What to monitor employee activity such as internet and app usage? This list of the best employee monitoring software for 2022 will help you pick the optimal monitoring solution for your business.
Employee monitoring software is for small business owners and large enterprises alike. Now matter how many employees you have there is a suitable employee management software for your business.
With the details provided in this list you will find the best employee monitoring software for tracking productivity of your remote workforce, securing your company against insider threats, and ensuring that employee performance is optimized.
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Employee monitoring software is a software solution that business owners use to track the computer activity of in-office and remote workers. Employers use employee monitoring software for insider threat detection, to monitor employee productivity, and to gain insights into how their employees work.
The best employee monitoring software gives business owners, managers, and IT staff members insights into how employees use technology in the workplace. These insights can be used to evaluate employee performance, as a time tracking tool for remote employees, or to analyze employee activity for high-risk or anomalous behavior.
Learn more: What is Employee Monitoring Software?
Now that we’ve covered what employee monitoring software is and the most important features, here are the best employee monitoring software vendors for you to evaluate.
Each of the best employee monitoring software in this list has its own unique strengths and weaknesses such as monitoring features, cloud-based and on-premises software deployment options, the ability to track work hours, employee privacy settings, or real-time user behavior analytics.
CurrentWare is the best employee monitoring software and security suite for windows devices. It includes remote employee monitoring software, device control software, web filtering software, and remote PC power management software. Each solution operates from the same central CurrentWare web console; they can be purchased separately for the most flexibility or as a full suite for the best value.
For added convenience, the web console can be configured to allow for remote access, making it one of the best employee monitoring software for managing remote workers. The user interface is simple and easy to navigate and can be accessed from mobile devices.
CurrentWare offers on-premises data storage with deployment options that support the monitoring and managing of remote workers. It can be installed transparently or in stealth mode, with the monitored employee oblivious to the software’s activities. Due to the lack of a mobile app or cross-platform support it is best used in Windows-based environments.
With CurrentWare you can monitor employee web browsing and software usage, prevent employees from using unauthorized USB devices, and block access to certain apps and websites that are against your company’s standards.
When monitoring internet use, CurrentWare’s employee monitoring software BrowseReporter differentiates between idle versus active time to indicate if the employee was actually using their computer and whether or not they were actively browsing a given website; this makes it the best employee monitoring software for understanding employee activity throughout the day.
Automated email alerts can be configured to notify managers, HR, and security personnel when unwanted activities occur such as visiting inappropriate websites or transferring files to USB storage devices.
Windows 11 Update: Each module of the CurrentWare security software suite (AccessPatrol, BrowseControl, BrowseReporter, enPowerManager) is compatible with Windows 11.
Each cybersecurity and employee monitoring software solution in the CurrentWare Suite operates from the same central CurrentWare web console; they can be purchased separately for the most flexibility or as a full suite for the best value.
BrowseReporter is the best employee monitoring software for tracking employee computer activity. It is the ideal tool for enforcing acceptable use policies and protecting your network against unwanted computer activities.
BrowseReporter captures the websites your employees visit and the applications they use. It includes a reporting utility for generating tabular and graphical user activity reports as well as a dashboard with real-time monitoring data.
It also provides screenshot monitoring features that allow you to record multiple screen displays when specific apps or websites are visited. These high-resolution and compressed screenshots can be automatically deleted after a set period of time to help you manage your storage and data retention requirements.
BrowseReporter’s productivity reports compare the time that employees spend on websites that are productive vs those that are not. These classifications come pre-configured and can be customized to better fit what is considered productive for your organization.
AccessPatrol is a device control and data loss prevention software that provides a proactive solution to prevent employees from stealing data with portable storage devices.
AccessPatrol helps prevent data leaks with device control features for a variety of peripheral devices including USBs, CD/DVDs, BlueTooth, WiFi, FireWire, iPods, and MP3s. Granular device control policies can be customized for each user, department, or organizational unit.
Company-authorized peripheral devices can be added to an allow list and temporary access codes can be generated by administrators to bypass restrictions in special circumstances. This provides companies with the means to monitor and restrict USB device use without affecting worker productivity and collaboration.
To further protect against data leaks AccessPatrol includes employee monitoring software features such as USB device usage detection alerts to notify the IT team of suspicious USB activities, making it a valuable data loss prevention, incident response, and security compliance tool.
The included USB activity reports are ideal audit trails for tracking how sensitive data is handled on portable storage devices, making it the best employee monitoring software for USB data security.
BrowseControl web filtering software controls internet access and blocks websites based on URLs and content categories. Granular internet restriction policies can be customized for each user, department, or organizational unit. It includes other device restriction features such as an app blocker, port filter, and internet restriction scheduler.
