Employee Monitoring with Teramind

I want to:

I want to
warn when
redirect when
monitor when
get alerted when
block when
lock out when
employees
administrators
remote vendors
privileged users
contractors
remote users
visit unauthorized websites
send emails to my competitor
copy files to USB drive
upload excessively to google drive
are idle while working
print sensitive documents
search for jobs online
get recruited by radicals
offer to sell sensitive data
are harassing other employees
spend excess time on social media
read an e-book on hacking
install new programs
see sensitive data on their screen
violate compliance rules
access a critical server
tamper with company servers
try to bypass the web proxy
handle customers unprofessionally
violate workplace conduct rules
Pull the lever
or

What is employee monitoring software?

Employee monitoring software, also known as User Activity Monitoring (UAM) software is used to monitor employee activity to identify and stop insider threats, for employee training, to monitor productivity and use results for process optimization with the ultimate goal to increase productivity and reduce or eliminate insider threats. An employee monitoring software tracks all user activity for apps, websites, emails, network etc. while at work. In addition to basic employee monitoring, top-ranking solutions also include insider threat detection, third-party vendor monitoring, data loss prevention, risk management, legal and compliance features as part of their monitoring suite.

Check out Teramind's employee monitoring primer below to learn everything about employee monitoring software.

Some modern employee monitoring software like Teramind pack workforce productivity optimization, time tracking, project management and other additional value-added features too. This has helped boost the popularity and usefulness of employee monitoring software from its original surveillance and tracking purpose to the territory of business intelligence (BI), HR management, Finance and other enterprise productivity tools. Probably that’s why it's not surprising to see nearly 80% businesses use some form of employee monitoring and its powerful productivity features for their day to day decision making, performance reviews, workplace safety, protection from legal liability, and as a defense from sabotage and IP theft.


Teramind's employee monitoring software: Teramind UAM

Teramind employee monitoring software, Teramind UAM goes beyond the basic employee monitoring and tracking functionality and adds intelligent behavior-based analysis to provide actionable insight and automated responses to employee generated threats. It can monitor employees, third-party vendors, contractors, remote and special/privileged users. With its rules and policies, Teramind UAM captures violation incidents as forensic evidence and take action to alert, stop, block and more.

Teramind UAM can also measures employee productivity, conduct risk analysis, prevent unauthorized data exfiltration and keep track of how employees and third-party vendors access company resources while logged in at work. Finally, in case of a data breach or security incident, Teramind provides comprehensive forensic data and session recordings to identify the employees and vendors who have triggered a rule violation along with their activity footprint with pinpoint accuracy.

Teramind UAM value diagram

Industry statistics prove the need for employee monitoring:

Colluding Employees are the Sources of Insider Threats
According to the Community Emergency Response Team, the main reasons for insider caused incidents are collusion from employees and third-parties.

48.3%

insider-insider collusion

16.75%

insider-outsider collusion

Employee Privilege Puts Sensitive Data at Risk
According to a survey of 400,000 member online by Cybersecurity Insiders published on The Insider Threat 2018 report.

37%

excess privilege

34%

increased amount of sensitive data

Employees are a Major Security Concern
Businesses agree employees are their biggest weakness in IT security - according to Kaspersky Lab and B2B International study of over 5,000 businesses.

52%

businesses agree employees are biggest weakness

Many Employees Spend Unproductive Time at Work
According to FinancesOnline, 64% of employees use non-work related worksites every day and 85% of employees use their email for personal reasons.

64%

browse unproductive sites

85%

use email for personal tasks

Disadvantages of employee monitoring software and how to address them

How to choose the best employee monitoring software?

How can I get started with employee monitoring?

Frequently asked questions about employee monitoring

Employee monitoring resources

Nothing found

Types of employee monitoring software



Most employee monitoring software focus on three key areas of interest: endpoints (desktop, laptop, mobile device, virtual desktop, terminals), network (LAN, WAN, servers etc.) and the Cloud. Endpoint based solutions are popular because that’s where majority of the user activity occur. Some solutions employ special hardware and devices like GPS/location tracker, activity trackers, smart cards/RFID etc. to monitor employees outside their work environment. Few of them are quite interesting too. For example, River Falls, WI based One Company is offering microchip implants to volunteering employees. There’s been news on New York Times that Amazon applied for a patent for a wristband that will vibrate when an employee does something wrong. However, while interesting, these are edge cases and mostly used for experiments, safety or logistics purposes. The most common features and methods used by employee monitoring solutions are:

App usage/application monitoring

This is one of the primary components tracked by an employee monitoring software. By analyzing their apps usage, an organization can understand how employees spend their work hours, which apps are productive vs unproductive, what documents or files are being accessed etc. Reports can be obtained for both individual employees and at departmental level. This can be helpful in determining which applications to keep and which to get rid of/replace. Monitoring application usage across an organization also helps administrators determine which apps needs upgrades or security patching. However, this application usage tracking feature of an employee monitoring software should not be confused with the Application Performance Monitoring (APM) software, which monitors and manages the performance and availability of software applications.

