the org chart per ISO guidelines, and prevent unauthorized and insecure file transfers outside your digital surface area.
  • Clipboard Monitoring: Teramind’s Clipboard Monitoring and Interception feature prevents copy-and-paste actions that may put your organization’s most valuable IP and operational model elements into the hands of bad actors. Set user and application permissions across the infrastructure portfolio your employees use daily to prevent data loss.
  • Fingerprinting and Tagging: Teramind’s fingerprinting and tagging functionality allows you to tag and monitor any documents or files deemed sensitive, similar to the USG’s secret classification system. Any file established as trackable then provides automated alerts when moved or edited, ensuring security and version control on your company’s most important documents.
  • Powerful Policy and Rules Editor: Teramind allows administrators to swiftly apply and adjust rule sets across the application portfolio.


  • Intuitive UI and dashboard
  • Unique live session viewing and video recording
  • Keystroke tracking
  • Versatile deployment for cloud or on-premises environments
  • Privacy compliance and access control
  • Free seven-day trial
  • Comprehensive tracking tools
  • Advanced features such as sensitive content detection and redaction
  • Security features such as malicious activity blocking


  • In-depth monitoring features can be complicated
  • High learning curve for administrators
  • Must have a minimum of five users

Why is Teramind the Best Employee Monitoring Software?

  • Ease of Navigation and Simplicity of Use: “Teramind seems an excellent tool. Its functionality is effective and very fluid…I like it because it allows me to monitor remotely and record videos easily.”
  • Excellent Value for Price: “It saves resources and enables control and peace of mind with sensitive information. Receiving an indication of working time on different software enables me and the CEO to monitor employee productivity and examine the efficiency of the software with which they work.”
  • Exceptional Customer Support: “We were amazed by their entire live demo interface. Their site also features a live chat that connects me directly to a real person after normal business hours on the weekend! We purchased the on-premise version of Teramind, which is available as a VM.”
  • Comprehensive Functionality: “Teramind is a very comprehensive monitoring system with plenty of functionality and customization. With the extensive customization, alert options, and security features, I would recommend Teramind to employers looking to better control how their employees interact with company resources/technology.”
  • Monitor Teams to Productivity: “Teramind has been of great help to some of our sub-departments. Tracking and monitoring employee activity has never been easier. With our busy schedules and constant distractions, it’s important to keep track of progress and how things are going with everyone on the team. Teramind also provides extensive user behavior analytics, another great feature we periodically use.”
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2. Veriato Cerebral

The Veriato Cerebral platform offers a range of features focused on insider threats and employee productivity, including user activity monitoring (UAM) with video playback, user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), and daily risk scoring across the enterprise. Its core feature is its AI-powered alert system, which integrates analytics with UAM for a robust threat detection system.

Key Features

  • AI-Powered Analysis: Continuously learns user behavior patterns and metrics to detect abnormalities over time​​
  • Integrated Insider Threat Detection: User entity behavior analytics (UEBA) and user activity monitoring (UAM) provide a holistic approach to threat detection
  • Video Playback: Replays screen activity in video format to support investigation
  • Daily Risk Scoring: Daily employee risk scoring identifies and prioritizes potential insider threats 
  • Legal Evidence Collection: Organizes user activity logs evidence for submission in potential legal action
  • Cloud, On-Premise, and Hybrid Deployment Options: Flexible deployment fits a range of IT environments
  • Integration Capabilities: Integrates easily with other security tools through Zapier


  • ​Unmatched transparency into employee tracking activity, including detailed screenshots and granular recording
  • A wide range of monitored data points feeds into the risk score dashboard
  • Powerful insider-threat detection security alerts
  • Measures and analyzes Employee Engagement
  • A solid blend of monitoring and analytics in one interface
  • Straightforward first-time install and customization


  • Issues with accurately recording or failing to record data
  • Reliance on SQL Server Express limits storage capacity
  • It can get pricey for larger teams
  • Massive data files can take up space
  • Remote and covert installation is challenging
  • Updates can be time-consuming and too technical for some team members
  • The user interface may be dated to users expecting advanced designs

3. ActivTrak

Attractive pricing and an efficient user interface make ActivTrak a decent employee monitoring solution focusing on productivity. It offers an advanced manager coaching feature that produces weekly coaching summaries intended to level up employee productivity over time.