As with all of the solutions in the CurrentWare Suite, BrowseControl operates from the same central console. This allows it to be effortlessly combined with the employee monitoring software solutions for optimal insights and control over employee PC use.
enPowerManager is an effective solution for remotely managing PC power policies. The central console allows businesses to configure advanced power policies and establish automatic startup and shutdown times to conserve energy and reduce costs.
enPowerManager includes reports on computer power states such as logon/logoff times and reports with timestamped startup/shutdown/hibernate events.
These reports help technicians identify the uptime of remote endpoints and serves as valuable attendance tracking data, allowing managers to use enPowerManager as an employee monitoring software to verify that offsite employees are logging in and out during expected timeframes.
When purchased individually, BrowseReporter, AccessPatrol, and BrowseControl start at $3.99 USD per license per month for companies that purchase less than 100 licenses. enPowerManager starts at $1.99 USD per license per month.
The full CurrentWare Suite starts at $8.99 USD per license per month for companies that purchase less than 100 licenses. This advantageous pricing makes it the best employee monitoring software for businesses of all sizes.
There are discounts available for large volumes of licenses, educational organizations, non-profits, managed services providers, and businesses that pre-purchase multiple year plans.
CurrentWare offers a 14 day free trial of its employee monitoring software suite for up to 10 team members.
”As a ‘novice’ I was able to set up with help from support in about an hour. Previous software took forever and didn’t work as advertised; this software worked right out of the box. It allows my workers to use the internet and make money for the practice without distraction/temptation to use personal websites/email/shopping.”
– Gerard B., Office Manager
”The team and product have been nothing but a great experience. I’m glad I found this product because I was able to fill a hole in our security footprint quite easily. The team at Currentware reaches out quite frequently to check-in and even have me demo future deployments for feedback.”
– Nicholas S., IT Service Desk Supervisor
”I have found the Real-time monitoring in conjunction with the Active vs Total Browsing time reports to be extremely helpful in getting the full picture of how efficient our workforce really is.”
– Scott S., Sr Systems Engineer
CurrentWare’s employee monitoring software solutions are designed to be intuitive to use, making the solution an excellent choice for teams with mixed levels of technical expertise. Once deployed, applying policies and running employee activity reports is as easy as a few clicks.
At $3.99 USD per license per month for each solution, CurrentWare is the best-valued employee and computer monitoring software on the market for the capabilities it provides.
Many security software companies force you to purchase an entire suite of software, even if all you truly need is a portion of the capabilities offered.
CurrentWare’s à la carte sales model allows you to purchase the best employee monitoring software solution you need for the most flexibility while offering the option to purchase the full suite for the best value.
For example, if you only need to monitor employee internet and app usage you can purchase BrowseReporter without purchasing the other solutions. This gives you access to valuable productivity reports at a competitive price.
Many of CurrentWare’s monitoring features can even be enabled or disabled based on the needs of the organization. For example, in BrowseReporter you can selectively choose whether or not URL tracking, Windows title tracking, category tracking, bandwidth tracking, application tracking, screenshot monitoring, IP location tracking, and idle time tracking based on keyboard and mouse activity are active. This provides an extra safeguard for protecting employee privacy.
Companies with stringent data security and privacy compliance requirements want to have full control over their data. Fortunately, CurrentWare cannot access your data as all of its software is deployed and managed by your company. This makes it the best employee monitoring software for companies that want to ensure their data is not handled by a third party.
Note: Even when deployed on-premises CurrentWare is capable of remote employee monitoring.
Even the best employee monitoring software means nothing if support and development is lacking.
Operating systems and web browsers are constantly evolving so the product development team needs to regularly update their software—and they need an attentive customer support team to match.
There’s nothing more frustrating than hopelessly waiting for unanswered tickets to be resolved by inattentive support agents. Or worse—being bounced around to multiple agents that give you the exact same canned response and a link to a knowledge base article that you’ve already tried.
Fortunately, CurrentWare is well known for directly integrating customer feedback into their development cycle. Their technical support team is responsive to their customers and they are available via phone, email, and live chat.
While this will not be a concern for Windows environments, it’s worth noting. CurrentWare’s software is exclusively offered for Windows servers, laptops, and desktops; there is no Linux or Mac offering or an app for mobile devices.
If you would like to monitor mobile devices you may want to consider a dedicated mobile device management solution.
Note: CurrentWare is Windows 11 compatible and can be used to monitor employees in a Citrix environment when it’s used on Windows-based virtual machines.
While the CurrentWare Clients that are installed on the employee’s computer are compatible with Home editions of Windows , the CurrentWare Server is not. The server uses Windows Internet Information Services (IIS), which is not available on consumer editions of Windows .
Anyone looking to use the monitoring and web filtering software to manage their family’s internet usage will need to seek out a different company. CurrentWare is the best employee monitoring software for businesses, not families.
See CurrentWare’s system requirements for more information.
While CurrentWare is charged per user per month (PUPM), their plans are billed annually with a 12-month minimum. While there is a 14-day free trial available for testing, some companies may prefer to use employee monitoring software for a few months so they can see that it’s truly the best employee monitoring software before committing to a full year.