•  Check out Teramind’s Application Monitoring features

Online/website/internet monitoring

Employee online usage tracking is another common technique utilized by employee monitoring solutions. There is good reason for it. Malware, phishing attacks, viruses can spread from an infected website to an organization’s network. There are also productivity reasons. According to a survey, about 65% of employees reported that they use the internet during the workday for non-work purposes. This is a huge loss for an organization. To address such issues, some organizations use employee monitoring software to track what websites their employees visit and allow or block the URLs against a list of white/blacklisted sites and IPs. While URL blocking is useful, the vast and ever-changing nature of the internet makes it quite impossible to manage such white/black lists. That’s why a modern employee monitoring solution like Teramind supplements this URL blocking feature with advanced OCR and sophisticated contextual analysis. This technology automatically categorizes websites into productive/unproductive harmful/safe or simply ‘questionable’ based on their content. It can then enforce the appropriate policy or rule for allowing full or limited access or completely block the site. For example, it can detect a harmful site that has hacking resources and block access to it. Or, it might warn the user when they visit a gambling site. In another case, it can for example, limit how much time employees spend on an entertainment site like YouTube without completely blocking it.

•  Check out Teramind’s Internet Monitoring features

Email monitoring

Monitoring employee email is also one of the most effective methods for both identifying and preventing insider threats and data leaks. This way, outgoing emails containing sensitive or confidential information can be quickly identified, quarantined or rerouted to another account (using a proxy). This can also provide insight into which employees are disgruntled so action can be taken before they become a threat to your business. Another reason you might want to monitor employee emails is to reduce unproductive behavior. According to FinancesOnline, 85% employees use email for personal reasons while at work. Limiting or restricting email outside corporate domain can be a solution to this issue. Monitoring email activity is also extremely valuable for auditing company compliance for employees who work in fields like customer service, collaboration, public relations and all other roles which rely heavily on sending outgoing email daily.

•  Check out Teramind’s Email Monitoring features

File transfer tracking

File activity monitoring prevents unauthorized access and is often the first line of defense against sensitive data leaks. Most of the major employee monitoring software can monitor all kinds of file activity, such as file creation, deletion, access, or write operations. One of the key features of such a system is the ability to restrict usage of external drives to minimize data exfiltration attempts. Some software keep track of sensitive files and block data theft through steganography. This is a technique used by malicious employees where they modify a file format or type to evade extension-based blocking. An employee monitoring system that has these ‘digital fingerprinting’ and ‘tagging’ features can track a file's movement through out multiple systems or networks regardless of origin, format or version.

•  Check out Teramind’s File Transfer Tracking features

Network monitoring

Network monitoring allows system administrators to monitor all applications, services and users connected to the network, consumption of shared resources, identity login activities, location, time and exact IP, ports etc. Additionally, administrators have access to full reports that measure the amount of bandwidth used by individual employees and the VPN/RDP sessions from external/remote users. Additionally, monitoring your company's networks can help network admins identify potential dangers like malware activity, abnormal traffic, unsafe connections etc.

•  Check out Teramind’s Network Monitoring features

Keystrokes logger / keylogging

Some employee monitoring software has a keystroke logging feature which can capture and log all keyboard activity by a user or employee. Keylogging is an invaluable way for employers to gain insight in to their employees' daily activity, attitude, professionalism and productivity. Some software combines OCR and pattern matching with this feature to detect potentially dangerous keywords even as the user type them. However, caution must be taken when you use such features. if used incorrectly, keylogging can violate employee privacy by capturing personal information like password, personal banking details, private message etc. Though, according to some experts, there doesn’t seem to be any federal statutory framework which covers the use of keyloggers by employers, some jurisdictions might have restrictions on its use. So, if you are not sure if you are allowed to record employee keystrokes, consult your legal counsel. Teramind can help you implement the keylogging feature in a responsible manner. For example, you can set it up so that the software automatically stops the recording when personal content, site or apps are detected.

•  Check out Teramind’s Keystroke Logger features

Social media and Instant Message (IM) monitoring

Social media and IMs, while used successfully by many businesses for marketing and communication purposes, can harm productivity uncontrolled access to these services. Another problem with such ubiquitous platforms means, employees can accidentally share sensitive information or embargoed content (i.e. exposure of an M&A news or announcement of a new product launch before the release date). They are also a popular platform used by hackers and scammers to target employees for phishing and other exploitation attacks. Known as Social Engineering, these incidents have grown over 150% in recent years according to a research report. For all these reasons, employers are beginning to blocking or restricting time on these sites. However, this may affect your organization negatively due to employee resentment and disruption of marketing/communication channels. With advanced context analysis capacities, solutions like Teramind can let your employees use social media and IMs and still protect them and your business from such threats. For example, it can block chats that contain inappropriate/sensitive keywords and alert the administrator when an employee connects with certain people, follow radical groups, or use certain features like uploading files.

•  Check out Teramind’s Instant Message monitoring features

Printer monitoring

While there are dedicated solutions like PaperCut out there, that can track printer activity and logs, having this feature built-in your employee monitoring solution has some advantages. In addition to saving cost, software like Teramind can show you who is printing what, set alerts for the attempted printing of sensitive data or excess printing behavior, view the content of the document being printed etc. It also records all the information for security logs and compliance processes.

•  Check out Teramind’s Printed Document Tracking features

Screen and audio recording (session recording)

Only a handful of employee mentoring solutions have these capabilities. What it does is, visually captures all screen activities of an employee and optionally record the audio from their computer speaker and microphone. An administrator can view the content live or play a previous recording. Together with employee activity, application and network logs; session recording provides a vast collection of investigation data to locate the source and insider threat with pinpoint accuracy. The recording can also be exported or downloaded as video files as legal evidence in case of a crime committed by a monitored employee.

