Everything seems to be online these days. This fact can make running a company a little bit smoother - communication is faster, there are remote work possibilities, file sharing and collaboration are much easier… We could keep on listing good things but we’re not here to rave about the almighty internet, that’s yesterday’s news.


In this article, we’re going to recognize the fact that the internet has also created a couple of problems for companies. Namely, security threats and time-wasters.


In order to combat these two issues you need a way to see what your employees are doing online. Enter: computer monitoring software. It’s a lightweight system that lets you see what your employees are doing on their computers and how much time they spent doing it. But it can also act as a net monitor for employees, which is what we’re going to focus on now.


Why You Should Track Employees’ Online Behavior


We’ve already hinted at the reasons why online employee monitoring might be necessary - security threats and distractions - so let’s discuss those in a bit more detail.


Because communication and sharing of large files are much faster and easier with greater internet speed, the insider threats have never been taken more seriously. Even accidental leaks and breaches are a potential problem due to malware. This is probably the most important reason why employee browser monitoring is a good idea, it lets you discover potential threats early and deal with them on time.


Another problem for employers is the fact that all the distractions you can possibly imagine are online - social media, news websites, videos, games, shopping, and pretty much almost everything else. This is wasting a lot of office time if not properly controlled, and if you monitor employee web browsing, you’ve already made the first step towards curbing the issue because now you know which websites are most problematic and which employees are most prone to using them.


Monitoring internet usage properly can give you one more advantage. Being able to detect the patterns of which online professional platforms your employees are using and which ones they don’t need can make you more informed about your company’s needs and you can cut subscription costs significantly.


Employee Internet Usage Expectations


Before you start with the monitoring, it’s really important to have a clear outline of what exactly you’re going to expect from your employees concerning their online behavior. That’s why it’s always advisable to have a clear internet usage policy when implementing computer monitoring software.


This policy should contain some guidelines on how to use the internet, which activities aren’t allowed, how to treat corporate files and information, as well as how corporate web monitoring software relates to all this and how it’ll be used. A very useful thing about this software is that it lets you categorize every new detected website as ‘productive’ or ‘unproductive’ for each employee, which will make the overview of all internet activities that much easier. That is, of course, if you know how to approach the categorization process with the right mindset.


We’ll say this, though - you should tolerate some degree of personal internet usage. After all, employees should be entitled to breaks and occasional respite from work. As long as it’s not harmful to the company.


Having said that, there are some websites and platforms you should probably forbid altogether or even block. For instance, any websites that could lead to illegal activities, like downloading pirated copies of media or software, will get your business in trouble.


Finally, be extra careful when defining the policy for downloading or uploading data. You don’t want your company’s files ending up on some third-party sharing platform. And site monitoring software can help you detect this suspicious activity and prevent possible damage.


Boundaries in Computer Monitoring


When you monitor internet usage, there are some limitations as to what you should do. The most important of which is not to use browser monitoring software to spy on employees’ private profiles and activities.


Of course, you can (and should) use it to see which websites your employees visit and how much time they spend on them, but closely tracking what exactly they’re doing, who they’re talking to, what they’re buying and so on is usually considered a violation of their privacy.


Now, your web monitoring software might have a screenshot feature which you have to be careful when using. You should use it when employees are on their private Facebook profile or checking their bank account or buying shoes online or even logging into their YouTube account. Same goes for email monitoring software when they’re logged into their private account.


So before you implement this useful solution for protection and performance optimization, you should learn how to monitor employee internet usage without harming their privacy.


Conclusion


Employee internet monitoring software is a great solution to the modern problems of cyber security and online distractions. When you learn how to use it in a fair way, you’ll see that this additional layer of protection and performance analysis will make your business more efficient and safer.


Kronos Humanity Timeclockplus Tsheets Wheniwork Deputy Replicon Jibble EbilityTimeTracker OnTheClock
OVERVIEW
Price (per month)Available upon requestFrom $2 per userAvailable upon requestFrom $6.40 per user + $16Free for up to 75 usersFrom $2.50 per userBasic plan: $30 for 5 users + $5 per additional userFrom $1.50 per employeeFrom $4 per user + $8From $2.20 per user
Free trial30 days14 daysYes14 days14 days14 days30 days
Ease of useDifficultEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasyDifficultVery easyEasyEasy
FEATURES
Timecard management
Scheduling
Shift Trading
Timesheets
Break time management
Real-time tracking
PTO Management
Payroll
Invoicing
Client billing
GPS tracking
Clock out reminders
Alerts
Manual time
PUNCH-IN METHODS
Web app
Mobile app
Time clock device
Time clock kiosk
Facial recognition
Fingerprint scanning
Geofencing
Group punch-in
REPORTING
Visual reports
Email reports
Time rounding
MANAGEMENT
Permissions
Manager approvals
Add time for others
Integrations
PLATFORMS
Web
Android app
iOS app
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app
OTHER
SupportPhone and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, chat and onlinePhone and chatEmail and onlineChat and phonePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and onlinePhone, email, chat and onlinePhone and online
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Community forum
API
Workpuls Hubstaff Toggl TimeDoctor Harvest TimeCamp Timely Everhour Tick TMetric
OVERVIEW
Price (per month) $6 per user $5.83 per user $9 per user $9.99 per user $10.80 per user $5.25 per user $99 for 5 users $7 per user $19 for 10 projects $5 per user
Free trial 7 days 14 days 30 days 14 days 30 days Yes 14 days 14 days 30 days 30 days
Ease of use Very easy Difficult Difficult Very easy Easy Very easy Easy Difficult Very easy Difficult
TIME TRACKING METHODS
Manual
Start/stop buttons
Automatic time mapping
IN-DEPTH TASK AND PROJECT ANALYSIS
Sreenshots
App and website usage
Activity levels coming soon
Real-time tracking
TASK AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project adding
Project templates
Project status
Task assignment
Task priorities
Budgeting coming soon
Mark billable/non-billable hours
Payroll calculation
Invoicing
ALERTS
Idle time reminders
Deadline alerts coming soon
Budget alerts coming soon
REPORTING
Client login
Productivity analysis
Email reports coming soon
PLATFORMS
Web
Mac desktop app
Windows desktop app
Linux desktop app coming soon
iOS app Beta
Android app
Browser extension Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome Chrome, Firefox Chrome Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge
OTHER
Support Phone and online Email and online Email and online Online Online, email and phone Email, online and support ticket Email and chat Email and chat Email Chat
Knowledge base
Video tutorials
Integrations coming soon
API
On-premise hosting

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