Key Features

  • Productivity Monitoring: Categorizes all applications as productive or unproductive based on customized user settings​​
  • Application Monitoring: Detailed software usage tracking when and where applications are accessed
  • Alerts and Reporting: Provides real-time notifications and activity logs, with reporting at multiple levels, including individual, team, and project
  • Workforce Insights: Offers detailed employee behavior analytics, including productive versus unproductive behavior, tool usage, and workload balances
  • Web Content Filtering: Blocks of specific sites and content within company policy to prevent employee access


  • Intuitive UI and easy agent installation setup make it easy for first-time users.​​
  • Operates invisibly to minimize work disruptions and support employee coaching​​ and improvement goals
  • Detailed metrics and insights at per-project levels help identify inefficiencies, potential risks​​, and leading apps and websites.
  • Customization to company standards for productive or unproductive, catering to different industry standards​​ and company policies
  • Robust customer support options cited for quality and timeliness


  • Limited customization options for screenshots and data capture for enterprises
  • No keystroke logging, which limits value for many enterprise users
  • Historical records are inconveniently complex to search for specific review periods
  • No mobile app hampers companies looking for mobile monitoring access
  • Top-tier pricing prohibits SMB adoption
  • No OCR for keyword search within screenshots

Read the full ActivTrak vs. Teramind comparison here.

4. Controlio

Controlio’s reasonably priced employee monitoring software focuses on dashboard metrics like application usage heat maps, attendance tracking, productivity report scores, and screen recordings. It also supports automation and coaching opportunities. The cloud-based software is helpful for supervisors monitoring employee applications and internet activity when they are not physically present in an office environment. 

Key Features

  • Live Screen Monitoring: captures user screens and real-time session info
  • Keystroke Video Recording: The video player records screen capture snapshots at the employee keystroke moment
  • Automatic Activity Tracking: automatically tracks employee activities based on organizational policy definitions
  • Productivity Score Calculation: auto-calculates a productivity score based on how employees application and internet activity
  • Notifications and App Blocking: provides alerts on app access, keystrokes, USBs, active and idle periods, as well as web app filtering
  • Flexible Reporting and Analytics: users can create reports using a wide range of categories, filters, charts, and drill-downs for attendance, file usage, and more


  • Web and cloud-based remote installation is ideal for managing and monitoring a remote workforce
  • No limit on data storage for mid- and top-tier plans
  • Video snapshots from multiple displays sync keylogging with recordings
  • Timely, highly-rated customer service
  • Easy UI with intuitive heatmaps and reporting on user app usage and activity logs
  • Productivity tracking analysis helps identify repetitive tasks that can be automated


  • The software can stop working after updates to Mac machines
  • Lacks universal search functionality capture and no AI or OCR function
  • No live chat support can incur delays in troubleshooting software issues

5. Insightful

Insightful is a comprehensive workforce behavior and analytics software whose time-tracking software eliminates manual time-tracking issues. Its stealth mode allows admins inside employee workstations on- and off-premise for invisible analysis and investigation of abnormal employee activities.

Key Features

  • Automatic Time Tracking and Measurement: employee hours and productivity levels are tracked to optimize workflows and organizational reporting 
  • Real-Time Monitoring: real-time employee activity insights are captured automatically at regular intervals using screenshots
  • Automated Time and Attendance: automates attendance tracking to eliminate manual tracking processes and simplify payroll
  • Comprehensive Application Usage Tracking: monitors workforce application and website usage during work hours against company policies​​ and rules
  • Time Mapping: provides operational analytics time spent within organizational applications, highlighting efficiency improvements and application redundancy


  • Easy first setup and UI navigation accessible for all technical backgrounds​​
  • Allows customization per team, department, or industry tailoring to productivity report definitions across apps
  • Secure on-premise hosting via a private cloud or network ensures data privacy
  • Data segmentation provides insights across work environments​​ , including remote
  • Stealth mode detects suspicious employee behaviors without alerts
  • Enables compliance with numerous regulatory requirements


  • Pricing on the premium side can be cost-prohibitive to SMBs
  • Limited integration breadth with PM tools limits automation
  • Users report glitches that disrupt monitoring functionalities​​
  • Lack of mobile application availability limits monitoring for high-travel teams
  • Real-time monitoring lacks customization options and specific event notifications

6. Hubstaff

Hubstaff’s employee monitoring software offers a comprehensive suite of tools for tracking time, monitoring productivity, and managing projects efficiently. It includes a broad complement of employee monitoring features like keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS, geofencing, and location monitoring.