•  Check out Teramind’s Live View & History Playback features

Privileged user monitoring

Privileged employees, power users and sometimes preferred vendors have access to your core IT systems, apps and network in order to complete their jobs. Since such users have access to elevated credentials, it can be incredibly difficult to detect a malicious privileged user before s/he have caused damage already. In fact, user privilege is considered one of the main reasons sensitive data breaches happen. According to a survey of 400,000 member online by Cybersecurity Insiders published on The Insider Threat 2018 report, 56% respondent said privileged IT employees or administrators pose the biggest security risk. That’s why advanced employee monitoring systems like Teramind provides special modules and polices to monitor privileged user activity; keeping an eye on things like: creation of back-door accounts, transmission of code snippets, attempts to gain additional system privileges, attempted edits of system configuration files etc.

•  Check out Teramind’s Privileged User Monitoring features

Remote employee monitoring

Remote work in all sectors has increased, especially in the IT sector. However, while they bring many benefits, remote employees require special considerations. Often, they are spread across multiple time zones, have their own home offices and work on their own devices. This can create all kind of security, management and payroll complicacies. Employee monitoring software which support remote employee monitoring have built-in features to handle these requirements. In addition to implementing special security rules like network access control, prevent abnormal login software like Teramind provide an all-inclusive monitoring solution to track employee time, departmental projects, and overall productivity.

•  Check out Teramind’s Remote Employee Monitoring features

Third party vendor monitoring

Third-party vendors are important resources for many businesses. According to Deloitte, a typical Fortune 500 company may use more than 100,000 external third-parties. Even SMEs rely on suppliers, partners and other businesses to conduct their daily business. Yet, these third-party users are a significant security threat. In fact, this report found that 60% of data breaches involve a third-party. To mitigate this risk, employee monitoring solutions are beginning to include third-party vendors, contractors and freelancers as part of their monitoring perimeter. Because, in many ways they are like your other employees who often have privileged access to an organization’s core systems. They have the ability to wreak havoc by stealing company data as well as damage IT infrastructure. Yet, due to their external nature, most of the time these users are not vetted properly for security clearance. So, given the opportunity, these users should be monitored with the same or even more rigor than an internal user. Teramind offers a platform to monitor third party vendors to ensure access is only granted to systems needed, decrease the chances of accidental mistakes that can damage system settings, and help improve IT safety measures.

•  Check out Teramind’s Third Party Vendor Management features

Employee productivity monitoring

When time equals money, employee productivity has to be at its peak level to ensure optimal results. However, with so many distractions around these days, keeping employees dedicated to their work tasks has become quite the test for many organizations. Are your employees spending too much time on tasks that are less profitable? Watching memes on Facebook? Is it just one or two employees unproductive or is it the entire team? To tackle these questions, feature-rich employee monitoring solutions like Teramind include built-in workforce optimization and project management tools like time sheet, project planner, task scheduler etc.

•  Check out Teramind’s Employee Productivity & Process Optimization features

Employee monitoring for compliance purposes

Compliance with data privacy and employee rights may sound like they are counter intuitive to employee monitoring. In reality, these standards and regulations require that organizations have data protection, logging, auditing and breach reporting systems in place. This means, you actually need employee monitoring and tracking capabilities to conform with these regulations and ensure your employees are following the compliance directives too. But keep in mind that compliance is a complex undertaking and not all employee monitoring solutions have this feature. You need to pick a solution that supports the compliance law/standard your organization is subject to (i.e. GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, ISO 27001). Typically, this means, the software comes with many out-of-the-box policies and rules to support the compliance requirements and a policy editor to configure special use cases like privacy, data protection and retention rules and breach reporting and auditing capabilities.

•  Check out Teramind’s Compliance Management features

Employee risk management

Top of the line employee monitoring systems use machine learning, AI and intelligent behavior analysis to detect anomalies that indicate deviation from normal behavioral baseline. They deploy dynamic risk scoring and vulnerabilities scanning algorithm to identify at risk employees, policies and systems resources to proactively protect other employees and the organization from threats before they become critical issues.

Advantages of employee monitoring software

Increase employee productivity

How focused are your employees? Are they spending too much time on social media? This distraction is a problem even when your employees are using productivity software. Sometimes, too many so called ‘productivity tools’ can be a problem too. A Workplace Zen survey of more than 2,500 global employees found that “app overload” is real, and most workplace apps intended to streamline productivity and communications are actually undermining employee performance, the main reason being frequent task switching and the loss of focus. Sometimes, a lack of productivity indicates that employees don’t fully understand what’s expected of them. With a good employee monitoring software, these can easily be fixed. However, you have to make sure the software can track an employee’s computer actions throughout the day, then aggregate that data to produce detailed metrics, such as:


You can then meet with your employees parodically to find out how their goals are progressing and whether they need help. This will reinforce that you’re paying attention to productivity and progress, but it also makes clear that you’re there to assist if needed.

