How to Monitor Employee Internet Usage
BrowseReporter is a powerful employee internet usage monitoring software to monitor internet activity in the workplace.
“CurrentWare is the most important tool in my company for increasing my employees’ productivity!”
Stanley, IT Director, KRUPS INC.
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Employee Internet Usage Monitoring with BrowseReporter
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Thanks for checking out the latest CurrentWare how-to video. Today we will cover How to Monitor Internet Use.
If you like this or other videos we’ve produced, hit the subscribe button below. Stay tuned to the end to learn how to get a free trial of the software I demo today.
In a previous video, we covered some of the benefits of monitoring employees including for productivity reasons, to avoid legal liability and to prevent cyber threats. In this video, we’re going to cover how to monitor internet use and some of the industry best practices.
We’re going to be using BrowseReporter, CurrentWare’s computer monitoring solution.
This solution requires an agent to be installed on your employee’s computers. Once installed, their computer activity is streamed to your server where you can run reports and view their activity.
To start off, we recommend you determine which browsers are being used by your company. This is a good time to look at your company’s policy and determine which default browser you recommend. You can also find out which browsers your employees are using with BrowseReporter’s application monitoring report. In addition, you can actually block the installation or use of other browsers by using CurrentWare’s BrowseControl solution.
The next step is to figure out what time period you want to look at. You can pull reports on demand at any desired time period including last 7 days, last month or a custom date range.
For this example, we’ll look at yesterday’s results. Now you can actually schedule these reports to email automatically to the appropriate person on your team, but in this case we are going to use on-demand reports, pulling the reports up as needed.
So let’s jump in and start with a snapshot report on employee internet use based on productivity.
With the CurrentWare Employee Productivity Report, you get a simple snapshot into how much time was spent on websites that are deemed to be productive. The definition of productive is based on our proprietary system of ranking each website based on whether it’s productive, unproductive or neutral. You can even change the categorization of websites based on your business needs to make this report more helpful.
Looking at the CurrentWare console, we’ll pull up the employee productivity report for employee Conan. We will look at yesterday’s performance and see that Conan was only 24% productive. The majority of his time was spent on Social Media and Sports websites vs. work related tasks.
The next way to assess productivity is to see which sites someone has spent the most time on. For example, if you know the employee is on the sales team and should be spending the majority of time on salesforce.com, you can investigate and see which are the main sites they are really browsing.
By pulling up the Top Domains visited report, we can see exactly which domains Conan browsed yesterday by Active Time and Total Time. Similar to the previous report, we see the majority of his time was spent on Facebook and ESPN.
One of the most interesting features of CurrentWare’s internet monitoring reports are related to tracking the actual activity of a user and not letting the data get convoluted with different tabs or windows that a user has open.
BrowseReporter has 3 different ways to determine how the internet and applications are being used:
Active Time measures how long the current window is in focus, giving you the most accurate report on where users spent their time on websites and applications. BrowseReporter has the capability to determine which website tab was active at the top of the screen so you get extremely accurate reporting on where they spent their time.
Total Time measures the total duration the window is opened for, from the start time until the end time regardless of whether the window was in focus or not. Not every user acts the same. Some users switch between two monitors. Some like to stream content in the background. No matter what their behaviors are, BrowseReporter can track the total time they spent on the websites whether or not they were focused on the window.
Finally, Idle time measures how long the user is away from his computer after the mouse and keyboard stopped moving. By default, idle time is tracked after 20 minutes of inactivity. Time tracking should be fair. If your users are not in front of their computers, BrowseReporter will separate the time tracked into idle time so you can filter it out if you need to during report generation.
Now if you want to investigate the exact website pages that the employee visited, you can use the Sites visited report. This report breaks down each url in detail along with how much time was spent on each page.
This lets you distill down if they were looking at pages related to work on those domains or if it was something more personal. This is specifically helpful for domains like youtube.com which for certain industries or roles can provide value, but knowing which exact video was watched can help you understand the use case by the employee.
Finally, we recommend investigating productivity by looking at employee keyword searches.
This report allows you to Review the exact search keywords used by employees and Identify employees that are distracted or struggling with specific topics. In addition, you can also discover employee sentiment and monitor for high-risk search terms such as attempts to find adult-oriented websites.
In this keywords searched example we can see employee Greg has searched lots of personal items into google over the past working days. This helps you understand where they may be spending their time and what they are browsing in google.
That’s it for this video on how to monitor internet use with BrowseReporter. If you have any thoughts on the reports or suggestions we’ve covered in this video, feel free to comment below..
If you’d like to give BrowseReporter or any of the other CurrentWare Solutions a try, please check our free trial at currentware.com/download or get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help!
How do employers monitor internet usage at work?
Companies ranging from small businesses to large enterprises use BrowseReporter to identify users who are browsing social media, causing network congestion by abusing company bandwidth, visiting inappropriate websites, or using unauthorized software on company computers.