Key Features

  • Broad Application Integration: integrates with 30+ project management and software tools, including Asana, Breeze, ClickUp, GitHub, Slack, and QuickBooks
  • Time Tracking and Sheets: offers detailed employee hours tracking a task, project, client, and location levels
  • Geofencing and GPS Location Tracking: can create specific geographic tracking areas for teams in the field or frequently on travel
  • Scheduling and Attendance Tracking: tracks employee uptime and downtime for shift and team members’ schedule optimization


  • The User-friendly interface and onboarding process are simple for new users​​​​and include an easy-to-deploy job site and geolocation.
  • Robust time and activity tracking supported by real-time keystroke and screenshot captures
  • Offers a flexible pricing range, including a free option
  • Very responsive customer support function
  • It can be customized for freelancers, SMBs, non-profits, and enterprises


  • The user learning curve can be heavy due to extensive platform functionality​​
  • Users have reported poorly guided and unresponsive customer support experiences
  • Does not integrate with all payroll systems, e.g., Payoneer
  • The pricing model requires a minimum of two users, which is not optimal for freelancers or solopreneurs
  • Reporting does not offer robust and detailed customization

7. BambooHR

BambooHR is cloud-based human resources software that, while not traditional employee monitoring software, is a comprehensive HR solution for on-premise and remote workforce productivity management. The BambooHR platform includes various features to help small businesses hire and onboard employees, manage employee performance, track employee hours, administer employee benefits, and run payroll.

Key Features

  • Performance Management: creates and tracks work goals with automated reminders and reporting​​​​
  • Time Tracking & PTO Management: captures and displays employee timesheets
  • Employee Data Management: uses a secure database to manage records, workflows, and performance management reporting​​.
  • Hiring & Onboarding: includes an applicant tracking system (ATS) with tools to streamline the recruitment and hiring process​​es
  • Benefits Administration: includes employee benefits administration that can automate benefits delivery


  • Simple interface and navigation include HR functions like ATS, onboarding tools, and benefits management.​​​​
  • Features offer for employee engagement measurement for workforce program creation and administration.
  • Integrations with payroll solutions, employee self-service options, and regulatory compliance functionality enhance the platform’s user experience.


  • Lacks advanced employee monitoring tools like keyword flags, keystroke logging, and geo-tracking​​
  • Limited reporting capabilities frustrate users who want custom payroll reports
  • Some features do integrate with other software, i.e., custom HR stack may not work effectively
  • Requires more lift than other solutions for initial setup and training, adding time to an already higher-than-average pricing structure

8. Clockify

Clockify is a robust time-tracking solution highly rated for its ease of use, comprehensive reporting capabilities, and integration flexibility, which appeals to smaller teams and businesses. While it’s highly beneficial for time management and project tracking, potential users should consider the feedback regarding its design and integration limitations.

Key Features

  • Multi-Platform Time Tracking: This feature enables users to track time spent on tasks and projects using a straightforward interface on desktop and mobile platforms.​​​​
  • Intuitive Dashboard View: allows managers to dig into tagged employee activities and monitor project completion from start to finish
  • Detailed Custom Reporting Capability: provides comprehensive reporting features that can generate detailed reports on numerous data points: time, hours per project, billable or non-billable hours, clients, and custom tags
  • Wide Range of Integrations: integrates with a variety of project management and productivity tracking tools such as Asana, Jira, Todoist, Trello, Zendesk, and Basecamp


  • Users like the clean and intuitive Clockify interface, making setup and adoption easy for new employees.
  • The main dashboard view is navigation-intuitive
  • Integration with Google Calendar allows automatic time tracking and workflow between scheduling and timekeeping​​
  • Users can customize the platform’s interface to adapt to department operations


  • The design involves too many repetitive actions for time-tracking​​
  • Limited language support may be a negative for non-English speakers
  • Billing software integration issues limit the platform relative to more comprehensive competitors
  • User feedback notes the interface appears non-modern and clunky

9. Kickidler

Kickidler’s employee monitoring system offers a comprehensive suite of tools designed to help supervisors assess employee work behavior without interrupting work. The monitoring software also includes a quad splitter feature, which displays unlimited employee on-premise and remote desktop screens in one grid format.