Reduce administrative work

Managers and supervisors spend a lot of time with administrative works. In a US-based survey of 500 managers, it was found that a majority of them (36%) spend in the range of 3-4 hours per day on these tasks. More than one in five (23%) said they spend 5+ hours a day on things like time tracking, scheduling etc. With the right employee monitoring solution, many of these tasks can be automated or made efficient. For example, with Teramind you can:

Increase employee engagement

Engaged employees are a healthy, productive workforce. Well-driven employees are what essentially stimulates the progress of a company. Businesses with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%. Moreover, when employees are engaged, businesses see a revenue growth of 2.5% than that of their peers and a 40% reduction in employee turnover. However, sometimes your most active employees can become disengaged. There are several reasons for this. Some of them has to do with motivation some due to over pressure or lack of incentives. One of the most futuristic and progressive approaches to solving these problems is through employee behavior analytics. An employee monitoring software can track user activity throughout the work day creating a catalog of behaviors and actions. You can then develop all sorts of KPIs and metrics to measure employee engagement: How many hours are your employees active? Maybe they’re spending too much time in meetings? Getting buried under Emails? You can track employee performance over time and see if they are on a decreasing trend. Find out how often your employees are spending time on breaks and unproductive activity. Identify disgruntled, angry sentiment from their emails, IMs and social media engagement. When you know the cause(es) of the disengagement, you can systematically address them. For example, management can approach the subject of long meetings and email overload by adapting another communication method like instant messaging. For low performing employees, arrange for a performance development plan (PDP) etc. The trick is to identify a potential issue before it becomes a problem.

Identify process gaps

In management, gap analysis involves the comparison of actual performance with potential or desired performance. With an employee monitoring system with the right features, HR managers can conduct gap analysis and process improvement at individual and team levels by identifying skill gaps, overlap in duties and responsibilities, conflicting goals and accountability etc. All these information gives you better understanding of your employees work habits so that you can adopt or personalize workflow process to suit their capabilities, delegate task better or move things around. For example, a talented programmer who consistently engages in poor client communications can be shifted to a position that is less customer facing, which maximizes the developer’s strengths while also protecting the reputation of the company.

Detect insider threats

An insider is someone who have access to an organization’s internal information and resources. These can be employees, partners, third-party vendors, contractors etc. They pose a threat when they intentionally or accidentally put the organization on harms way by leaking sensitive data, sabotage, fraud, theft or other misuses of their access privilege. The insiders often collude with each other or external parties and can cause one of the biggest risks for an organization. According to the Community Emergency Response Team, the main reasons for insider caused incidents are: 48.3% insider-insider collusion and 16.75% insider-outsider collusion. To mitigate such threats, some employee monitoring system like Teramind come with insider threat detection modules. This feature work by first identifying what employee behaviors are high risk i.e. copying files to external drives, using cloud storage to share corporate files with an outsider, downloading/opening files and attachments from unknown sources etc. Then, advanced behavior-based rules are used to automatically detect when users violate the rules. Teramind utilizes sophisticated anomaly rules to identify employee or third-party vendor activity outside the normal behavior. It can then send immediately alert about harmful employee activity, lock them out or let an admin take remote control of their computer before any malicious or fraudulent attempt.

Protect sensitive data and resources (data loss prevention)

Data loss and IP theft can cause a great deal of financial burden for an organization. A study conducted by IBM and the Ponemon Institute in 2018 found that, average cost of a data breach is about $3.86M. The figure is $350M or more for larger breaches. Majority of the data breaches involve employees. According a CompTIA study, 52% of the root cause of security incidents is due to human errors. For example, using weak passwords, lost or stolen login credentials to phishing scams/malware, emailing sensitive document to wrong recipient by mistake etc. While an employee monitoring system cannot protect you from all these data breaches (you need a dedicated data loss prevention solution like Teramind DLP for that); it can give you at least basic protection from employee-borne data breach incidents. For example, Teramind comes with some useful data protection features. You can utilize its Activity and Schedule-based ‘rules’ to prevent external drive usage, detect unusual or unauthorized network login or files transfers etc. All these features can help minimize information exfiltration and data leaks.

Minimize waste and reduce cost

Almost one in five people waste more than a third of their time at the office according to a GoVoip survey. In a week, this adds up to at least 15 hours, or nearly 2 full workdays of wasted time. You can minimize such waste by implementing website usage and social media policies as mentioned before. There are other ways too. For example, Teramind can track employee active vs idle time and allows you to send automated notifications to employees if they are idling excessively. Over time, you can build a pretty accurate estimate on which type of works takes how much time and then set your team’s deliverables accordingly reducing slack times and overtime hours. Using the software’s device monitoring feature, you can implement policies like set a limit on printer to reduce paper and ink waste.

Improve time management

Some of the employee monitoring software have time tracking modules built-into them, letting you do away with manual paper work or timesheets in Excel. They can record time logs automatically for day/month/week, validate entries with actual work hours, calculate overtime and PTOs, off-hours and breaks automatically and even generate invoices and billing reports for you. Some let you export the information to dedicated time tracking software like Zoho for further processing. Another benefit of having time tracking with employee monitoring means that you can synchronize across multiple time zones and remote teams. For example, in the IT industry, software developers frequently operate under tight deadlines, and managers need to remain informed about a job’s progress. When development teams are working across different locations and even different time zones, communicating and evaluating this progress becomes complicated. Therefore, by deploying employee monitoring software across the enterprise, it’s possible to prioritize tasks and to measure progress towards deliverable within established timeframes.