Though CurrentWare allows you to export reports to .csv files, they do not offer a public-facing API.
If you would like to further analyze employee data with Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, or Google Data Studio you will need to manually export .csv files or connect CurrentWare’s SQL database to your BI tools.
In addition, CurrentWare does not offer integrations to project management tools such as Asana and Trello.
CurrentWare’s software is delivered on a subscription basis. Their plans require an annual renewal to continue using the software, which may be cost-prohibitive for small businesses that prefer to purchase software once and invest in updates on an as-needed basis.
Fortunately the subscription included 1:1 customer support and regular features updates. Companies that want access to the best monitoring software features will benefit greatly from the subscription model.
CurrentWare does not offer managed hosting with their solution. CurrentWare is exclusively hosted and managed by your company, either on-premises or on a self-managed cloud server.
While this is ideal from a data privacy perspective, some companies may not be interested in configuring their own cloud server on AWS, GCP, or Azure.
Teramind is the best employee monitoring software for insider threat management.
With Teramind’s user activity monitoring features, you can capture just about everything your employees do on their computers: keystroke logging, location IP logging, productivity monitoring, real-time instant message reading, email monitoring, video screen recordings, and more.
This detailed level of activity monitoring and security features makes Teramind the best employee monitoring software for insider threat detection, though it may raise privacy concerns for employees.
Due to its high price and extremely comprehensive reporting, Teramind’s employee monitoring tools are likely far more robust than what is needed to increase productivity and efficiency. Features like basic internet activity monitoring are more than sufficient to improve employee productivity.
While this intense level of detail may feel overly invasive for what is needed to track productivity and enforce acceptable use policies, it is useful for the military and other highly regulated environments where insiders need to be carefully monitored for indicators of compromise. For these environments Teramind may be one of the best employee monitoring software options.
Teramind allows you to set behavior rules with regular expressions. This allows the IT team to define granular parameters for when they are alerted of user activity, making it easier to detect a potential data breach or insider threat.
|Starter||$10 USD||$5 USD|
|UAM||$20.83 USD||$10.42 USD|
|DLP||$25 USD||$12.50 USD|
Teramind has 3 different pricing tiers – Teramind Starter, Teramind UAM, and Teramind DLP. Each tier adds additional functionality; starter offers basic monitoring, UAM offers more granular monitoring, and DLP adds content discovery and data fingerprinting features.
The cost of each tier depends on whether you opt to store data on Teramind’s cloud servers or host the solution on-premises.
The cloud offering is priced per user per month; the on-premises offering is priced per endpoint per month.
Teramind offers a 14 day free trial for the on-premises version of their employee monitoring software or a 7-day free trial for the cloud version.
If you need to monitor everything and anything your employees do, Teramind’s DLP and user activity monitoring features can capture it. You can even capture live audio and video recordings, making it the best employee monitoring software for workforce surveillance.
“Teramind is an amazing software and it has so much features that I can’t even remember all of them.” – Andrigo F., Support Analyst
“Overall, Teramind is far more advanced than the other competitors.” – Ricky H., Government Administration
Alongside the monitoring features Teramind also provides a policy and rule engine that allows you to create your own rules with a visual policy and rule editor. These rules allow you to customize the exact parameters that need to happen before an administrator is notified.
Teramind’s data loss prevention employee monitoring plans (Teramind DLP) also includes content discovery and data classification features that help businesses identify structured and unstructured sensitive information that is on their network.
In addition to user activity monitoring, Teramind allows you to configure rules that notify, block, redirect, log out, or even lock-out a user based on what they do on their computers. These rules can be used to block websites employees may try to visit and external storage devices.
Teramind supports Windows 7+, Citrix XenApp & XenDesk, Windows Server 2012+, VMware Horizon, and Mac OSX. This makes it a viable option for environments with both Windows and Mac computers that need to be monitored and controlled.
“It is an expensive software. Even choosing the on-premise version (which should be the cheaper option), it costs a lot. I think they could lower the price…” – Andrigo F., Support Analyst
Teramind is by far the most expensive of the solutions featured in this article. At the absolute minimum Teramind costs $5 USD per endpoint per month for the on-premises starter tier, going up to $25 USD per user per month for the hosted DLP tier.
“It can be a bit daunting if you are new to tools of the sort, and monitoring in general. The massive customization, especially with alerts, requires a decent amount of system knowledge, both Teramind & OS.” – Timothy O., Desktop Support Technician
“It needed to be set up by an experienced IT Department. I tried to do it for my team and nothing was working.” – Paul R., Marketing
The robust features of Teramind also makes it an intimidating piece of software to manage. Organizations without a dedicated and experienced IT department to manage the deployment should consider implementing another solution.