Key Features

  • Automated Custom Reporting: generates automated, customizable reports on employee productivity and behavior
  • Video Recording: captures employee device screen activity with playback controls for review or training
  • Violations Monitoring: tracks and alerts any violations of company data policy, unauthorized data access, and other security concerns.
  • Keystroke Logging: Records keystrokes, offering another level of detail in monitoring employee activity logs.
  • Remote Management: Facilitates remote access to employee computers for support or administrative actions
  • ​Performance Management: creates and tracks work goals with automated reminders and reporting​​​​


  • Intuitive dashboard UI makes operation straightforward for all user levels
  • Setup and configuration flexibility allows different departments to create optimal user experiences
  • Users have reported an increase in employee discipline and productivity post-implementation
  • A comprehensive monitoring feature set includes screen recording and detailed productivity analyses at multiple levels
  • Reviews suggest a good price-to-quality ratio for businesses of various sizes


  • Configuration of individual settings can be time-consuming
  • Technical issues can arise with specific hardware configurations
  • Non-technical users may find the software initially slightly difficult to learn
  • Users report challenges with device-tracking over wide area networks (WAN)

When is Monitoring Your Employees’ Computer Activity Necessary?

Monitoring employee computers becomes necessary in several situations to ensure productivity, security, compliance, and legal protection. This includes instances such as:

  • Productivity Oversight: To ensure that employees use work hours effectively and efficiently, especially in remote work settings where supervision may be challenging.
  • Security Concerns: To detect and prevent unauthorized access, data breaches, malware infections, and other cybersecurity threats that could compromise sensitive information or disrupt business operations.
  • Compliance Requirements: In industries subject to regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, or PCI DSS, monitoring employee computer activity is necessary to ensure compliance with data protection and privacy laws.
  • Investigation and Legal Protection: In cases of employee moonlighting, suspected misconduct, insider fraud, harassment, or security incidents, monitoring employee computer activity can provide evidence for investigations and legal proceedings and protect the organization’s interests.
  • Resource Optimization: To identify system inefficiencies, performance issues, or misuse of company resources, enabling organizations to optimize workflows, resource allocation, and operational processes.

Who Should Monitor Employees’ Computer Activity?

Employers or designated personnel with the appropriate authority and responsibility should monitor employees’ computer activity. This may include HR personnel, IT administrators, or supervisors tasked with ensuring the organization’s productivity, security, and compliance.

What Type of Employee Computer Activity Can be Monitored?

Various types of employee tracking activity can be monitored, including:

  • Computer Usage: Monitoring the time spent on computers, applications used, and active/inactive periods.
  • Internet Activity Browsing: This involves tracking websites visited, browsing history, and online activity to ensure compliance with company policies and prevent security risks.
  • Email Communication: Monitoring email usage, including sent and received messages, attachments, and communication patterns, to detect unauthorized activities or policy violations.
  • File Access and Usage: Tracking access to files and documents, modifications made, and file-sharing activities to prevent data breaches and ensure data security.
  • Application Usage: Monitoring the use of specific applications and software programs to assess productivity, identify training needs, and optimize software licensing.
  • Remote Work Monitoring: Monitoring activities of remote employees, including login/logout times, work hours, and productivity levels, to maintain accountability and ensure remote work effectiveness.

What Are the Benefits of Monitoring Computer Activity?

Monitoring computer activity offers numerous benefits for organizations:

  • Increased Productivity: By tracking computer activity, employers can identify inefficiencies, distractions, and time-wasting activities, allowing them to provide targeted interventions to improve employee productivity.
  • Improved Security: Monitoring computer activity helps organizations detect and prevent security breaches, unauthorized access, and data theft by identifying real-time suspicious behavior and potential threats.
  • Compliance Assurance: Monitoring computer activity helps organizations ensure compliance with industry regulations and internal policies by tracking and documenting employee actions related to data handling, privacy, and security protocols.
  • Accountability: Computer activity monitoring promotes accountability among employees by establishing clear expectations and consequences for inappropriate or unauthorized behavior, fostering a culture of responsibility and trust within the organization.
  • Performance Evaluation: By analyzing computer activity data, employers can gain valuable insights into employee performance, workload distribution, and skill utilization, enabling them to provide targeted feedback, coaching, and training to support professional development and growth.

Optimize Your Workplace with Teramind’s Employee-Friendly Computer Monitoring Software

Teramind offers the best employee monitoring solution across industries: a simple and effective solution for activity monitoring, threat management, and productivity optimization suited for remote teams and any business.

Ready to experience the security and productivity benefits of employee monitoring? Start your free trial of Teramind today and see the immediate gains it can make in your organization’s operations and success!

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