Improve employee and organizational safety

Employee monitoring can help your security and legal team investigate possible criminal activity (i.e. use of illegal software), investigate thefts and gather evidence. Solutions like Teramind can provide them with detailed alerts for all employees including any security incidents and what actions were taken. Warning messages can be configured to inform employees about nonconformity and influence corrective behavior. Instant snapshots, session recordings and history playback features can be used for audit and evidence gathering purposes. The recordings can be handed over to law enforcement as evidence. That’s not all. Your HR/legal can build etiquette ‘rules’ to detect abuse and harassment at workplace by scanning the communication channels like emails, IM and social media and use the same for collecting evidence against the offender. Some software which has GPS tracking or mobile phone monitoring can know the whereabout of its workers and provide safety support in case of an emergency, especially to fieldworkers in remote/dangerous areas.

Establish a culture of fairness and of transparency

Using an employee monitoring software for all your employees means you are creating a flat organization, where everybody is measured objectively and the same way. You will be promoting or product/demoting the right people for the right reasons. This creates an atmosphere of fairness and transparency. Furthermore, it makes it easy for managers and supervisor to communicate better and connect with more people. Since they can easily find out what each employee is up to, providing feedback is easier and faster. This is particularly helpful in planning for collaborative works or shared projects. For example, you can assign alternate tasks to one of your marketing employees when they are waiting for product department to give the product roadmap. Since, you already know where your product department is, you can determine which ‘filler’ task to give to your marketing guy.

Disadvantages of employee monitoring software and how to address them

Employee privacy concerns

Employee monitoring is still a sensitive subject for most organizations. Especially, in recent years data privacy has become the topic of conversation in every boardroom due to the introduction of GDPR and similar laws. The truth is, federal and most state and jurisdictions’ privacy laws allow employee monitoring including GDPR. However, many employees themselves might see such software an invasion to their privacy. Organizations planning to use employee monitoring should consider what they intend to achieve and select a solution accordingly. Not every workplace culture is ready for a full-blown employee monitoring system. You might want to use employee monitoring to capture only privileged user activity. Or may be you just want to monitor your third party vendors. Another company might want to leverage employee monitoring in specific departments such as a bank for their tellers only. You need to figure out the primary use case(s) and pick a solution that can be configured based on the need of your organization’s privacy and compliance requirements. For example, with Teramind, you can set up a social media monitoring rule only for the Marketing department while leaving it turned off for other employees. Or, while monitoring online activity, a rule could automatically suspend monitoring and keystrokes logging when users visit their bank’s website or logs into their personal email account. Check out this article, ‘Five Steps to Implement Employee Monitoring without Violating Employee Privacy’ to learn about some other ways you can go about establishing an employee monitoring policy while respecting employee privacy rights.

Risk of negative employee morale

To mitigate fears and moral dilemma, organizations should implement clear privacy and performance evaluation guidelines when hiring new employees, conduct briefing sessions and educational seminar about employee privacy and monitoring practices etc. On the software level, vendors are introducing machine learning and AI to conduct context analysis and behavior-based monitoring so that human factors are included as part of the monitoring process. Teramind, for example, supports Revealed/Visible monitoring agents so employees can see when they are being tracked and even choose their own logging hours and tasks. It only records when it’s needed (i.e. during a rule violation incident). Admin can purge the recording when no longer required. Teramind also allows employees to view their own monitoring data and activity logs and request redaction/removal if they think the information violates their privacy rights. All these transparency and control over the monitoring process can reduce the negative effects on employee morale.

Different jurisdictions may impose restrictions on how certain employee monitoring functionality is implemented. For example, in 2017, a federal court in Germany ruled that companies can’t use keyloggers for employee monitoring. Yet, just the previous year, European Court of Human Rights issued a landmark ruling that it’s not unreasonable for employers to monitor their employees’ computer activity and such monitoring does not violate their human rights. Then there are international compliance laws and standards like GDPR which complicate employee monitoring and privacy issues even further. So, how do you go about deciding what to do or not do when it comes to employee monitoring? Especially, if you are a global company or a small business with remote workers, how do you comply with multiple laws spanned across different jurisdictions? As it seems, it’s not one size fits all when it comes to legal matters. It’s always a good idea to consult your legal counsel to ensure you are implementing employee monitoring within the legal and regulatory guidelines applicable to your organization and jurisdiction. Once your legal and HR gives you the green light, you can then choose an employee monitoring system like Teramind which can be customized with respect to its monitoring and recording features to abide by any legal, ethical or regulatory restrictions.

How to choose the best employee monitoring software?



Features:

Compare features and benefits. Is it easy to use?

Compare the monitoring features among the top few and then select the ones you want to investigate further. Ask yourself if you need additional features like insider threat detection, data loss prevention, time tracking, productivity optimization. Not all employee monitoring solutions offer these or they can charge extra for each module. You can also ask questions like, What analytics/reporting can you get out of it? What kind of advanced technology it utilizes? Does it support OCR, fingerprinting, tagging? How many system objects can it monitor (apps, web, screen, network, keyboard)? How easy it is to use? Can you learn it quickly or will it take a long learning curve? It’s better if you can get a product/demo or trial version of the software. Once you know the answers to these, proceed to the next step.

Business case:

Can it deliver my business requirements?