Teramind admins will need to dedicate time to thoroughly understand how to make use out of all of the features offered. They’ll also benefit from familiarizing themselves with regular expressions and how to discern false positives against actual threats.
“Buyer beware. The platform is very advanced from the looks of it but since I have signed up 2 weeks ago, the system hasn’t tracked time or tasks properly and after spending hours on remote sessions, chat and email support, the system is still not working and when I request additional support they have nor record of all of the tickets, meetings, etc. As a new customer, this experience has been horrible. Again the platform may be advanced but all that technology doesn’t do any good if you can’t use it and support can’t support you.” – William S., Founder (2020)
“Problems seem to happen a lot, which we understand about software, but every time we bring to the attention of support, we get “we’re aware of this and working on it”… Well, why aren’t we getting notified about the issues when they happen, and why do they take so long to fix?” – Chris F., CTO (2018)
“A bit expensive for a mid size company. Tech support is outside N. America and the only way to reach them is via email, a phone support 24/7 would have been better.” – Raj K., Consultant (2018)
“The support is also a bit lacking – chat/email only and can be slow or needing multiple prompts for communication. I also don’t like how if there is an outage of reporting it doesn’t seem to be possible to get logs from the software that would indicate the reason why. I have asked and received no response from their support staff, which was irritating.” – Ben M., IT Technician (2017)
Teramind’s Capterra reviews showcase mixed opinions about their support team. While Teramind does offer a self-serve knowledge base, email, and live chat, many reviewers have found themselves being ignored by their support staff. Teramind support is also notably not available by phone call; the number on their site is only for their sales team.
On the other hand, other reviewers have spoken favorably about their support:
Historically, even the best employee monitoring software has been thought of as a form of workplace surveillance. The widespread availability of monitoring software with stealth modes further emphasizes the desire for some workplaces to be discreet about their network monitoring practices.
ActivTrak takes a different approach to employee monitoring by emphasizing “insight, not oversight” and focusing on workforce analytics vs traditional employee monitoring.
To help with their focus on business intelligence and workforce analytics they offer a paid add-on called ActivConnect that allows integration between ActivTrak and BI software, allowing for further employee productivity analysis and user behavior analytics than what is offered natively in the platform.
ActivTrak offers a free plan with all the standard features for up to three users that includes 3GB of storage.
Being one of the few employee monitoring software providers to offer a free plan makes them a suitable choice for small business owners that want to track team productivity on a small scale.
Their advanced tier is $9 USD per user per month and includes unlimited storage along with extra functionality to reports, alarm-triggered screenshots, and USB device & file transfer detection.
Their $15 USD PUPM tier provides greater customer support and adds extra productivity analysis features such as goal setting/tracking, benchmarks, work efficiency tracking, inefficiency analysis, and a tech usage and adoption tracker.
ActivTrak offers a 14 day free trial of their employee monitoring software.
“So many times, support disappears as soon as a sale is made. Not here. They follow through on every question and make sure things are done right.” – Wade M., IT
Many of ActivTrak’s Capterra reviews note that their customer support is responsive and knowledgeable, which is essential for any software product.
“What I liked most about it is the ease of deployment and the stealth of the service, it is almost undetectable which makes it the perfect tool for the consulting services we offer as a company.” – Nestor S., Founder
Once the initial setup is complete, ActivTrak is easy to use for novice and advanced users alike.
For an extra $2 USD per user per month ActivTrak can be connected to business intelligence tools, Salesforce, Jira, Zapier, and other tools via the ActivConnect API. This integration can be valuable for larger organizations that want to further analyze aggregated data.
“We are not exactly excited about it’s pricing structure.” – Wade M., IT
Though ActivTrak is notably less expensive than Teramind, their lowest-featured paid tier is still $9 USD per user per month. Getting access to their API adds an additional $2 USD per user per month. For small teams ActivTrak is free for up to three users.
This pricing structure can make ActivTrak a cost prohibitive or less desirable employee productivity monitoring solution for companies that want to monitor all of their employees with less of an investment.
“The software has a tendency to create multiple “users” (people you are tracking) for the same person. One record for the computer, another for their associated Windows/Chrome identity and sometimes others if they have multiple user accounts on the same computer. This can cause you to have 3 or more user records to track for a single person. You can group them together and use an alias, which is great, but the overall number of users reporting will affect your billing plan.” – Brandon S., President
In addition to the steep pricing, ActivTrak’s licensing model has caused some issues.
Once the ActivTrak agent is installed, any user that logs into a computer where the agent is installed will automatically be tracked and counted against user licensing. New user profiles on machines that are not domain connected will also count as a new user within ActivTrak.
As ActivTrak charges based on the perceived user count, this has led to unexpected charges on some customers’ statements.
All ActivTrak deployments must be stored on ActivTrak’s cloud server. Companies that require or desire greater control over their employee productivity data may prefer a solution that can be installed on their own self-managed servers.