With BrowseReporter’s internet activity reports, Management and Human Resources can use employee internet usage data to make informed decisions when managing employee productivity and enforcing employee internet usage policies.
Make data-informed management decisions with user activity tracking
BrowseReporter’s detailed employee internet usage reports provide managers with the activity data they need to understand how in-house and remote teams are spending their time at work.
- Identify actively disengaged employees that are wasting work time on social media, computer games, and other distractions
- Discover peaks and valleys in productivity and performance for your entire workforce, specific departments, and individual employees
- Find out when remote workers and other employees with flexible schedules are typically working the most
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Enforcing acceptable Internet use policies has never been easier
Our employee monitoring software gives you detailed evidence of web activity in your company, making it the perfect complement to existing internet use policies.
- Empower anti-harassment initiatives with evidence of employees that are visiting inappropriate websites at work
- Receive alerts when employees visit high-risk websites including porn, torrents, and unauthorized file sharing websites
- Combine BrowseReporter with BrowseControl Web Filter to block websites
How does BrowseReporter work?
1. CurrentWare Client
Easily deploy our Client on your employees’ computers to start tracking their website and application usage activities using our installer or Active Directory.
2. CurrentWare Server
Data tracked by the Client is uploaded to the Server database for storage. This is an on-premise Server for increased security and storage flexibility.
3. CurrentWare Console
Choose from 20+ reports to run from. Get answers to questions such as “Which websites are my users distracted by?” and “Who are my top performers?”
Employee Monitoring Reports
BrowseReporter offers 20+ internet, bandwidth, and computer application usage reports, giving you access to the data you need.
Review employee computer usage habits to identify productivity leaks, detect excessive bandwidth usage, and attempts to access undesirable websites.
Sites Visited Report
Review your employee's Internet activities. This report is the master log file of your users' browsing history, giving you critical insights into unproductive web browsing habits and time sinks.
See what portion of your employee's days are spent on unproductive websites. Use the predefined productive/unproductive classifications or customize them to suit what's considered productive for your employees and your organization.
Total Browsing Time
Get a list of all your users' total browsing time to identify which user has been browsing on the Internet the most. Identify top Internet users from your organization based on groups.
Search Engine Keywords
Ensure that company search engine activity is relevant. Review the search terms used by employees within your organization, the dates and times they searched, and the search engines used.
Bandwidth Usage (URL Listing)
See the bandwidth activity for each website that your users have visited and discovered which domains they spent most of the bandwidth browsing on.
How do you monitor employee internet usage while respecting privacy?
- Be transparent about employee monitoring. Employers should notify their employees of internet monitoring through acceptable use policies, team meetings, and periodic reminders.
- Not monitor more than necessary. Employers should use the least invasive method of monitoring that fulfills the goals of the business.
- Protect employee monitoring data. The internet usage data of employees may be sensitive. Employers should protect this data the same way they would treat other sensitive data.
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Detailed Internet Activity Reports
Intuitive and Comprehensive Employee Monitoring Data
BrowseReporter provides an easy to use reporting utility that generates comprehensive employee internet usage reports. At a glance you can review the websites visited by your employees, the times they visited these websites, and the total duration spent on each website.
View your employee monitoring reports as a general summary for quick overviews, or switch to the detailed view for further insight. Review user activity data to decide what websites should be blocked or monitored.
You can customize the data presented in your reports based on time, date, individual users and specific computers.
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BrowseReporter Employee and Computer Monitoring Features
Take automatic screenshots or remotely view desktops
Provide your employees with on-demand access to their own user activity data
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BrowseReporter Employee Monitoring Software FAQ
Are there any limits to the free trial?
The free trial of our employee monitoring tools are fully functional. You can deploy them on up to 10 computers for 14 days, which is perfect for testing the solution out with a small team.
If you need more time or more computers to properly evaluate CurrentWare’s monitoring software in your organization, reach out to our team. You can call us, email us, or use our live chat.
How much does BrowseReporter cost?
When purchased as a standalone solution, BrowseReporter costs $2.99 USD per license per month, paid annually.
The final costs depend on the number of licenses, how many years are purchased in advance, and other factors. For the most accurate costs, reach out to our sales team for a quote.
Will BrowseReporter Continue Monitoring Employees When They Leave the Network?
Yes. The employee computer monitoring software client agent that is installed on the employee’s computer has the ability to monitor computer activity and track productivity even if it does not have a connection with the CurrentWare Server.
When your employees disconnect from your network the client agent will store their activity and productivity data locally on the device. Once they reconnect to the network their data will be synced to the CurrentWare server.
Note: If you wish to get activity data from computers outside of the network they will need to be able to communicate with the CurrentWare Server. Once a connection is reestablished you will receive your employee’s computer usage data and any CurrentWare policy updates will take effect.