For example, if you are a call center, check to see if the employee monitoring system will support audio captures since that’s a big part of your employees’ day to day activity. Or, if you have employees or customers in the EU, check if the employee monitoring system supports GDPR compliance. Another strategic thing to ask is: Will the solution be able to support your business goals (profitability, reduce expense, productivity) and sustain them through an evolving competitive landscape? Read the case studies and customer stories to see what you peers are using employee monitoring for ideas and inspirations.

Flexibility:

How configurable and scalable is the solution?

Many powerful solutions fail to deliver results because they are too complicated to use. Ask yourself: do the employee monitoring software has an intuitive interface? Can it be customized easily to suit your needs (i.e. drag and drop widgets, KPIs)? How much can you configure the monitoring settings? For example: does it allow you to create profiles for individual employees, groups and departments? Can the monitoring objects be configured to allow employee privacy? Can you automatically set recording time based on incident or a schedule? The more flexibility the software allows, the better as you will be able to adjust it as your requirements change (they will!) over time.

Price vs value:

Does the product/price justify the return? Are there any hidden costs?

Calculate the total cost of ownership (TOC) and verify if the solution is worth its value. Include hidden/opportunity costs like maintenance, upgrade and support costs. Does the vendor include those in the pricing, or do you have to pay extra for them? How does the licensing work? Is it per device or per user? If you are deploying on a private server say on AWS, check the documentation for server requirements. The solution may require additional storage, bandwidth that might become a problem when you scale up. Understand how the cost will increase as your team grows. Finally, consider how much you will benefit from the employee monitoring system. Will it increase your team’s productivity? By how much? Can it save you from data loss/theft or other damages? Eliminate wasted time? Attach a value for these savings. Only then you will have a proper evaluation of the employee monitoring solution(s) you are looking at.

Ease of deployment:

How fast can you get started? What are the deployment options?

If you want total control over the software’s implementation, choose an employee monitoring solution that has on-premise deployment options. You can leverage LDAP groups and users to identify which employee and groups to apply which policies and rules to. However, this can be expensive and may require longer deployment time. If you want a cheaper, faster and scalable deployment option, then you might consider a Cloud-based solution. This way, you just need to install the monitoring agent on the endpoints and don’t need to worry about managing the servers. Some vendors also offer a Private Cloud solution. This is the best of the both worlds where you can get the scalability and product/price similar to a Cloud deployment and the flexibility and security similar to an on-premise deployment. However, first find out what platform (AWS, Google Cloud, Azure etc.) the solution supports. They each have their own strength and weakness. Consult with your Finance and IT if you need a second opinion.

Platform availability:

Where can you use the software? Can it monitor all your employees?

Does it support the endpoints your employees are on, like Windows/Mac/Linux/Mobile devices? If you have employees on virtual server or terminal like Citrix XenApp/Xendesk, Windows Server, VMware etc. find out if the software you choose runs on those platforms.

Vendor reputation:

Are they any good? Do they have great reviews?

A good way to judge a software is to checkout its user reviews and vendor reputation. How many users liked the product? Does it have a good rating? If there are complaints, what are they for? What are its core features and weaknesses? How does it stack up against competitors? These are all valid queries answer to which you can find out easily with a quick internet search. Check out the reviews on credible sites like PC Magazine, Capterra, Business News Daily, GetApp, Crozdesk etc. to find out about the solution before you decide to buy. However, please remember the adage, being popular doesn’t always mean it will be the best for you. As mentioned before, find out your use cases first and then try to fit in a solution that will meet your need.

Support/SLA:

Will you get the help when you need it?

Some vendors may charge you extra for premium support (i.e. 24/7 on call) while others provide it for free. Again, check out the reviews to find out if a vendor has a good reputation for providing great support. Ask for an enterprise SLA if you need one. It’s a good idea to scan the vendor’s website and see if they have enough documentation, tutorials, guides and other resources as you might need them later on.

Integration and API:

Is it a monolithic product or can you extend its usefulness?

A good employee monitoring solution will let you easily integrate with popular tools like JIRA, Trello, BaseCamp, Redmine etc. that helps make project management tasks easier. You can sync user activity, tasks, budget etc. for each project and process them further in these tools. Some solutions also allow you to integrate with SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and threat detection tools like HP ArcSight, Splunk, IBM QRadar, McAfee Enterprise Security Manager, LogRhythm, NetIQ Sentinel etc. allowing you coordinate a holistic security perimeter.

Compatibility:

Will it work well with your IT systems?

Find out if your existing software will work well with the employee monitoring agent software. Is it going to slow down your network or chew up the CPU performance? How about antivirus and firewall solutions you might already have in place? Will they cause conflict? These might sound trivial at first, but compatibility issues can cause a lot of annoyance and wasted time down the road.

How can I get started with employee monitoring?



Step 1

Get employee buy-in

It might be tempting (and even justifiable in some scenarios) to keep an eye on your employees without their knowledge. However, many industries and organizations believe that informing employees of monitoring will deter employees from committing malicious or possible criminal activity. It’s highly likely that you will get better results if you are open about your monitoring intention and bring your employees onboard from the beginning. Be transparent about your reasons for using the software. The Santa Clara Valley Water District educated its employees in the bargaining units on why monitoring was being put in place, how it would be done, and how it would affect employees. All of these issues were discussed at various meetings over six months before monitoring began. The idea was to roll out the software smoothly and reduce any fear and loathing.