Time Doctor is the best employee time tracking software for freelancers and agencies that need to track billable hours on projects. Unlike traditional employee tracking software that emphasizes a top-down approach, Time Doctor is commonly used directly by employees.
Time Doctor includes features that are optimized for managing projects, self-monitoring, and manual time tracking. Higher tiers provide more traditional employee monitoring features such as application and website usage monitoring that are intended to help verify time tracking.
Time Doctor comes in three tiers – Basic, Standard, and Premium. The Basic tier is $6 USD per user per month and includes 1 month of data storage, time tracking, project tracking, and activity tracking for 1 group.
The Standard tier adds website and application usage monitoring, up to three groups, 6 months of data storage, payroll, and 24-hour email/chat support.
The Premium plan adds white glove support options, unlimited groups/storage, and the ability to provide clients with logins to the platform.
Time Doctor offers a 14 day free trial of their employee monitoring software.
“Time Doctor allows me to make sure my employees are working and billing their time without me being a nag.” – Alicia D., CEO
Time Doctor is best known for its time tracking capabilities. Time Doctor makes it easy to track employee time on projects with insights into how much time is spent per task. You can select total hours worked per day, week, or per month.
Time Doctor includes an optional idle time tracker that can alert an employee when they have been idle for too long. It will ask them if they would like to count their idle time as work time or if they would like to discard it, making accidentally forgetting to clock out an issue of that past.
Time Doctor also allows employees to review and manually adjust their time cards with a note to their manager, avoiding concerns that automatic time tracking will miss work time.
Of all the employee monitoring and time tracking solutions on this list, Time Doctor has the most robust integrations. Time Doctor can sync with common tools such as FreshBooks, Jira, Asana, Trello, GitHub, Basecamp, Slack, Salesforce, Teamwork, QuickBooks, and more.
Time Doctor is available on a variety of platforms including a Google Chrome extension, and Android/iOS mobile app, Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows.
Note: The mobile apps allows remote and travelling employees to track their time while away from the computer. It is not a mobile device monitoring software.
Time Doctor does not offer an on-premises option for their employee time tracking software. Companies that require or desire greater control over their employee’s data may prefer a solution that can be installed on their own self-managed servers.
“The screenshots are taken randomly which is a breach of privacy if you were on a window that has a personal email open. Whoever is the administrator that sees your screenshots taken by the system will also be able to see your personal information. One has to be rather careful when using TimeDoctor that no personal window or task is open so as to not share that info in a random screenshot.” – Anonymous Reviewer
While Time Doctor is popular among freelancers, there are some features that are a privacy concern for those that use personal devices for work purposes.
As noted by the Capterra review, it’s critical that the administrator does not enable the random screenshots features for personal devices as it may capture sensitive information. If random screenshots need to be captured, enabling the Blur Screenshots feature can help reduce this issue, though it may make the screenshots less useful.
Unfortunately, if personal information is captured deleting the screenshot isn’t necessarily the best option as doing so causes the associated work time to also be removed.
Time Doctor includes a feature that prompts employees to confirm that they are still working when they’ve been idle on their computers. If they do not answer the prompt, the Time Doctor will automatically stop tracking their time.
While this feature can be helpful, it has also caused inaccurate time keeping and stress for employees that perform work-adjacent tasks outside of their workstation. It may also unfairly dock time for employees that are taking bathroom breaks, paid lunch breaks, watching training videos, attending meetings, and other employee behavior that doesn’t require keyboard and mouse activity.
Workpuls (which rebranded to be Insightful in 2022) provides employee time tracking and activity monitoring features that are similar to Time Doctor’s.
What makes Workpuls the best employee monitoring software for privacy-focused organizations is its ability to allow employees to enable or disable the monitoring as they see fit.
This makes it a viable option for companies that allow employees to use company-provided devices for personal tasks, though it is less ideal for security-conscious organizations that need audit trails of employee computer activity.
Like many companies on this list, Workpuls offers multiple tiers for their product. Their tiers are: Employee Monitoring, Time Tracking, Automatic Time Mapping, and an Enterprise plan.
The Workpuls Employee Monitoring tier is $4.80 USD PUPM. It includes basic activity reporting, productivity reports, and timekeeping functionalities. These features are suitable for understanding basic employee behavior.
The Time Tracking tier is $6.40 USD PUPM. It builds on the Employee Monitoring tier with the addition of project management and task-specific time tracking features. It also provides the option to purchase add-ons that allow for payroll integration, budgeting, and client login.
The Automatic Time Mapping tier is $12 USD PUPM. It builds on the Time Tracking tier with the addition of automated time and attendance tracking. This tier also includes all of Workpuls’ add-ons such as raw data, payroll integration, manual screenshots, and alerts.
The Enterprise tier pricing is specific to each customer. It includes all of the features of the previous tiers with the addition of on-premises deployment options, role-based access, audit logs, a dedicated account manager, 24/7 support, and a service-level agreement (SLA).