Will My Employees Know They Are Being Monitored?
Depending on the needs of your environment and the laws of your jurisdiction you can use our software to monitor employee computer activity with or without its transparency-enhancing features enabled.
Stealth Employee Monitoring
BrowseReporter operates in stealth mode by default.
In stealth mode, the CurrentWare Client is not visible in the system tray or control panel of the employee’s computer.
Transparent Employee Monitoring
BrowseReporter’s optional transparency-boosting features make it the best computer monitoring software for being transparent about tracking employee computer activity.
These features helps your teams remain aware that their computer activity is being monitored in the workplace.
- Monitoring Notifications: Display a custom message that periodically reminds your employees that their internet and application activity is being monitored by BrowseReporter
- Show In System Tray: Enable this feature to make the CurrentWare Client visible in the system tray of your employee’s computers.
- End-User Reports: Enable this feature to give your employees access to their own computer activity data. This lets them see exactly what internet and application usage data is being shared.
Learn More: Best Practices for Monitoring Employees
Is It Legal to Use Employee Monitoring Software?
When determining how employee monitoring software will be used with the teams in your organization it is important to understand the potential privacy implications for your employees and what factors influence your right to monitor employee computer activity.
Depending on your jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of your employees you may have legal obligations to fulfill before monitoring employees in the workplace. The best practice is to consult with a legal professional first.
Most workplace privacy and employee monitoring laws require you to be transparent about data collection. This includes informing employees about what is being monitored, how their data will be protected, and how it will be used.
Typically this disclosure if provided in an employee manual, workplace monitoring policy, or acceptable use policy.
Get a FREE Template: Workplace Monitoring Policy (Employee Monitoring Policy)
The best computer monitoring software helps you meet your privacy requirements with privacy-enhancing features such as alerting your users that their computer activity is being monitored.
Does CurrentWare have access to my employee's activity reports?
No. CurrentWare’s employee tracking software does not send your employee’s computer usage data to CurrentWare.
All of the data collected by CurrentWare’s employee monitoring tools is stored on a database that is installed in your organization’s data center or cloud service provider.
For more information please refer to our Terms of Service.
Can I Use BrowseReporter for My Remote Team?
Yes. BrowseReporter is a remote employee monitoring software that supports a variety of deployment options that allow companies to track remote teams.
Using BrowseReporter you can monitor employee computer activity no matter where each team member works. To learn more about monitoring remote workers with BrowseReporter, visit this article: How to Set Up Remote Employee Monitoring Software
Can BrowseReporter Monitor User Activity on Citrix, Remote Desktop, and/or Terminal Server?
Yes. The CurrentWare Suite is supported on desktop computers, virtual machines (VMs), and servers running modern versions of the Windows operating system.
You can install the CurrentWare Clients on your Citrix Workspace running Windows. In addition, all CurrentWare components are compatible with Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or Terminal Servers (TS).
When monitoring employees in Citrix with CurrentWare you can track computer activities with PC Mode to track the individual virtual machine or with User Mode to track the activities of specific employees across multiple devices and/or virtual machines.
Monitoring and managing your end-users with CurrentWare in a Terminal Services environment works similarly. The exception is that in a Terminal Server/Terminal Services environment the server will be registered as an individual endpoint; when you run a report from PC mode it will give you a report on all the users’ profiles in a single report.
CurrentWare for Remote Desktop & Terminal Server
How Can I Start Monitoring My Employees’ Computers?
Monitoring employee computer activity is as simple as deploying employee computer use monitoring software on their computers.
You can start monitoring your employees’ productivity and computer usage today with a FREE trial of BrowseReporter; simply follow these steps.
- Download & install BrowseReporter
Download the files for your free employee monitoring software trial. On the administrator’s computer, run CurrentWare.exe to begin your installation.
- Deploy the software clients
Deploy the CurrentWare Client (cwClientSetup.exe) on all the computers you want to monitor. You can deploy the client with a local install or by using Active Directory, SCCM, or our built-in remote deployment tool.
- Monitor employee productivity
After installing the employee monitoring tools, you will see all of your employee’s computers on the CurrentWare Console. From this console you can generate detailed reports on all of your employees’ computer activities including internet and application usage.
Who Uses This Employee Monitoring Software?
CurrentWare has a global client base with companies across a variety of industries including government, healthcare, finance, nonprofit, and manufacturing.
CurrentWare helps its customers protect their business against time theft, lost productivity, data leakage, and web-based threats by monitoring and controlling computer usage.
Read our employee monitoring software customer case studies to learn more.
How Do Employers Monitor Internet Usage at Work?
Employers use employee internet usage monitoring software such as BrowseReporter to monitor internet usage at work. With these monitoring tools, employers can see the exact websites that employees visit and how much time was spent browsing the internet.