Step 2

Set up an employee monitoring policy

Every employee is responsible for ensuring the security of your infrastructure and data. Ensure you communicate security policies at onboarding and keep these policies up-to-date. Consider requiring a yearly read and sign-off acknowledgement of the policy by all employees. Discuss the very real consequences of a breach and how it impacts employees. On a micro-level, breaches result in lost work and cause rework for the employee. At a macro-level, breaches impact corporate reputation and profitability. Develop and share clear policies about why and when monitoring is being used and how data is used. You may want to discuss how monitoring will be used to protect corporate assets and ensure use of corporate-approved software and avoid use of prohibited software and/or websites.

Step 3

Get clearance from HR and legal

As we discussed earlier, there might be legal and ethical considerations to address before you start using an employee monitoring system. Consult with your HR and legal counsel as needed.

Step 4

Try the software

The best way to see if a particular employee monitoring solution will work for you is to try it first. Ask for a detailed product/demo for the vendor. Better, if you can get access to a free-trial. Some trial versions might have feature limitation set but others have full functionality enabled for a period of time. Teramind even has an interactive simulator which you can try out for as long as you need. While evaluating the trial/product/demo make sure to check out the built-in rules and policies and the availability of out-of-the-box templates to have a sense of the software’s capabilities. Ask questions, vendors are usually very forthcoming if they have true confidence in their products.

Step 5

Deploy and set up policies and rules

A powerful employee monitoring solution may have a lot of options and settings. This might be a bit overwhelming if you are using such a software for the first time. We suggest that you start with the built-in policies and rules and try them out with some test scenarios with few volunteers. Once you have a handle on how things work you can start setting up new policies and rules. Investigate the advanced features (i.e. combining multiple conditions and monitoring objects) gradually and create new rules tailored to your company’s needs. Do not hesitate to experiment, you might find creative ways to do things or even discover new use for a feature. For example, one of Teramind’s customer, a call center, has been using the audio recording feature to record experienced agents’ conversations to train new agents. Check out the software’s tutorials and documentation to learn more as you go. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are stuck.

Step 6

Train employees

If you have more than one admins, show them how to use the software and coordinate policies and rule creation. Some software like Teramind also allow regular employees have their own personalized dashboards. Train them how to view/use it. Record simulated test incidents and rule violation events using the session recording and playback features to educate employees about cybersecurity and breach response best practices.

Tips for better employee monitoring



Here are some tips for you to follow after you have setup and running you employee monitoring solution. These will help you get the most benefit no matter which software you use:

Be responsible

Employee monitoring isn’t spying on your subordinates. Focus on your business goals and monitor the activity that relates to those goals. Being able to cite the names of your colleague’s Facebook friends isn’t employee monitoring, it’s called stalking and it’s creepy.

Don’t rush it

Don’t expect to achieve all your employee monitoring goals at once. It will take time for you to develop the behavioral baseline, activity trend and to understand what makes your employees tick. Be patient and curb your expectation.

Keep it fresh

Don’t just setup the system and expect it to work for perpetuity. Company policy, employee behavior, technology and the threat landscape change. You need to update the monitoring policies and rules and try out new things to keep up with the evolving technology and compliance landscape.

Communicate properly

Use clear, simple messages when setting up customized warnings or notification in your monitoring software. Don’t use cryptic language or sound like a big-boss. Avoid unnecessary confrontation when possible. Sometimes, employees will make mistakes and trigger a policy violation. Explain what they did wrong and how to avoid such mistakes. If necessary, train or retrain them.

Teramind's Employee Monitoring solution



Teramind's Employee Monitoring solution, Teramind UAM goes beyond the basic employee monitoring and tracking functionality and adds intelligent behavior-based analysis to provide actionable insight and automated responses to employee generated threats. It can monitor employees, third-party vendors, contractors, remote and special/privileged users. With its rules and policies, Teramind UAM captures violation incidents as forensic evidence and take action to alert, stop, block and more.

Teramind UAM can also measures employee productivity, conduct risk analysis, prevent unauthorized data exfiltration and keep track of how employees and third-party vendors access company resources while logged in at work. Finally, in case of a data breach or security incident, Teramind UAM provides comprehensive forensic data and session recordings to identify the employees and vendors who have triggered a rule violation along with their activity footprint with pinpoint accuracy.



For more information about Teramind Employee Monitoring solution, check out:

Teramind UAM

Features and benefits of Teramind's Employee Monitoring solution

Real-time employee activity monitoring

Teramind monitors all employee activity covering 12+ system objects like: web pages, applications, email, console commands, file transfers, instant messaging, social media, keystrokes, clipboard, searches, printing and even on-screen content (OCR) in real-time.

Insider threat detection

Teramind uses advanced behavior-based rules to detect malicious activity. Immediately get notified about harmful employee activity, lock them out from the system or take remote control of their computer before any malicious or fraudulent attempt.

User behavior analytics

Intelligent behavior analysis can detect malicious activity and anomalies that indicate deviation from normal behavioral baseline. Dynamic risk scoring and vulnerability scanning identifies insider activity before they represent a real threat.

Policy and rules engine

Get started right away with hundreds of pre-built rule templates, activity classification lists and data categories. Create your own policies and rules with an intuitive, visual rule editor. Use natural English, regular expressions and sample conditions to easily define your requirements. Create monitoring profiles for individual employees, groups or departments.