Workpuls offers a 7 day free trial of their employee monitoring software .
“We have found Workpuls to be the most accurate time tracker with the ability to customize Idle time outs as per how your employees work.“ – Laura M., Director of Operations/Owner
“When we realized that we needed a time tracking solution we were not able to find the best fit for a long time because there is no other app that only focuses on work; all other solutions track the team’s private time as well. With this one we are able to filter and ignore anything that is not work related so our colleagues don’t need to worry about their privacy while we still have proof of their work and engagement.“ – Boris Z., Head of Operations
“In general, Workpuls is pretty intuitive for our management, allows team leaders to manage their own departments, and let employees fill in their own time spent on meetings and workshops“ – Andjelka D., CEO
Though the on-premises version is exclusively for the Enterprise tier, having the flexibility to install the software on a privately managed server is a valuable option for many companies.
Unlike traditional top-down employee monitoring software providers, Workpuls provides a variety of features that allow employees to be directly involved in the monitoring process.
“Easy to use (no need of special training) – Easy to follow each employee and department and compare them” – Hugo C., CTO
“Extremely easy to use and you get a personal demo from them before you start the trial.” – Kashif R., CEO
WorkPuls’ employee monitoring software UI is simple and easy to use. They also include an integrated interactive knowledge base/live chat function to help new admins learn their way around the console, making it a user friendly monitoring tool for admins that are less familiar with technology.
“It lacks a few features but the price they advertise is the price you pay. It needs sortable reports which you can export.” – Kimberly H., Business Owner
Though Workpuls handles basic time and activity tracking, it is not as robust as many of its competitors. It lacks bandwidth usage tracking, email alerts, USB activity tracking, website content categorization, and automatic data culling based on custom retention periods.
“The reports could still get more updated in the sense that when I select the details for the month, I should see the aggregate totals of each employee as a spread and not a daily tabular for each employee in one place. In this case, I have to extract the details and apply a PIVOT to come to the totals of each employee.” – Rohit T., Sales Manager
“I think the email reports could be improved. They are not that intuitive or flexible, and I’m still waiting for this to be improved.” – Anonymous Reviewers
“Email reports are fixed and not that intuitive, they promised that it will be improved in the next iteration, but it has been 45 days since…” – Boris Z., Head of Operations
The inflexibility and limitations of Workpuls’ email reports have been a notable frustration for its users.
In addition to the notes from the Capterra reviews, the company performance reports can only be sent at midnight at the end of the period selected in the report. The email reports can also only be sent to a limit of 3 email addresses.
Since only Enterprise plan accounts can access the on-premises version of Workpuls, you must buy licenses for at least 100 employees to store data on your own servers. This is not ideal for smaller companies that need self-hosted employee monitoring software due to data security or privacy compliance requirements.
The best employee monitoring tools provide business leaders with the data they need to make informed decisions. Consider these key employee monitoring features and other aspects when evaluating your employee monitoring software vendors.
Since monitoring tools need to integrate with increasingly complex systems it is critical that the vendor allows its customers to contact customer support for technical issues. When deciding on a software vendor, look for one that has telephone-based support during hours that your business is typically open.
From an account management perspective, a dedicated account manager will ensure that you are able to seamlessly add new licenses to your account as your business scales. Your dedicated account manager is also an important liaison to the software vendor, allowing you to provide direct feedback on the product.
One of the most common uses of employee monitoring software is website tracking. By monitoring employee internet use in a company can ensure that websites such as social media, pornography, and phishing sites are not being accessed on company devices.
Monitoring employee activity in this way improves employee productivity by providing business owners with evidence of excessive web browsing. Website tracking is also an important security feature as high-risk user behavior could help compromise the network.
When evaluating the best employee monitoring systems for your needs, consider how much website tracking details you need. Details such as timestamps, URLs, and website categorization all help you understand how employees are using company devices.
Using employee monitoring software to track the computer applications used by employees helps measure software license utilization rates, identify the excessive use of unproductive software, and detect unauthorized programs.
Without this visibility, a business could fall victim to shadow IT related security vulnerabilities. While not all unauthorized programs are malicious it’s critical that monitoring tools are in place to detect any software that needs to be managed by the IT department.
Time tracking with employee monitoring software can provide incredibly valuable insights, but only if the productivity reports are truly accurate.
To get the most accurate reports, you need to track user activity in a way that differentiates between what the user is actually spending time on vs what is simply open on their computer.
Employee monitoring software that tracks active time will track how long applications and websites are actively used by the users, whereas employee monitoring software that only tracks total time report a list of applications and websites that were open on the computer without properly contextualizing whether the employee was actually using them or if they were simply opened and left running in the background.
The best employee monitoring software will have the ability to report what employees are truly doing. The reporting of active time allows IT administrators and managers to trust and understand the reports generated, giving them the opportunity to generate actionable outcomes from the employee activity data.
Organizations that have a legal requirement to use employee monitoring software need to ensure that the data is accessible for review.
Employee monitoring software with configurable data retention settings makes auditing, compliance, and storage less of a hassle for large-scale deployments. The ideal employee monitoring software will allow the organization to store the data indefinitely to ensure that records are maintained as long as needed or have the activity logs periodically purged.
Automated purging saves organizations considerable costs on storage and administration as they will not need to manually purge the data, purchase new storage hardware, or upgrade to a greater storage volume wFh their cloud storage provider.
This automated culling is especially important for any business that is subject to data privacy legislation. These regulations typically require that employee information is only kept for as long as it is relevant and necessary for the company.
The modern workforce is no longer exclusively in-house and 9-5 – they are a mix of traditional and non-traditional staff such as remote workers, transient workers, hybrid workers, contractors, and temporary workers.
The rising demand for flexible work options means that employee monitoring software solutions need to have the flexibility and features to support the unique needs of a remote workforce.
To monitor out-of-office employees, the software must support one of the following:
Device monitoring will track all activity on a specific device whereas user monitoring will track the individual user regardless of the device they use.
In a workplace setting where the employer wants to understand the browsing habits of individual employees, device-level insights may not provide sufficient details as their employees may not have a designated workstation (in the case of hot desking) or they may share devices with their coworkers.
When selecting an employee monitoring software vendor, organizations should ensure that monitoring is available for both device and user groups to provide them with the best flexibility for their needs. Having access to both features is excellent for tailoring the insights reported based on the unique needs of managers, human resources, and IT administrators.
User grouping features such as Organizational Units (OUs) within Active Directory allow administrators to efficiently implement and adjust bespoke settings based on department, location, user, the types of information handled, and other important considerations.
Bespoke settings ensure that the solution does not cause a bottleneck in productivity. Inflexible employee monitoring software will cause less at-risk users to have the same policy restrictions and monitoring policies as users that perform tasks with sensitive information such as personal health information (PHI).
For large enterprises and other expanding organizations, the ability to group users and devices based on location, department or role is crucial to limit the time investment required in managing the monitoring solution.
Best-in-class employee monitoring software solutions allow for granular control of the product’s features including who can run reports, who has access to a given group’s reports, and who will receive automated email reports based on the activity of the designated groups.
Real-time alerts and other notifications are a critical component of insider threat detection as they can be configured to alert administrators to insider threats engaging in suspicious or risky behavior.
Real time alerts can include:
Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity. Employee monitoring tools help managers with employee disengagement analysis by allowing them to detect early warning signs of disengagement such as excessive unproductive web browsing.
A Forbes article has even stated that the average employee steals approximately 4.5 hours per week from their employer, totaling nearly 6 full work weeks per year. This costs businesses hundreds of billions of dollars a year worldwide.
Furthermore, according to statistics from Salary.com a staggering 64% of employees visit non-business-related websites every day.
Of that 64%…
While it’s true that the time an employee spends on non-work sites isn’t a sole indicator of productivity, excessive waste of company time quickly adds up. Continuously shirking ones duties in favor of browsing social media is also a potential sign of disengagement that needs to be addressed.
Tracking employee activity with an employee monitoring solution provides managers with detailed reports that are valuable for detecting counterproductive employee behavior such as company time theft, poor employee attendance, and how many employees are spending excessive time browsing social media sites.
In addition to detecting and resolving employee behavior issues, these tools allow you to track employee behavior over time to see how your highest performers contribute to workplace productivity trends. You’ll also see when those with flexible schedules are most active, making it easier to schedule shifts when synchronous collaboration is needed.
This workforce productivity data provides business leaders with insights into how their workforce operates, allowing them to make informed business and task management decisions.
Many employee productivity tools will include employee self-service features, allowing employees to access their data to self-manage their productivity and transparently see the data that is collected by their employer’s employee monitoring tool.
How an Employee Monitoring Solution Tracks Productivity
Want to monitor employee productivity? With CurrentWare’s employee productivity tracking software monitoring employees is as easy as installing the software agent on your computers and reviewing detailed reports from the convenience of a web browser.
An employee monitoring solution is not just used for employee performance management; some have insider threat detection capabilities that make it a valuable data loss prevention software solution.
In the realm of User behavior analytics (UBA), employee monitoring tools help businesses discover signs of insider threat risks such as anomalous/suspicious behavior, transferring sensitive data to portable storage devices or personal cloud storage accounts, logins outside of normal work hours, and counterproductive work behaviors.
The Software Usage and Waste Report 2016 report from 1E found that as much as 38% of enterprise software is underutilized or simply not being used at all. The total cost of underutilized software to these businesses is estimated to be $34 billion per year.