Built-in productivity optimization

Define which apps and websites you consider productive and get in-depth reports on how your employees utilize them. Identify the laggards or high performers with active vs. idle time analysis. Establish a continuous feedback loop to refine and adjust your organizational workflow through tracking of schedules, projects and employee engagement rate for overall productivity boost.

Audit and forensics

Video recording of all employee activity, audio recording, session recording, immutable logs, alerts and optional OCR search are just few examples of Teramind’s powerful audit and forensic capabilities. Together they provide a vast collection of investigative data to locate the source of an insider threat with pinpoint accuracy.

Third party vendor management

Teramind’s monitoring features cover third party vendors and remote users who have access to your critical systems. This enables you to control vendor management and third-party SLA and decreases the chances of cyber threats.

Compliance management

Teramind UAM can be used to create activity and schedule based rules to support several common compliance requirements like: implementing audit trails (GDPR), limiting unauthorized login (ISO 27001), prevent unencrypted file transfers (PCI DSS), reporting, and more.

Teramind Employee Monitoring Software is Ranked #1 by:



And others.

Have a Look

Frequently asked questions about employee monitoring



Is employee monitoring legal?

In most jurisdictions employee monitoring is legal with no restrictions. However, there may be restrictions on what employee activities you monitor or record. Please consult your legal counsel to ensure you are implementing employee monitoring within the legal and regulatory guidelines applicable to your organization and jurisdiction. Teramind is fully customizable with respect to its monitoring and recording features to abide by any legal, ethical or regulatory restrictions.



How can I use employee monitoring without violating employee privacy rights?

Modern employee monitoring software are capable of capturing all employee activity on almost any device. While this is a boon for protecting company data from insider threats, it can be problematic when applied to the employee’s own data and privacy. Especially, with the introduction of laws like GDPR, organizations deploying employee monitoring software must do so without capturing employees’ personal data and exposing themselves to privacy violations. Here are five steps to implement employee monitoring software without violating employee privacy. Teramind is fully customizable to meet the privacy standard set by GDPR, HIPAA and other compliance laws. Check out this tutorial-video learn more about the some of the ‘privacy-focused’ employee monitoring features of Teramind.



How can I monitor employees’ computer activity?

Using employee monitoring software from Teramind, all user activity can be monitored and recorded in real-time. Action can be seen via live view or playback history, which includes everything done on desktops, servers, thin clients and remote networks. Smart rules and automated alerts can be utilized to notify you of user violations instantaneously and take a variety of actions such as block the action, block the user, lock the user out, request management authorization, etc.



How can I measure employee productivity?

Through Teramind’s comprehensive dashboards and employee analytics, employers are given invaluable insight into productivity and daily workloads. Custom guidelines can be set to determine what employees spend most of their time doing, including what applications are being used, how many emails are being send, what types of websites are being visited, and much more. Teramind provides the flexibility to evaluate entire departments or single employees on demand, with in depth information to help make informed decisions about your workforce.



What are insider threats and how can I detect and protect against them?

Insider threats come from people with intimate knowledge of an organization's internal affairs, including current and former employees, contractors, vendors or associates. Insider threats carry devious intentions, weather leaking important information to the public or competitors, or threatening security through exposing sensitive data. The best way to expose and prevent insider threats is by identifying malicious intent before action is taken. Teramind keeps you up to date and aware of all user activity, allowing you to detect disgruntled employees first, rather than letting them become a serious issue. The software also allows you to restrict certain actions that could be tied to insider threats, as well as review recordings of all activity in order to conduct in-depth investigations into potential security risks.



I have concerns about GDPR. How does GDPR affect my use of employee monitoring software?

With its 12 Chapters and 99 Articles, GDPR is a comprehensive, widely scoped legislature. Without fully understanding what is required, it’s hard for businesses to find a solution. So, you are in good company. It’s new, it’s complex and as a result, there’s a sense of ambiguity in many people’s mind. The good news is, Teramind is fully complaint with GDPR and can actually help you conform to many of its requirements, not just personal data privacy. Check out this article, ‘How to Fulfill Key GDPR Requirements with Teramind’ to learn more or visit Teramind’s GDPR Compliance page to checkout our GDPR solution.



For more frequently asked questions, check out:

Teramind FAQ

Employee monitoring resources



Here are some useful resources related to employee monitoring, user activity monitoring, employee productivity, insider threat detection, cybersecurity etc. Visit our IT Security Central blog and Resources page for more useful resources and subscribe to Teramind YouTube channel for the latest tutorials, product walk-through and other interesting videos.

Blog posts





Case studies





Media contributions



How can I get started with employee monitoring with Teramind?

Step 1

Open an Account


Sign up to Teramind Basic Cloud employee monitoring software for free. No credit card required.

Step 2

Install Agents


Install the monitoring agents on the machines you wish to monitor, deciding on either full or part-time monitoring.

Step 3

Customize Settings


Customize each alert and monitoring setting to perfectly tailor the platform to your requirements.

Finish

Take Control!


Access all features within Teramind's platform for unrivaled monitoring capabilities that enhance security and productivity.

Ready to Get Started?

Start monitoring your employees and third parties with Teramind today.
Meet your business goals, increase your employee productivity while keeping your data, IP, and systems safe.

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