In addition to tracking productivity, employee monitoring solutions can show how much time employees spend on SaaS and desktop software usage. With accurate software usage data of their workforce a business can decommission underused software and consolidate redundant solutions, resulting in significant savings on software wastage.
When implementing employee monitoring solutions it’s important to be aware of the potential privacy impact and legal compliance requirements of employee data collection. What data is collected, how it’s collected, how it’s used, and how it’s protected are all important factors from both a compliance and employee morale perspective.
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It depends. If your employer allows you to use your personal devices for work purposes they may require you to install corporate applications that could feasibly capture details such as internet browsing, applications used, geolocation, etc.
That said, from a legal perspective employers are seldom justified in monitoring the computer activity of employee-owned devices.
Furthermore, under the vast majority of circumstances, an employer will not be justified in secretly monitoring your personal computer. They will be required to notify you through a workplace monitoring policy, acceptable use policy, or similar company policy.
There are times where your personal activity may be logged:
– When using employer-owned devices
– When using your employer’s WiFi or VPN
– When participating in a BYOD program where you consent to the monitoring
As a best practice, you should consider all activity on employer-owned assets to be monitored. If participating in a BYOD program you should use a virtual machine or a container to keep all company software and files separate from your personal activity.
“The employer should normally use or disclose personal information only for the purposes that it collected it for, and keep it only as long as it's needed for those purposes, unless it has the employee's consent to do something else with it, or is legally required to use or disclose it for other purposes.”
– Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
“Statutes, both federal and state, place limits on what employee information employers can disclose. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to keep information about an employee’s medical condition separate from the employee’s personnel file and treat it as a confidential medical record.”
– Wiley Wheeler, P.C. (USA)
Generally speaking, your employer can only disclose private information about you if the disclosure is required by law or if there is a legitimate business need.
That said, if you gave your employer consent to collect, process, and store your personal information for a specific purpose they may be justified in sharing it with others—so long as there is a legitimate business reason to do so and the use of your data is compatible with the purpose for which it was originally collected.
Note: Employee privacy and data protection laws will vary depending on your jurisdiction. Please consult with a professional for legal advice.
In most cases, yes. According to Workplace Fairness, a California-based non-profit focusing on employee rights, employers can legally monitor nearly everything an employee does at work as long as there is a legitimate business interest that doesn’t outweigh the privacy impacts on the employee.
In the majority of cases, companies are allowed to use software to track how workplace technology is used. The data collected by these tools are used to protect the legitimate business interests of the employer. These interests include managing productivity, ensuring the security of networks and data, and tracking the performance of corporate assets.
That said, CurrentWare has customers in over 50 countries, each with their own unique legal considerations. Legislation concerning employee privacy, data security, and other compliance needs will vary greatly depending on the relevant jurisdiction. As legislation is often incredibly complex and subject to change over time, the best practice is to consult directly with lawyers that specialize in your organization’s industry and jurisdiction.
Employee monitoring laws also vary state-by-state. For example, according to the American Bar Association employers in Connecticut and Delaware are allowed to monitor employees so long as they give notice prior to monitoring their e-mail communications or internet access. For more information about employee monitoring laws in the US, see this article on workplace surveillance from WorkplaceFairness.org
Although the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not specifically address employee monitoring, it does include requirements for providing notice about data collection. Individual member states are also permitted to enact their own requirements and limitations regarding workplace surveillance and employee privacy.
Yes. Monitoring employees who work from home is a common practice among businesses that want to ensure the productivity and security of their remote workers. In the majority of cases, workers must be notified in advance that their technology usage will be tracked.
The monitoring software used to manage remote workers will track a number of activities including internet browsing (social media browsing, search history, active/idle time), software usage, and bandwidth consumption.
These tools are used to manage job productivity, ensure that each worker is following the company’s rules, and protect business assets against insider threats.
Employees with concerns about being tracked while working from home should consult with their employer or a legal professional.
It depends. While being transparent about employee monitoring is the recommended best practice, giving notice to employees is not always required.
The majority of jurisdictions require each worker to be made aware of their employer’s intent to monitor. Some jurisdictions with greater rules and laws will further dictate that employees must be made explicitly aware of what data is captured, how it will be used (such as productivity management), and who will have access to it.
As a best practice, you should consider all activity on employer-owned assets to be tracked.
What is considered the best employee monitoring software will depend on the needs of your company. Business owners have plenty of monitoring features to consider such as time tracking, insider threat detection, keystroke logging, stealth mode, GPS tracking, compatibility with a remote workforce, and internet tracking capabilities.
With the details provided in this list you will find several viable options for the best employee monitoring tools to improve productivity of remote employees, secure your company against insider threats, and ensure that employee performance is optimized.
Looking for more security and productivity software? Check out this list of the best internet filtering solutions.
Ready to get advanced insights into how your employees spend their time? Reach out to the CurrentWare team for a demo of BrowseReporter, CurrentWare’s employee and computer monitoring software.